Friday, May 11, 2018

Dedicated Leaders

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints announced Tuesday May 8th, that in December 2019, it will end the long standing relationship with the Boy Scouts of America.  This article is in response to that announcement.

I arrived at my District Roundtable last night looking for allies, and I knew who to talk to. Becca referred to the big breakup: the recent announcement that the LDS church will stop chartering scout units after 2019.

“You’re going on into 2020 with me, though, right?” I said. “Transition team for 2020: from Calling to Elective. We’re going to establish some good community packs right here in Orem.”

“I think I might take a break,” she said. My inner jaw dropped. “It’s still a year and a half away, so we’ll see what it looks like then, but I’m kind of looking forward to something else by then.” Becca said.

I was surprised. This is my scouting nerd friend, the one who is on staff for Akela’s Council this summer, who collects silicone ice trays to make neckerchief slides. This is my scouting buddy who is on roundtable committee and who knows the intricacies of Scoutbook, and who was registering people at the University of Scouting. Becca went and got a job at the Scout Shop. Her people are scout people. Becca is dedicated.

My brain and my heart processed this over night, and I woke up with even more respect for scouters like Becca. A couple years back, a member of Becca’s bishopric asked her to serve on the Cub Scout committee, and she took the assignment.

She did her best and she tried to figure out how to use the online records tracker. Eventually she discovered monthly roundtable meetings. She felt like she still didn’t get the vision, so Becca took the recommendation to go to an extensive two-weekend overnight training: Akela’s Council. Becca got the Cub Scout vision and she used her vision and skills to magnify her calling. It took time to develop her skills; but she did all she could to help her pack and provide great experiences for the boys in her ward. She made scout friends and she started making plaster neckerchief slides. She took a job at the scout office and got super specifically particular about sewing patches on straight and correct. She ramped up the quality of the pre-sewn shirts in a significant way.

Becca became an eager, enthusiastic, educated scouter. Her guilty pleasure is scout stuff. She magnified her calling, and she is still doing it. She’ll see how she feels in 19 months; and in those 19 months she is going to continue to deliver the best she can.

I was honestly surprised. I thought she had transcended her calling to become dedicated to scouting for the sake of scouting.

Turns out she does love Scouting. She throws herself into the calling that she has. She magnifies her callings. She learns and she grows and she loves those that she serves, and she’ll give the same to her next calling.

Is Becca perfect? Probably not. I’ve painted a pretty saintly picture of someone that I really do respect… and the Church has a big contingent of people that serve like Becca. There are many LDS people who will continue to throw their hearts and souls into Scouting because they love the boys and because they love their savior. When released, some will quietly hang up their Wood Badge beads and maybe even resell or donate their scout shirts, never to return. They will be the people who will make the new LDS youth program work after 2019.

I am thoroughly grateful for those dedicated people who are disguised as lifelong scouters. They have carried a big, complicated program that hasn’t been easy. They have seen the value, they have caught the vision, and they have taught it. They have impacted lives for over a century and will continue to do so.

I am also really grateful for the friends at roundtable who fist bumped and said, “Oh yeah, 2020 and beyond,” and “I get to be Webelos leader,” and “My husband is ready to be scoutmaster,” and “Whatever you need, I am ready to help.” Utah scouts will need those folks, as will the entire BSA.

Some of our LDS boys will continue to January, 2020, and transition from scouting. Other good and worthy things will fill their time and space. Many will go on to magnify callings admirably without scouts.

Some of our LDS boys and girls will love scouting, though. Some will respond well to the adventures, the belt loops, the ranks, and the badges. Some will seek the enriching values of the Scout Oath, the Scout Law, the methods and purposes of Scouts.

In the next eighteen months, and for years after, we need both the lifelong scouters and also the scouters that have been disguised as lifelong scouters. Among them, we find dedicated disciples of Christ.

 ~ By Merinda Reeder who is a Cubmaster from Pack 466 in the Orem District, Utah National Parks Council.