Once you have the basics down, there are a few more advanced leadership training opportunities for you. Every year in February, the Utah National Parks Council hosts an event called the University of Scouting. It is a one-day long conference with workshops on different Scouting topics. Most of the information for this article came from the Ward and Stake Primary Leadership Training Summit at the University of Scouting. The professional environment and the collaborative nature of the event make it a very useful resource.
If you are truly dedicated to learning about Scouting and helping the program be successful in your area, then Wood Badge is for you. An article from an LDS-BSA newsletter says:
While a Wood Badge course teaches you state-of-the-art leadership principles, I believe the genius behind Wood Badge is that you learn by doing in a patrol setting. You’ll acquire leadership tools and practice some models of success, and along the way you’ll probably feel something you would like your boys to feel-the spirit of Scouting. And it may change your life.
Wood Badge is hard and time-consuming. You have to dedicate two full weekends and work on projects afterward. You will be dirty and exhausted, but you will start to understand the vision of Scouting and be able to make a real difference in the success of your Primary Scouting program.
The LDS Church and the Boy Scouts of America have a longstanding relationship that began over a hundred years ago. But, why? Surely the Church would only stick with a high caliber program for this long. Scouting supports boys and their families by giving them an additional opportunity to put into practice the gospel principles they learn at home and in Primary. President Spencer W. Kimball said:
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints affirms the continued support of Scouting and will seek to provide leadership which will help boys keep close to their families and close to the Church as they develop the qualities of citizenship and character and fitness which Scouting represents. … We’ve remained strong and firm in our support of this great movement for boys and of the Oath and the Law which are at its center.
Scouting is a vehicle, but the Church drives the car. Gospel Principles supported by Scouting help prepare boys to receive the Priesthood. Helping the boys to have continued strength in the Priesthood helps prepare them for the temple and a mission and being a husband and father.
Tips and Tricks
If you are in the leadership of the Stake Primary you might be asking yourself, should I be a unit commissioner? The Unit Commissioner’s job is to help every unit be successful. Every leader deserves a well-trained commissioner. The first step is Commissioner College.
How you divide up the duties related to Primary Scouting in your presidency is crucial. There should be someone to attend pack meetings and Roundtable on a quarterly basis.
Don’t let your eleven-year-old Scouts get left in the dark! This is a pivotal transition time. Assign someone to be in charge of them. Working with the Young Men leaders on this is important as well.
Find something creative you can do for those who earn the Arrow of Light. For example, in one stake there was an avid Scouter who gave Cubs who earned their Arrow of Light a pocket knife. After he passed, the stake continued this sentiment in a quarterly recognition event.
If you on in the Stake Primary Presidency consider holding to leader training classes for the newly called in your wards.
Utilize the Journey to Excellence program. If you have never heard of the program, you are not alone! This is a very underused program. This helps stakes, wards, units, packs, dens, and more set goals and objectives and track their progress. There is a gold, silver, or bronze status given based on the level of achievement each quarter. You can also use this to keep track of training, registration, and camping numbers. The fall meeting can even turn into a rechartering meeting.
Local Stake Primary Presidency Takes Control
One local Stake Primary Presidency wanted to get serious with Scouting. After attending Wood Badge, they were extremely motivated to help their wards succeed. They came up with a few resources to do just that. These ladies mapped out the responsibilities of key roles and came up with ideas for gospel-centered meetings. Click the images below to see the documents.
Remember, you can’t be a resource if you are not there. Involvement is key.
Have any other tips or tricks for Primary Scouting? Let me know in the comments below!
O, remember, my son, and learn wisdom in thy youth; yea, learn in thy youth to keep the commandments of God. Alma 37:35
Author: Julia Thompson | Marketing and Fund Development Associate, Utah National Parks Council, Boy Scouts of America | BA in English from BYU