The ramblings of an ex BSA Varsity Team Coach on Scouting and specifically the Varsity program.
My thoughts, ideas and concerns are in no way connected or shared in any form or fashion by the Boy Scouts of America or The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church) who volutold me to serve as a Varsity Coach.
Some personal rambling too...........
(I am an Assistant Scoutmaster now that the Varsity Program has been murdered........)
Fulfilling Your Duty to God through Scouting, New Era, Sept 2013, page 36
Obviously the LDS Church believes that Scouting will prepare a young man for his mission, his career, his wife and his children. Otherwise we would be using another program. So what makes the Scouting program so great as to fulfill this purpose of preparation? In my opinion, the program(s) are extremely versatile and a boy can do anything he is interested in from merit badges to writing and performing his own Varsity Program. I also believe that the programs of the Scouting program at times asks a boy to take huge steps outside of his comfort zone to accomplish things he normally would think he could not accomplish. Learning to be comfortable with the uncomfortable is a huge badge of courage in my eyes.
The LDS Church is coming up on their 100th year of using Scouting as one of our programs.
The above listed article includes these ideas as ways Scouts can encourage others to join them in Scouting:
Talk about your Scouting activities with friends, classmates, and neighbors.
When you’re studying a particular merit badge, share your excitement with your friends and ask if they’re interested in learning about that topic with you.
Help plan quality troop and patrol activities so that other youth will want to attend. Have a calendar of upcoming activities to share.
Invite other young men to attend unit meetings, activities, and courts of honor with you.
Look for ways to expand your Scouting activities to include others.
Use Scouting as a tool to involve less-active young men who may not be interested in attending Sunday meetings.
So this creates an interesting issue with units who have good Scouts but bad Scout leaders. I always think like Ask Andy that boys, whether LDS or not, should be able to decide how a unit is doing through their feet - if the program stinks, walk away and find another one. This also creates an interesting issue for Bishops (COR) to make sure that these units are up to speed and are able to "capture" these boys and keep them in the program. This capturing mainly has to do with having good leaders who know how to run a true BSA program.
In a discussion with a gentleman that I went to IOLS so many years ago, I brought up the fact that I wonder what would happen if an LDS Stake were to create a super Troop, Team and Crew and ask current GOOD leaders to come and volunteer. His comment was that he thought the local units within the Stake would wither and die. Probably true but those boys who were to join a super Troop, Team and Crew would have the experience of a life time with dedicated leaders and activities that rival some non-LDS groups.
So I celebrate with the Church our 100 years in Scouting but I also know we have a long way to go before we are where we probably should have already been.