(A transcript of this interview follows the video.)
I can’t think of a specific one right now but right when you said that, the campfires came to mind where we would all come together, quiet down a little bit. We’re all often quite rowdy and off learning and doing new and different things together and then we all come back and summarize our experience, give a bigger perspective, as well as share other spiritual experiences. I think that that was not only a wonderful experience to bond our relationships with each other, but also with God and our purpose here on earth to kind of summarize it and help us see it in the grand scheme of things. That definitely influenced my testimony as I grew up.
Shaun: One of my favorite memories is having campfire testimonies with each one of you guys.
Scouting gave a lot of opportunities to help people in your community or within your own family. The principles of serving others and sacrificing your time to help somebody else with theirs helps you feel the joy that God wants you to feel. When you do that type of service you can finally see the effects that you can have on somebody else’s life instead of maybe being selfish and doing what you want to do, but helping somebody that actually needs that help and it ends up changing you inside as well as the people you’re serving. It’s an all-around beneficial activity to give service.
I feel like this ties in a lot with service. For example, when it snows and your scout leader or your patrol leader calls you early in the morning and says, “We need to go out and shovel walks,” or you don’t necessarily want to spend your Saturday raking leaves. Serving others and getting outside of yourself and thinking about other people is not necessarily the first thing that comes to mind for a teenager, but when you do that you realize there’s so much joy in helping other people in that way and doing things for other people even when you don’t even see them. When we would rake leaves and shovel walks we often wouldn’t even see the people in the houses, we’d just go do it. There’s a lot of satisfaction in service that you find through Scouting and that helped me prepare for my mission in that as a missionary you need to be serving selflessly, you need to be doing things that you may not necessarily see the end result of, but they’re the right things to do. You need to be okay with not thinking about yourself because most 19, 20, 21-year-old guys going on a mission and giving up things you give up to go on a mission is not really what most people would just naturally want to do. Through the experiences I had in Scouting, knowing that there is greater satisfaction to be had in serving other people, that’s a principle that was engrained in me that really helped me work hard.
Shaun: I think there are a lot of things that, you know, you’re not learning simply how to cook from Scout campouts and going on a mission. I bet there are so many things out there, practical things that, if you hadn’t had the Scouting experience then tried to do all those same things, you would have thought you yourself, “Wow, I wish I would’ve learned how to do this.”
I remember sewing for Scouts, and I was the only one in my district in the MTC who knew how to repair clothing and I was the one who fixed everybody’s stuff because nobody else knew how to do it.
I’d say one hard thing we got to do a lot in Scouts was learning how to plan. Also in Scouts, there’s a special order that I’m not a part of in any other organization in that point in my life. People don’t often get into groups and establish somebody as a leader, a vice leader, and somebody who is a historian or something like that. I can’t quite remember the specific positions. There’s a quartermaster, I remember that. But learning how to focus on my own responsibilities and being able to help other people with theirs or support them in theirs and working together and being able to see that teamwork emerge in a lot of special ways that you can’t accomplish as an individual. That’s definitely something that Scouting can help us learn and it’s not easy. A lot of people in the world don’t know how to be inter-dependent or work together or to delegate and I think Scouting definitely helps that.
Pillar 5: Life Skills – “Be prepared to be good fathers and husbands by following the examples of men, such as our Scout leaders, the bishopric, our prophets and the Savior.”
I think that’s a big one. I’m not a father or a husband yet, but I think that the skills that Scouting teaches you like the Scout Motto and Oath that you take as a Scout to be trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, all of those things are attributes of Christ as well as attributes of a good husband and a father. As we do those types of skills and work on those certain attributes, we can really prepare ourselves to be that husband and that father who can teach that to their kids as well and so on. It’s an influence that never really goes away as it passes down through the posterity.
Pillar 6: Integrity – “Be prepared by learning who we are as Scouts and sons of God by keeping ourselves physically strong, mentally awake and morally straight, understanding our true nature as a son of God.”
Since I’ve been out of Scouts, I’ve gotten to go back and do a couple activities with the Scouts and they were working on the Physical Fitness Merit Badge. They were out there doing their pushups and pullups and I realized how many pushups and pullups I have done since then started in Scouts. Ever since then I’ve realized that sometimes I’m not going to be able to rely on just having fun and playing sports to keep myself fit and active. I have to go and exercise, do hard things, and make myself feel pain and get sore. Since that started in Scouts all the way up until now, I’d say that’s definitely been a key factor in helping me stay healthy.
Author: Shaun Heaton | Scoutmaster in Troop 444