By Stewart Schow
Mar 16, 2017

Varsity Scout Leaders Day Book Day 20: Five Areas—Achieving Balance

TASK: Work with your Captain and other team leaders to created a balanced program


“A young father, who felt the pressure of being the family provider, said: ‘My new business requires all of my time. I realize that I am neglecting my family and church duties, but if I can just get through one more year I will make enough money, and then things will settle down.’

“A high school student said: ‘We hear so many contrasting views that it is hard to always know what is right and what is wrong.’

“How often have we heard this one? ‘No one knows better than I do how important exercise is, but I just have no time in my day for exercising.’

“A single parent said: ‘I find it next to impossible to accomplish all that I need to do to manage my home and lead my family. In fact, sometimes I think the world expects too much of me. Regardless of how hard I work, I never will live up to everyone’s expectations.’

“Another mother of four remarked: ‘My struggle is between self-esteem, confidence, and feelings of self-worth versus guilt, depression, and discouragement for not doing everything I am told we must do to attain the celestial kingdom.'”  (Keeping Life’s Demands in Balance, April 1987)

How do the above quotes relate to Varsity teams (Teachers Quorums) and the Young Men in them? What do they have to do with you as a Varsity Coach?

Each of these quotes are expressed by individuals concerned about finding balance. They all struggle with knowing how to achieve all that life demands. Scouting is similar. Like the above individuals, you may find it difficult to achieve your goals in Scouting. Consequently, important elements may slide. However, balance in Scouting can help. 

The Varsity Scout Guidebook says this: 

“With the guidance of adults, squad members work together to plan a balanced program of team activities. …Make sure the Team’s annual plan has a balance of worthwhile experiences that include all five program fields of emphasis.”

It is important that you as an adult leader see that this program is balanced for the benefit of all the young men in the team.

“A well-balanced Varsity Scout program explores a variety of program features. Throughout the duration of a feature, program managers must see that their particular field of emphasis is included as an important aspect of team’s program.”

Balanced programs give a boy experiences in a variety of areas to help him gain knowledge. You should have heard it said that Scouting is not advancement only. Those who work in Scouting recognize that advancement is only one of eight methods of Scouting. But some Scouts, parents, and leaders express that when their youth has completed his eagle he will be done with scouting. This simply is not true.

Every Varsity Scout team has five fields of emphasis. Equal to one another is importance, the five are balanced in the team’s program offerings. Let’s review them again.

High Adventure and Sports

The program manager is responsible for overseeing the high-adventure/sports activities of the Varsity Scout team. The team’s annual program planning clinic will provide the manager with a general guide to the team’s activities for the coming year. With the help of adult advisers and a team captain, the program manager will plan the program, assign tasks, and help make the events happen. Through his efforts, team members can become skilled in activities ranging from snow camping to soccer.

Personal Development

In this field of emphasis, the program manager helps team members work on personal areas such as as spiritual growth, citizenship, leadership, physical fitness and social and cultural experiences (Scouts, 1986, p. 115). For LDS units, this  includes duty to God. Joint activities with young women fits nicely into this field.

Service

Service is at the heart of every Varsity Scout Team (Teachers quorum). Through service, team members experience the satisfaction of making a difference in the world. The opportunities the Varsity Scout program presents enables Scouts to make service a guiding principle in their lives (Scouts, 1986, p. 99). 

Special programs and events

This program is responsible for helping team members take full advantage of opportunities outside of a team’s local activities. The manager seeks out information about what is available in the district, the council, and at Scouting’s national level. He looks for activities with other units and encourages members to make the most of these activities. This field could include competitive team sports activities. Where he learns the rules and skills are in the high adventure and sports field.

Advancement

The advancement program manager organizes and motivates a Varsity Scout team’s advancement work. This individual maps out a personalized advancement plan for each member and works with other team leaders to provide opportunities for members to complete advancement opportunities. He keeps track of the advancement progress of team members, works with team members to determine advancement needs, and conducts boards of review for team members who have completed the ranks of Scout, Tenderfoot, Second Class, First Class, Star and Life. He also does this for Palms and Denali Awards. It’s important that he sets a good example and plans the recognition ceremonies and courts of honor.

Examine your calendar for the balance in the five fields to help your young men to understand balance. 


This weekly blog series will help any new Varsity Scout leader get well trained in 90 days using this unique program that serves Teacher-aged young men:

MOnth one

Week 1 Week 2
Week 3  Week 4
  • Day 22: Stop-Start-Continue
  • Day 23: Information Resources
  • Day 24: Leave no Trace
  • Day 25: Safety Certifications
  • Day 26: The Yearly Planning Event
  • Day 27: Unfolding the Yearly Plan
  • Day 28: Whole System Review

Stewart Schow
Author: Stewart Schow  | Utah National Parks Council Varsity Scout Committee Chairman

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