By Russell Dailey
Aug 22, 2015

Help! I’m Over Friends of Scouting in My Ward!

Just over a year ago my family had just moved into a new LDS ward. One Sunday, a member of the bishopric asked if he could meet with me and my wife. I was asked to be the Committee Chair for the Scouts, Varsity, and Venturing units in the ward. I said, “Certainly!” Then with a big smile on my face I said, “Wait a minute…Friends of Scouting is going to start soon. I don’t accept until October!” My wife and I got a great laugh and eventually the counselor in the bishopric did too.

This is an important year to be involved with the LDS Friends of Scouting campaign. As a Friend of Scouting (FOS) veteran at the ward level (six years running) and as a fairly new District Executive, I hope to give some pointers for a successful FOS campaign and to shine a light on a few misunderstandings.

The Elephant in the Room

UPDATED: Aug 28, 2015

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints released a statement Aug 26 saying they will continue their century-long relationship with the Boy Scouts of America despite their initial concerns with the recent adult leader resolution adopted by the BSA.

elephant in roomThe statement came from the church’s Council of the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, stating that they appreciate “the positive contributions Scouting has made over the years.”

In recent meetings with the two organizations, the BSA assured the Church it would be able to continue to appoint Scout leaders based on their religious and moral values.

“As leaders of the Church, we want the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) to succeed in its historic mission to instill leadership skills and high moral standards in youth of all faiths and circumstances,” the statement said.

In response, the Utah National Parks Council released a statement saying they are humbled and “grateful for the trust placed in the Scouting program by the LDS Church to help serve and build up their young men.”

Even before a decision was released by the Church, the direction to LDS leaders (sent July 28, 2015) from Elder L. Whitney Clayton, member of the First Quorum of the Seventy was:

“Please go forward with this year’s Friends of Scouting fundraising drive without any delay.  We hope that the drive will be successful and fully achieve its purposes.

So, we move forward in our efforts supported by leadership of the Church.

Tip #1: Study the Ward Timeline and Assignment Matrix

Be familiar with the Ward Timeline and Assignment Matrix from Elder Dane Leavitt. It will help you with expected dates and possible responsibilities delegated from the bishop. For example, the Bishop or you may make assignments for someone to make follow up contact with families in the ward, and other such helpful direction.

Tip #2: Get to Know the Software

The Utah National Parks Council has been using a software called Patchfunding to track FOS campaigns for a number of years. Many of you have probably used the system before. If you haven’t used it before or need a refresher, take the time to review the online training at www.utahscouts.org/wardFOStraining.

In this year’s 2015 campaign, Wards will be able to deposit FOS donations at a local bank instead of having to drive to the Scout offices. Watch the twelve minute video below on how to create and process a deposit at the Ward level.

Tip #3: Keep Records Accurate

Keeping your donations organized and your donors organized at the ward level saves a lot of headache later. For example, when you import donors into the PatchFunding system check them for accuracy so there are no duplicates or errors. Remove donors who are no longer in your ward, and add the new ones. Without accurate and organized information it becomes a lot more difficult if an issue comes up, like a bounced check or anonymous donor.

One thing to check for is if the donor has an e-mail. Usually the donor will choose to include their email when they do a credit card payment online, the best reason is so that they can get a receipt of their charitable donation to be used for tax purposes. Contact your Stake Clerk or District Executive if you have any questions or issues that arise.

Tip #4: Have the “Right Person” Make the Ask

FOS TrainingLast year I was new to my ward. As I went out to visit with members and request FOS donations, many people questioned whether I was in the ward at all and some thought that I was scamming. I had to have people who had been in the ward and who were known by members go back to make many visits that I had already made because the “trust factor” wasn’t there.

I also found that overall donations were down significantly the year I rant the campaign as a new member of the ward verses the year before when a long time member of the ward made the visits.

Tip #5: Provide A “Meaningful Opportunity”

We all tend to rationalize why we shouldn’t contact everyone. For example, people told me, “Don’t contact Sister so and so because she is a widow and on a limited budget.” My response was, “I have an 80 year-old mother who is a widow and she budgets every year for FOS because she has seen the impact that Scouting has had on her sons and grandsons.”

One of my favorite experiences while working for the Boy Scouts was when an older sister came into the office and told me that she wanted to contribute to FOS because she had been missed by her Ward. This wonderful sister pulled out $0.83 in change and gave it to me. That is the closest that I have ever come to the bible story of the widow’s mite.

Tip #6: Remember This is Your Campaign

The Friends of Scouting Campaign is run by the stakes and ward, not by the council or the Scouts. We as the council may provide resources and training, but in the end each campaign is decided and run by the Church.

FOS Training 3Elder Leavitt, in his directions, mentions the goals of this campaign and they are:

  • Give all families a meaningful opportunity to contribute to Scouting
  • Account well for contributions

Leaders in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints are given Priesthood keys and the ability to received revelation about their stewardship. In my experience, FOS campaigns are always more successful when local leaders rely on these two facts when deciding what to do.

While door to door is popular, I have seen successful campaigns in second or third hours of Sunday meetings, at Ward dinners, and in many other interesting ways. So, own your campaign and run it according to the direction the Lord gives you.

Tip #7: Answering the “Hard” Questions

UPDATED: Aug 28, 2015

Many people that are asked to go out and solicit for FOS are worried that they won’t know what to say if people ask “hard questions.” The ward FOS packets contained information about “Why Scouting Matters” and a letter from Elder Leavitt that discusses his thoughts about leader selection, local alignment, and finances. You can review this letter on the blog with additional charts here: To Friends of Scouting in the Utah National Parks Council. Use these resources at the door to explain the value of Scouting and to be open about Council finances. Plus if they have any questions about how the Council or paid professionals help serve your local unit, have them come into my office and I will happily give them a look into my daily work as a Scouting professional.

FOS Training 2Try not to speculate unnecessarily into the relationship between the Church and the BSA and teach those who make visits not to either. Remember that one of the most important things we can do is, as the Primary song says, “Follow the Prophet.” Scouting continues to be supported as the “activity arm of the priesthood.” Scouting has held this position since 1913. Scouting will continue to do everything it can to help youth develop character, citizenship, and personal fitness by working with and through the LDS Church’s Stakes and Wards. Take this opportunity to strengthen the members in the value of Scouting, so that we may run a worthwhile program for our young men. We need not lose a generation of boys, because of a moment of uncertainty.

The fact is, here in Utah, the Boy Scouts of America have never worked more closely with the LDS Church in serving the young men and their leaders. Local Scouting volunteers at the District and Council level meet regularly with stake presidents and bishops to understand what the the Utah National Parks Council can do to help LDS leaders meet the needs of their congregations and specifically their youth.

May we we all have a successful Friends of Scouting campaign! If you run into anymore questions contact your stake representative or call the Scout Office for your District Executive (801)-437-6222.

Russ Dailey

 

Author: Russell DaileyDistrict Executive, Black Diamond District

 

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8 thoughts on “Help! I’m Over Friends of Scouting in My Ward!

  1. Todd Bergeson

    I suggest that people stop donating to FOS because of the extremely expense cost of getting a boy through scouting. I collected for three years for FOS and almost every person who donated complained about the cost of scouting. Most just wanted to keep the money in the Young men’s program of the Church. Now with the Gay leader issue, I assume that 2015 will be a major problem for your organization. Best of luck.

    Reply
    1. Russell DaileyRussell Dailey

      Todd,

      Individuals and families put their hard won earnings towards activities and programs that they believe in or that they see making a difference. I easily spend more money on both basketball and football than I spend on Scouting during the course of a year; however, if I had to chose, I would probably go with Scouting because of the overall benefits across a broad spectrum of year round activities. I know that many LDS parents and leaders don’t feel the benefit of Scouting because they have always just done Scouting as the activity arm of the priesthood instead of having to make the actual commitment. I have been impressed with the positive impact that Scouting has had on my life and on the lives of my three sons.

      I am also one of the crazy ones that feels like missionary opportunities and reasons to stand as a “temple beacon” for what we believe in will be much more available now. I am excited to talk with my Scout age son about what he can do to live the Scout Oath and Law according to our religious beliefs and how he can respect the beliefs of others and allow them to practice according to their own beliefs.

      Reply
  2. Chris Killpack

    Todd makes a great point. Scouting IS expensive. I would be willing to donate every year in order to support an organization that for over a hundred years has had the best interests of young men at its heart. The only problem is… I don’t know if that is the case anymore. If a scout’s duty to God and his oath to keep himself morally straight include accepting homosexuality as a practice of his leaders, how can we be sure that the BSA is the same organization it has been in the past? I will not be donating during this drive for that reason. And I have a hard time believing that any stance the BSA takes going forward will change my mind.

    Reply
    1. Russell DaileyRussell Dailey

      There are three important points to remember as you consider the recent changes to the adult membership allowed by the BSA.
      1. Leaders have always been selected by the “Charter Organization” which is the LDS Ward for LDS units. The Wards have had and will continue to have the ability to select adult leaders based on the policies and beliefs of the LDS Church. This policy will allow for different organizations who are willing to follow the Scout Oath (see definitions and meanings: http://usscouts.org/advance/boyscout/bsoath.asp) and Law (see definitions & meanings: http://usscouts.org/advance/boyscout/bslaw.asp) to select leaders according to the “dictates of their own conscience.”

      2. Youth Protection training has never been more important than it is right now. It will protect our Youth and our Leaders if learned and implemented. Take the training and see what I mean – http://www.scouting.org/Training/YouthProtection.aspx

      3. Scouting has always been and will continue to be neutral regarding sexuality. We leave discussions about this important topic to our Chartered Partners.

      I will continue to support Scouting for the values that I have learned and the wonderful things that my son’s have learned too.

      Reply
      1. Russell DaileyRussell Dailey

        I want to caution everyone about having Young Men/Scouts solicit for Friends of Scouting (FOS).

        The BSA Charter and Bylaws (http://www.scouting.org/filestore/pdf/bsa_charter_and_bylaws.pdf) covers solicitations of contributions on behalf of the BSA. Article XI, Section 1, Clause 2 of the Bylaws states:
        Clause 2. Contributions shall be solicited in the name of the Boy Scouts of America only through or by the authority of the Corporation, and shall be limited to the National Council or chartered local councils, in accordance with these Bylaws and Rules and Regulations of the Corporation. Youth members shall not be permitted to serve as solicitors of money for chartered organizations, for the local council, for the National Council, for corporate sponsors, or in support of other organizations. Adult members and youth members shall not be permitted to serve as solicitors in support of personal or unit participation in local, national, or international events. (Amended October 12, 2011)

        Until this year I didn’t know about this either, but units and Wards should be careful about involving youth.

        Reply
  3. Kyle Lawrence

    Are we allowed to use the YM/Scouts to solicit the ward members for donations or is this an adult leadership collection program?

    Reply
    1. Russell DaileyRussell Dailey

      Your comment is awaiting moderation.
      I want to caution everyone about having Young Men/Scouts solicit for Friends of Scouting (FOS).

      The BSA Charter and Bylaws (http://www.scouting.org/filestore/pdf/bsa_charter_and_bylaws.pdf) covers solicitations of contributions on behalf of the BSA. Article XI, Section 1, Clause 2 of the Bylaws states:
      Clause 2. Contributions shall be solicited in the name of the Boy Scouts of America only through or by the authority of the Corporation, and shall be limited to the National Council or chartered local councils, in accordance with these Bylaws and Rules and Regulations of the Corporation. Youth members shall not be permitted to serve as solicitors of money for chartered organizations, for the local council, for the National Council, for corporate sponsors, or in support of other organizations. Adult members and youth members shall not be permitted to serve as solicitors in support of personal or unit participation in local, national, or international events. (Amended October 12, 2011)

      Until this year I didn’t know about this either, but units and Wards should be careful about involving youth.

      Reply
  4. Rod Meldrum

    Thank you for your email and efforts to keep scouting alive in Utah. I have been a life long scouter. I attended a number of wonderful camps and achieved my Eagle award as well as served in the Order of the Arrow as a youth. I’ve been very involved with scouting all of my adult life. I’ve been a unit commissioner and am a graduate of Wood Badge. I absolutely LOVE scouting. I have financially supported scouting every year over my nearly 30 years of scout leadership and involvement so what I’m about to share is deeply painful to me.

    I am painfully avoiding contributing to the scouting organization this coming year due to their reckless disregard of one of its largest supporters, the LDS Church. As I understand it, the vote and decision to accept homosexual leaders to appease political correctness was done intentionally while our LDS leadership would not be available to make its voice heard. I really hate to see scouting end, but now that it has started down the slippery slope of political correctness, rather than upholding it’s ‘morally straight’ portion of the Scout Oath, I believe it is only a matter of time before the organization will no longer represent the standards I grew up with and treasured. I cannot continue to support this formerly worthy organization with my volunteer time or money, at least for now.

    This difficult decision on my part could change in the future if I can see some credible evidence that the national organization is more willing to uphold its standards than pander to homosexual attackers and threats of advertising withdrawals from corporate sponsors. How many homosexual advocating sponsors has the organization gained since making the decision? How many parents and leaders have they alienated as a result of it? Apparently the homosexual crowd isn’t filling in the financial gap created by alienating the rest of us. The organization is apparently reaping what it has sown. And the resultant dearth of funding is sad to see because I believe it will spell the end of scouting as it has been known…. and I loved scouting. The good it has done for myself personally, for my own sons and those I’ve served in my LDS ward and stake is immeasurable. I pains me deeply, as I said, that I feel I must withdraw my support at this time.

    Personally, I hope that the LDS Church will create its own version of scouting, buy the scout camps from the quickly failing Boy Scouts organization and run the new organization primarily with volunteer leaders who will uphold the traditional values of scouting. And I hope this new program will endure the onslaught of gay rights attacks.

    All the best to you. May our son’s forgive us our trespasses on their future.

    Reply

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