All of us have been family related Church activities where we felt a real connection – genuine draw. Think about what gives rise to that feeling – that desire to be with these families again. Was it the quality of the leaders who staged the activity? Was it the feelings engendered through the activity? Was it the quality of the activity? Was it the purpose of the activity?
What did these individuals do to make you feel so at home, so welcome? Were these individuals exceptionally friendly and caring? Did they take a personal interest in you? Did they give you the sense that you could be something better? Did they contribute to your feelings of confidence – that you could grow in unique ways affiliating with them? Did you feel inspired just by being with them? Did you feel engaged? Did you feel uplifted?
Did you come away saying to yourself: “I like what I have felt.” “I think I would like to spend more time with these families and their children.” “I like what they are trying to do with their lives, with their children, with their families.” “I would like to do what they are doing.” “I like what they have planned for future activities and events.” “I want to be part of this.”
The answers to these questions and related comments help us understand what draws and retains boys, young men, and their families in Scouting. When the quality of Scouting activities and events are consistently high – their capacity for drawing and retaining boys and families is without equal. When we personally see and experience the immediate as well as the long-term outcomes of quality Scouting programs, we are generally excited, even exuberant about inviting others to join with us pursuing its aims.
So many boys, young men, and their families, not of our faith, could and should be blessed through quality Scouting and related Primary and Aaronic Priesthood activities offered through our Church. Most families are looking for experiences that will actually make a difference in the lives of their sons and families.
What prevents us from inviting families, not of our faith, and their sons to join with us in developing the next generation of fathers of leaders? What prevents us from inviting them to join our packs, troops, teams, and crews? Is it the quality of our activities? Could we make our Scouting activities so compelling, so engaging, and so meaningful that no one would be reluctant to invite others to join with us in preparing the men of the next generation.
For many families and their sons, not of our faith, the ideal entry point is Cub Scouting. This family of Scouting is specifically designed for young boys and their families. It naturally involves families in developing character in their sons, helping them give friendly service, joining with them in having fun and adventure, and growing with them in other significant ways. These are outcomes every parent wants for their sons. Cub Scouting is also an ideal pathway to the other families of Scouting.
Once again, think about the questions posed at the opening of this article. What would it take for you and other families in your branch or ward to want to invite every boy and his family in your neighborhood and surrounding community to join your pack, troop, team, or crew and be involved with your Church family? Think about how many boys, young men, and their families could be blessed because of this invitation. Truly, this is a time to invite others to join with us in preparing the next generation of boys to be men, husbands, and fathers.