In Scouting our young men have the opportunity to learn these life-long skills. Yet, too often our young Scouts have suffered because their leaders are ill prepared and consequently opt to sit back and let their boys play basketball every week—likely not understanding that this is no substitute for a quality Scouting program and quorum activity.
Pillar 6 of the Six Pillars of Being Prepared states, “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.”
If we want our Scouts to learn the principles that will mold them into men of integrity, who honorably live the Scout Oath and know who they are as sons of God, they need an opportunity to meet with a group of young men under the direction of trained and committed leaders.
10 Things Our Young Men Should Expect from the Delivery of the Scouting Program:
2. A safe environment—both physically and mentally. There is no room to put our boys at risk. Scouting should always be a safe haven—free from harassment, bullying, hazing, etc.
3. A consistent program—if you schedule it, follow through with it! Do your best to be organized—have a 90 day plan, a one year calendar will be helpful. Put the time in to be successful.
4. Advancement opportunities build boys up and teach them persistence. Don’t short cut the program. Make sure the boys fulfill all the requirements and know the material. We damage a boy’s and our integrity when we let him slide by.
5. Physical and spiritual activity go hand in hand in Scouting. It’s time that leaders of the young men (and the young men themselves) make sure there are spiritual as much as physical components to every Scouting activity. Scripture reading and bearing of testimony could happen during every campout.
6. Bishopric and other priesthood leadership involvement at every level of Scouting helps mentor a boy in the priesthood and offers more opportunities for spiritual experiences. Bishoprics and other leaders should sit around the campfire with the young men to bear testimony and share mission experiences. Our young men’s camp experiences need not be any less spiritual than our young women’s.
7. Let the boys lead. Each summer in hundreds of locations across America, the BSA starts up small cities complete with roads, power lines, water systems, buildings, retail stores, maintenance shops, and instacare medical facilities. In addition, they run a full food service program serving over 900 meals a day and housing for 300. Add to that a full school education curriculum teaching 20 classes a day on 30 different subjects to 200+ students. As interesting as these facts are, the most profound fact is that they do all this with 14-18 year-old young men. It’s called summer camp and these young people make up a camp staff. Our young men are capable of so much more than we let them do or give them credit for.
8. Help them learn to do hard things like fifty-mile hikes, rappelling off a sixty-foot cliff, mile swims, service projects, eagle projects, merit badges, up-righting a capsized canoe, rafting down a river, being away from home, and cooking their own meals. What confidence is grown in knowing that you can do hard things.
9. Help other people. Scouting teaches to go beyond yourself. The boys will learn this as we teach them the value and principle of service to others.
10. Leaders that teach by example are more effective than any other method. Be a mentor and example of integrity in all you do.
In a time when young men face an onset of evil and distractions greater than that of any other generation, they need the opportunity to step away from their iPhones, iPads, Instagram, and video games and to step into leading, teaching and serving—key skills for anyone preparing to serve a mission.
Author: Paul Tikalsky | Field Director, Utah National Parks Council, BSA