Mac’s Message #30: Proper Emphasis on Acquiring Rank Advancement and Merit Badges

Mac McIntire

Mac McIntire

On September 28, 2001, the First Presidency sent a letter to priesthood leaders in the United States and Canada which stated: “We desire all young men to strive to earn the Eagle Scout and Duty to God Awards” (emphasis added). But why do the leaders of the Church want young men to strive to become Eagle Scouts? The statement continues: “As youth work on these goals, they will develop skills and attributes that will lead them to the temple and prepare them for a lifetime of service to their families and to the Lord” (Robert D Hales, “Fulfilling Our Duty to God,” 171st Semiannual General Conference, October 2001).

When properly implemented, the greatest value of LDS Scouting is the journey, not the destination. It is not what a boy achieves, but rather what he becomes. Sadly, many parents, and even some priesthood leaders, mistakenly believe the ultimate goal for a Scouting-age boy in the Church is to achieve his Eagle Scout rank. Although this is a wonderful accomplishment, a boy could become an Eagle Scout and still not be the young man the Lord wants him to become.

As I mentioned in Mac’s Message #9: “As an Aaronic Priesthood and Scouting leader your ultimate goal is to create conditions and provide experiences that bring young men to Christ. Your second priority is to strengthen the family.” The priorities of Scouting are outlined in the eight purposes of the Aaronic Priesthood. Your role is to help your young men to:

♦   Become converted to the gospel of Jesus Christ and live by its teachings.

♦   Serve faithfully in priesthood callings, and fulfill the responsibilities of priesthood offices.

♦   Give meaningful service.

♦   Prepare and live worthily to receive the Melchizedek Priesthood and temple ordinances.

♦   Prepare to serve an honorable full-time mission.

♦   Obtain as much education as possible.

♦   Prepare to become a worthy husband and father.

♦   Give proper respect to women, girls, and children.

Scouting activities provide boys with the opportunity to put into practice the gospel principles they have learned at home and at church. Acquiring rank advancement and merit badges can easily be tied to these purposes if you help your boys make a conscious connection between the work they are doing to advance in Scouting and the progress they are making toward their spiritual and temporal development.

If you look closely at the rank advancement requirements for Tenderfoot, Second Class, and First Class ranks, you will see most of the skillsets are perfect preparation to help a young man to “live worthily to receive the Melchizedek Priesthood” and to “serve an honorable full-time mission.” The Star, Life, and Eagle ranks require “meaningful service” and the fulfilling of leadership roles that teach boys to “serve faithfully in priesthood callings and fulfill the responsibilities of priesthood offices.” All of the skills learned in rank advancement prepare a young man to “become a worthy husband and father.”

I believe teaching your boys to be leaders through shadow leadership, the patrol method, patrol leader councils, quorum presidency meetings, and the proper use of priesthood keys is more critical to a young man’s future success than an Eagle Scout badge on his shirt. Helping a boy to become a man of God and a faithful priesthood leader is more important than helping him to “aspire to the honors of men” (D&C 121:35).

When done properly, acquiring merit badges requires study, hard work, and testing—the same skills a boy will need if he wishes to “obtain as much education as possible.” Merit badges provide life skills and career development experiences that position a boy for success in his future. They expose a young man to more than 130 possible career choices or unique hobbies that could benefit him and his family throughout his life.

Scouting leader conferences and boards of review before qualifying for an award provide a young man with the opportunity to return and report on his progress. They teach a boy to account for his actions and to be honest in his report. They model the future meetings the young man will have with district and zone leaders, mission presidents, and stake and ward leaders in personal priesthood interviews. They provide perfect preparation for meetings a boy will experience in the business world.

Parents and adult Scouting leaders do a great disservice to their boys when they emphasize rank advancement without making the obvious connection to the purposes of the Aaronic Priesthood and the true reason why Scouting is such a vital component of the Young Men program in the Church. In the Book of Moses we read: “And behold, all things have their likeness, and all things are created and made to bear record of me, both things which are temporal, and things which are spiritual; things which are in the heavens above, and things which are on the earth, and things which are in the earth, and things which are under the earth, both above and beneath: all things bear record of me” (Moses 6:63). Clearly, the purpose of LDS Scouting is to bring young men to Christ, for all things in Scouting bear record of Him.

In the Doctrine and Covenants we learn: “Wherefore, verily I say unto you that all things unto me are spiritual, and not at any time have I given unto you a law which was temporal” (D&C 29:34). I pray in your Scouting effort you will not over-emphasize the temporal elements of Scouting—such as rank advancement and merit badge acquisition—above the spiritual significance of those activities. I hope you will strive to achieve the true purpose of Scouting by bringing your young men to Christ and fulfilling the purposes of the Aaronic Priesthood. When you and your boys realize the true purpose of Scouting in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints you will discover one is never “done” with Scouting when the Eagle Scout rank is acquired. The process of turning a young man into a man of God continues long after the Eagle badge is pinned on his shirt.

LDS Scouting is not merely a program path toward an earthly award of an Eagle Scout badge for a young man; it is a spiritual journey toward an eternal reward of celestial life for a man of God. Oh, how I wish I could get this one point across through my blog messages clearly, definitely, and finally. For “I have none other object save it be the everlasting welfare of your [boys’] souls” (2 Nephi 2:30).

 

Take a Moment to Reflect

  • Do you recognize why the Church wants all boys to strive to attain Eagle Scout rank?
  • Do you focus too heavily on rank advancement and merit badge acquisition in your Scouting program?
  • Do you see the connection between rank and merit badge requirements and the purposes of the Aaronic priesthood? Do you help your boys to see this connection?
  • Do you use your Scouting leader conferences and boards of review as opportunities to reinforce the spiritual implications of Scouting advancement?
  • Do you reward and recognize the spiritual accomplishments of your boys in your courts of honor as well as their rank and merit badge achievements?
  • Do you help your boys to realize they are not “done” with Scouting when they attain Eagle Scout rank?

 

Turn Your Reflection Into Action

  • What will you start doing, stop doing, or do better as a result of your reflection?

 

“Scouting helps to prepare a boy for honorable fatherhood. It helps to prepare a boy to lead at home. It helps prepare him to take his place in life, in any profession or business or occupation that is worthy. It brings to him personal satisfaction, a feeling of confidence and assurance because he is basing his life on the fundamental principles of righteousness. It helps him to live a full life” (Reed A. Benson, The Teachings of Ezra Taft Benson, 1988, 243-244).

 

-Mac McIntire is a dedicated Scouter who has blessed many lives through his service and acute understanding of the Scouting program. He currently lives in Las Vegas. The views and opinions expressed in this message are solely those of the author.

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  1. Scott Smith says:

    Mac, I could not agreed more with the statement you made, “Parents and adult Scouting leaders do a great disservice to their boys when they emphasize rank advancement without making the obvious connection to the purposes of the Aaronic Priesthood and the true reason why Scouting is such a vital component of the Young Men program in the Church.”. Advancement is just one method of the tool of Scouting. An important method, as you point out, but just one of the methods. Another trend that I worry about sometimes is the intense focus on the obtaining of the Eagle rank while disregarding the running of Varsity and Venturing programs. Eagle rank achievement is a part of those programs, if the adult leadership will understand and utilize it to its potential. I believe that we can be even more effective in strengthening the Teachers and Priests Quorums if we more fully utilize those outstanding Scouting programs.

  2. Idaho Scouter says:

    Great insights, Mac. Hope the Brethren will see the recent acquisition by BSA of the excellent Scoutbook advancement tracking app as worthy of providing it to LDS scouting units as they do software such as Ancestry to LDS family historians.

    1. Steve Faber says:

      Agreed, with the annual cost of Scoutbook being about $1 per year per boy, a Scoutbook subscription could be included for every boy at recharter.

  3. MichaelW says:

    Mac, perfectly written! Wonderful explanation and correlation. If only ALL of our youth leaders and parents could catch a glimpse of this vision…the power that could be instilled in the young men. Wait….. I can share your blog as an additional testimony!
    I am always saddened by the push from parents and leaders to get a boy to Eagle by 13-1/2 or 14 before he can understand even a fraction of this correlation between the temporal and spiritual… and then they are “done and finished with Scouting.” Sad. Agree also with Scott’s comment on disturbing to see so many units forgetting or disregarding the importance to let the boys run their Varsity and Venturing programs… while building character through pursuit of Eagle AND Duty to God goal achievements. I have personally seen the benefits of all the phases of scouting – from Cubs to 11-year-old Scouts to Troop to Team to Venturing in helping the young man develop into a true Man of God – a true servant leader.

  4. Bill Chapman says:

    Thank you, Mac for another great post and Scott for your comment. I could not agree with you more.

    I am especially grateful for how your blog posts all tie the gospel into Scouting and show us how to integrate the two into one. When I attended an LDS Philmont over 20 years ago, that was the seminal message I took away. We cannot separate Scouting from the Priesthood, they must be one, integrated whole.

    Just over a week ago, Presidency Uchtorf gave a great talk in General Conference about a stake that focused on some ambitious and lofty goals but in focusing on the “numbers and percentages” they lost sight of the more important things that cannot be “counted.” Overemphasizing awards and recognitions can run the risk of overlooking the heart and soul of Scouting and the gospel, which is changing lives. In Pres. Uchtdorf’s example, the Stake President led his stake back to the real goal, to minister to the poor and needy and to change lives for the better. Although much more difficult and sometimes even impossible to measure, these goals put the stake back on track in serving as the Master did.

    I also thank you for sharing the letter from the First Presidency on the goal of becoming an Eagle Scout. When that letter was sent out years ago, I read it so quickly and thought it said we want every young man to become an Eagle Scout. When I read it in your blog post, I realized that is not what the brethren said. They said they desire that every young man “strive” to earn his Eagle Scout and Duty to God awards. It hit me that there is a big difference between the two statements.

    If the goal is to have every young man become an Eagle Scout, we would create the most efficient program to “manufacture” as many Eagle Scouts as quickly as possible. On the other hand, if the goal is to help every young man “strive” to become an Eagle Scout and earn his Duty to God award, we will focus on helping the young man develop a personal desire to achieve those ranks. “Incentives” such as the privilege of getting a drivers’ license do not really help a young man want to earn the rank of Eagle Scout, they simply mask his true motivator of driving the family car.

    Hearts change when a young man strives for this award from within, not when he is pressured from without. If we view our role as Scout leaders in the Church as getting as many young men to the rank of Eagle Scout as possible, we may miss the opportunity of allowing them to experience all of the wonderful opportunities that are what Scouting is all about. I am confident it was the “aims” of Scouting, embodied in the Scout Oath and Law, which inspired prophets of God to adopt a program developed outside of the Church and the priesthood to be the activity arm of the Aaronic priesthood over 100 years ago.

    The official BSA publication on advancement, “Guide to Advancement” puts it this way: “Regardless the program…where advancement takes place, it is nothing more and nothing less than one of several methods. It is a means toward accomplishing the Boy Scouts of America mission. It is not an end in itself. When as advancement administrators—both volunteer and professional—we recognize this, we can expect success. To see it otherwise is to indicate we have forgotten our purpose.”

    I once attended an Eagle Court of Honor where just before the meeting was to begin, one of the Eagle candidates said to a fellow Eagle candidate, “Right after this meeting, let’s burn our Scout shirts!” At first I was shocked and dismayed at this statement. However, as I thought about it more, I realized that what this scout was saying was that he had been under such pressure to “earn” his Eagle scout award that he didn’t even know what Scouting was all about. He was not protesting the Scouting program, he was protesting the “Potemkin village” we set up for him and referred to by Pres. Uchtdorf in his talk, and which is just a shadow or hollow imitation of the real thing.
    Because this scout’s adult advisors were under so much pressure to deliver the maximum number of Eagle scouts possible, his scouting experience consisted of a finely tuned adult run program where there was no time for the scouts to be in charge and do the wonderful things Scouts do. It was not the scouts themselves who were striving to become Eagle scouts, it was we, the adults, who were striving for them to receive that award. Their desire was subservient to ours; we wanted them to have the award and recognition, their growth and development could come later.

    The inspired “patrol method” and “Scout-led troop” requires us to place great confidence in these young men. However, in doing so we give them a rare opportunity they get nowhere else. When they plan their own meetings and campouts they develop confidence in their own abilities based on actually doing things for themselves and others. As you state in your post, this is how Scouting can help young men achieve the purposes of the Aaronic priesthood. It affords us as adults the opportunity of developing relationships of trust with our scouts, allows us to have meaningful but informal gospel conversations with them and help them truly become converted to the gospel of Jesus Christ.

  5. Stanley Stolpe says:

    Mac’s messages are always so timely as this one is. When I was Scoutmaster, the focus was on learning life skills. Advancement and recognition are just two skills we use. I like to hold an Scoutmaster’s interview and surprise the boy with him advancing in rank or earning a merit badge, without him knowing; it happened as a natural part of program.
    Life Scout and Eagle Scout ranks are different but should be a natural progression. The allocation of time in some wards I have been in often displays a complete lack of understanding on what it takes to become an Eagle Scout. I have observed wards that only give a Scoutmaster two Wednesdays and sometimes a Friday/Saturday in a month to get a boy to Eagle. They fill the time with other activities. If Scouting is truly the activity arm, then add the spiritual to the Scouting program vice taking the time away from Scouting to invent other activities.
    I can see where a boy would be so pushed to earn his Eagle because the program was not balanced or designed to get him there in a natural progression. YM’s leaders need to train themselves in the program requirements so to progress boys well. Well planned activity programs should have a boy to 1st Class Scout by the age of 12, obtain Star and Life Scout as Deacons, and become Eagle Scouts as Teachers. Then, become Rangers as Priest age young men. Everybody needs to be on board in achieving such. All the Scout leaders, the Primary, the YM advisers, the Bishopric, and the Stake.

    1. Steve Faber says:

      Perhaps it was not intended in your post, but it’s not the scoutmaster’s job “to get a boy to Eagle.” See Scotts post below how HE made HIS goal of of “earning the Eagle rank.” As a scoutmaster, this month we did not meet the first week because of spring break, this week was a combined activity to see David Archuletta at UVU, leaving me with two remaining week nights this month to “get my boys to Eagle”. We know who’s plan forces people to do things. The process of becoming an Eagle cannot be completely accomplished at weekly or even monthly campouts (although if carried out properly, they sure help), the boy must have a desire and a good portion of scouting must happen in the home.

  6. Mac McIntire says:

    I appreciate all of the comments and great points made so far. I hope others will comment and tell us of your experiences. If you are struggling with your Scouting advancement program, tell us about your problems or concerns. Hopefully someone reading these blogs can help you with your issues or concerns.

  7. Excellent message and excellent comments.

    When I was a boy my scoutmaster made it clear that he was willing to help any boy achieve advancement goals, as demonstrated by their willingness to apply themselves to the task. He also made it clear that he would never push anyone to advance in rank or to earn merit badges. He was more interested in participation.

    I am forever indebted to Big Al for working with me even long after I had advanced to the teachers quorum until I made my goal of earning the Eagle rank.

    One of my good friends loved coming to Scouts and participating. But since he didn’t care much about advancement he only achieved the 2nd Class rank. He still gained much from his involvement in Scouting when we were boys. I was inspired when his daughter recently posted a photo on Facebook of my friend in full uniform receiving his Woodbadge beads. My friend might not have cared about advancement, but the principles that Big Al helped instill in us still burn brightly inside of him.

  8. MarlaThomas says:

    My testimony of the power of the priesthood is the very thing that motivates me to support scouting. Advancement in scouting is one of the primary ways to direct and point towards a good understanding for a young man of his self worth at appropriate developmental ages/levels and of the wholesome power of the priesthood and how it can be used, humbly, for good.

    There are so many opportunities for this power of God’s love to be demonstrated in scouting. The very environment that the young men, leaders and parent/family members will find themselves in as they are in nature and other situations discovering science and performing service will allow for such things to happen and be felt. This is a perfect opportunity for the scouting structure to foster a motivation in most young men to follow positive, wholesome role models without even realizing what is transpiring. It can, also, expose the youth to necessary wholesome behaviors teaching the principles of courage while the “why and how” of the safety guidelines can be demonstrated as a protection and support rather than “just another roadblock” to participation in scouting activities and life experiences. Wisdom can be demonstrated as skills are taught and developed.

    Faith, hope and charity can be a natural outcome of being taught by example, along with humility, as leaders are prayerful and sensitive to the promptings of the spirit. It can be a fun, rewarding process as well as purposeful at the same time. The buddy system can be an example of preparation for the youth to serve honorable and effective full-time missions as well as teach the concept of wholesome marriage relationships and interdependent support for one another.

    An analysis of the scouting program indicates that goal setting is expected from every eight year old and older, from every youth and from every adult all of the way through adulthood and into old age. This goal setting begins as simple activity achievements and adventures are accomplished as the young Cub Scout earns his first Bobcat, Wolf and Bear awards. These goals continue on through Webelos (We’ll Be Loyal Scouts) and Arrow of Light. Beyond that, scout leaders (who are constantly setting their own personal goals as adults) provide vision and guidance through Scout, Tenderfoot, Second Class and First Class ranks while teaching basic scouting skills; then, through the ranks of Star and Life as the young men experience service and look for influences from more outside the home. This can be accomplished by utilizing the troop, team and crew youth leadership through participation in activities with their fellow quorum members and additional friends. The scouts are given more choice in how they will complete their personal goals and possibly complete the Eagle rank.

    A scout leader who is prayerful and wishes to be effective will need to be able to foster vision for the scouts and teach them how to pray effectively, how to communicate via journal writing as a reflection, get things signed-off and documented without it appearing to be a difficult task (even though it will most probably be very difficult). The advancement should seem like “playing” or “strategy” to tally accomplishments/activities in order to move on to other more challenging venues. In the course of the process the scout leaders will be giving the scout that guidance that may keep him within reach of possible potential opportunities that the scout will not originally be aware of or understand. The unit and committee leaders of the troop, team and crew will need to be aware of the details so as the opportunity arises the scout will be “ever so gently awakened” to new possibilities on his journey.

    Some of the most important adult life skills can be taught to young men by scout leaders. The importance of records demonstrating which are important and should be retained is vital. The scout advancement process demonstrates the importance of record keeping and documentation which will prepare each scout for his own professional career and family life in knowing just what kinds of records are most important to retain and how to insure integrity of each document.

    Each scout will mature at different rates and at an appropriate time will need to be made aware of and begin to discover opportunities along the path of scouting. The 14 & 15 year old young men will learn to work as a team with the technique of shadow leadership via the Varsity Scout structure. Later the 16 & 17 year old young men will be mentored in personal development and leadership skills via the Venturing Crew structure. As each scout learns through his personal efforts of prayerful reading, studying and experiencing he will be led to the programs, decisions and awards available to him.

    Of course, beware! For if these leaders are not always prayerful, honorable and diligent the scouts may not learn the values and lessons which are so vitally needed and may, in fact, lose their way. If they have been taught well in their early years this will probably not be the case; but, never-the-less the leaders need to be diligent. For . . . if they are . . . they and their scouts and many others will reap the blessings of the power of God.

    1. Mac McIntire says:

      Sister Thomas,

      Wow! What a wonderful message!!! This is the most well-written, thoughtful, insightful, perfect summary of Scouting I have ever read. How wonderful to get a sister’s point of view on Scouting. I would love to see this as an Ensign article. At a minimum, I would like to see it posted on this blog as its own message. I will make that suggestion to Dawn Harvey and Mark Francis at the LDS-BSA Relationships office.

      1. Marla Thomas says:

        Thank you. You may have noticed that I am passionate about this subject and that I have experienced the “scouter’s refiner’s fire” and continue to experience it from time to time.

        I know there are many faithful couples with very similar and successful stories as me and my husband have experienced. Personally, I believe that testimony grows as faith in revealed principles is applied in our everyday lives. Those feelings of testimony and wisdom are witnessed to me in my heart each and every day. My love for the gospel just gets stronger and stronger no matter what my personal obstacles are. Most of the program changes are not really new programs they are just being presented differently — possibly to generate attention to follow the new and keep only the best of the old.

        Both my husband and I are a product of dedicated church leaders who applied gospel principles when organizing activities that fostered our testimonies developmentally. It was our own initiative to be involved; but, it was the planned direction and programs that helped to lead us to our goals. We both are forever grateful since we both have very strong, positive feelings towards the gospel and have faith in a supreme being, our Heavenly Father, and His Son, Jesus Christ as our Savior and Redeemer, and in that sweet spirit who testifies to us – the Holy Ghost.

        I was raised in the city of Highland, BSA Inland Empire Council, Southern California just 10 minutes from where the Redlands Temple now is. As a LDS young woman I was very active and completed all six years of Girl’s Camp earning my YWMIA camp patch with an additional regional church High Sierras trip as the final highlight. I, also, earned an Individual Award each year while I was a teenager. I attended early morning seminary all four years. While attending San Bernardino Valley College I attended the San Bernardino Institute of Religion classes and was a member of Lambda Delta Sigma sorority (which was a LDS church sponsored young adult women’s club). I then attended California Polytechnic University for one year as a Business major and proceeded to transfer on to Brigham Young University in Provo to major in Accounting. By the time I graduated from BYU in 1977 I had adjusted myself to a Humanities B.S. degree in University Studies with three minors: Accounting, Business and Social Science as preparation for lifelong volunteer work and motherhood with backup career skills for emergencies.

        My husband is a returned missionary having faithfully served in the Uruguay/Paraguay Mission. He is a BSA Life Scout and now serving as an assistant scoutmaster. He had been active in scouting as a Deacon/Teacher in San Bernardino where he earned his Duty to God Award; and, then as a Teacher/Priest in the Riverside area. When he was 14 years old his family built a house in the country and that is when his scout advancement slowed down; but, all did not stop. His newly formed LDS Church Explorer Post went on a high adventure to Wyoming and he has good memories of that. He attended all four years of early morning seminary and then the Institute of Religion at Riverside City College for a semester before transferring for his freshman year at BYU in Provo. He left on his spanish speaking two year proselyting mission after that.

        Whenever we lived around a Young Single Adult group we attended weekly YSA activities. Sometimes we would attend YSA in neighboring stakes. In fact, he came to my stake YSA with his friend and I asked him to pick-up my sewing machine from Provo. Eventually, we discovered that we were an above average dance couple, had relatives who knew each other, had common interests and that we liked one another. We began dating and were married in the Los Angeles Temple July 1977 and had our first child April 1978.

        Since then, as we were raising our family, my husband finished his university education by graduating from California State University San Bernardino while I worked full-time and he worked part-time. During those times we continued to stay active in church activities.

        When I was an older teenager my four younger brothers attended Cub Scout mid-week Primary activites with dedicated leaders and later on attended Boy Scouting weekend camp-outs, activities and week-long camps when they were Deacons and Teachers with another set of very faithful leaders. Aaronic Priesthood and scouting was pretty meshed together then. I think most of my brothers earned close to First Class; but, really had “no clue” about rank. When the guys were older they went on high adventure expeditions as Explorers; but, the emphasis seemed to be primarily as Aaronic Priesthood activities rather than “scouting” activities.

        Also, “church sports” was a “separate” church organization and was the highlight for the older youth with actual stake, region, multi-region, and church-wide play-off tournaments with trophies being earned and creating seriously competitive environments. “Church sports” introduced many to the gospel (because participants usually were required to attend sacrament meeting for a number of times in order to play) and many became Latter-day Saint converts. It was great fun to an extent; but, was creating a spirit of competition and not really developing the traits of charity needed to minister to others as adult disciples of Christ. The tournaments were discontinued and “church sports” has struggled along since then.

        Despite the fact that my parents had been sealed in the St George Temple and were “believers”; but, not necessarily “church attenders” or “mainstream gospel livers” all four of my brothers and my baby sister served missions. All of those siblings married faithful latter-day saints. Another sibling was not necessarily a “church goer”; but, she worked as a camp counselor many summers and was involved in choirs and attended many religious historic sites when on singing tours. The values and concepts that she chose to believe and live have been a strength to her and her family.

        Having raised seven children I had the opportunity to actually be both a Girl Scout and a Boy Scout leader. Since I have raised five daughters I have served as either a Brownies GS or Junior GS leader for a period of about seven years and enjoyed it; but, missed the charter orgaization concept as BSA organizes itself. The two sons were born 10 years apart – one in 1980 and one in 1990. They both earned their Bobcat, Wolf, Bear, Webelos, Scout, Tenderfoot, Second Class, First Class, Star, Life, Eagle and Varsity V along their way; and, additionally, their Faith In God and On My Honor Awards. They faithfully served church missions – one in Russia and one in Utah. Our oldest son participated with Boy Scouts in the BSA Inland Empire Council of California. Our younger son started there as a Cub Scout; but, when he was 9 years old, we moved to Georgetown, Texas. He was raised in BSA Capitol Area Council of Austin, Texas. I have served as a boy Scout leader in some capacity from 1987 until now — about 12 years in Inland Empire Council and about 16 years in Capitol Area Council.

        Our next “scouting” adventure has finally come now that some of our eleven grandchildren are becoming scouts. The oldest is a Brownie Girl Scout and our oldest grandson will be 8 years old in July. He and his parents were anxious to get started so he has already been in a community Cub Scout pack since last September. He will convert to the LDS pack when he turns 8 years old just about as the new Cub program changes take effect.

      2. J Hilton says:

        I was just thinking the same thing! With some new insights recently into how every Church organization can be integrated to better realize the aims of the Gospel, ultimately to bring souls to Christ, this essay really hit home!

        Using the ideas in this essay, one could use it as a template to look at any other organization and break is activities down into Priesthood purposes and results just as she has done with Scouting as it relates to the Gospel.

        Having spent many years in District, Troop, Order of the Arrow, and Cub leadership, I know without a doubt that Scouting done right helps make a man of God. Done wrong, it can create an angry young man just waiting to break free of the”requirements.” I’ve always tried to use some integration of gospel principles and scouting principles to help boys learn, have fun, apply, hopefully learn to live by the Scout Law and as a result of all that, the advance well.

        I love this whole blog but this one was reputably inspiring. Thanks Mac and Margo….

    2. Steve Faber says:

      This is spot on and has caused me to do some reflection of my own:

      “A scout leader who is prayerful and wishes to be effective will need to be able to foster vision for the scouts and teach them how to pray effectively,”

      I would only substitute “scout leader” with “scout adviser”. If carried out properly, the boys are the “leaders”, the adults advise.

      1. Marla Thomas says:

        Yes, I agree. . . “scout advisor” rather than “scout leader”.

  9. Mac says:

    “I think people focus too much on advancement. Advancement is one of the eight methods of Scouting, so 12.5 percent of your time should be focused on advancement, and 87.5 percent should be focused on the other seven methods. Advancement will follow if you do it right. If you’re having fun and you’re training and you’re outdoors and you use the patrol method, all those patches will come. When they do, it’s the icing on the cake.” — Don Lauer, Committee Chairman, Troop 9212, Summerville, South Carolina (quoted in Scouting magazine, Dec 2014, 13).

  10. Mac McIntire says:

    “Advancement is not the Scouting program; advancement is the result of a good Scouting program.” — Lord Baden Powell

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