Friday, October 26, 2018
There are just under 14 months until The Church leaves Scouting. How are things going? What are you doing? I have been hosting a monthly merit badge class at my house. We do required merit badges. Amazingly, I haven't had to teach all of them. One of the teachers is on again, off again, on again and off again, but other than that my only issues are low attendance and poor follow through by the boys. It seems most of them are basically checked out. I wonder where this comes from. Troop leaders are driving as hard as ever.
I suspect it is from the families. One scout, age 15, 2nd class rank, home schooled, sleeps til 11 am everyday just doesn't have time. Another Scout turns 18 in January, has not even thought about his eagle project despite frequent discussions with his scoutmaster. I've even sent him a name and contact info for a man who is the eagle project coordinator for a a local non-profit. He has about eight incomplete merit badges. On the other hand I have a 13 year old life scout who has figured his project out. I have a 12 year old scout who is in two troops and has 24 merit badges as just became a Star.
It may be from the ward leaders. They have called people in to scout positions who work on Saturdays. Hard to camp if you have to be at work. They schedule events that conflict with regular scout nights. Hard to plan camp outs or teach skills when you can't even have a meeting.
Maybe it is because of a lack of support from the stake. A group of stake scouters was brought together to formulate a plan on moving forward and having events to help scouts rank up and to offer merit badge events. The only thing that came out of all of that was the annual 11-year-old camp out. Ant that was cancelled (not rescheduled) due to rain. I get that, but to not even reschedule?
For my part, I'm trying to do everything possible. In addition to the monthly classes at my house, I am planning the District Merit Badge College. I'm working withe the Council Religious Relations committee. I'm a commissioner and on district committees. I'm working my Wood Badge Ticket, and going to University of Scouting.
All of this shows that one person can't do it all. They can do a lot, but without an organization, it just won't come together.
I'm glad that The Church is leaving. After generations of having little to no skin in the game, we are seeing that the members, by and large, do not value the program. The transition will allow those who are supporters or who are truly interested, to work with like minded people. It is draining to claw and fight for the opportunity to better a young person's life. It is invigorating to find people who are heading in the same direction. I was at a Court of Honor the other night for an outside troop. Six eagle scouts awarded. Two Wood Badge beadings. A retiring Scoutmaster and a new one installed. It was so exciting. It was energizing. I revel in these events. They have become few and far between in The Church.
2020 can't come soon enough.