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John the Xcar

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About John the Xcar

  • Rank
    Junior Member

Profile Information

  • Gender
    Male
  • Location
    Yakima, WA
  • Occupation
    White Collar
  • Interests
    Outdoors with a pack on and an eye on the horizon, and feet taking me there
  1. Another LDS scoutmaster

    The LDS church has made it quite clear they are working on a program that will be able to followed by all 12-13 year old young men in the church and since scouts is not universal, at some point the church will step away from all scouting programs. As for an award at the end of a journey, that is fairly universal to just about everything. Diplomas are one example and there are innumerable others as well. I am hopeful that as this settles out that the LDS church still sponsors 1 or 2 troops per stake, for those that are truly invested in scouting.
  2. Another LDS scoutmaster

    I have spent almost all of the last 27 years working with every aspect of LDS scouting. Cubmaster, venture crew adviser, scout master, COR, along with a few positions in the council at various points thrown in. Unlike many LDS scout leaders I did not grow up in Scouts. My family would not allow me to join. I started looking to this site for more information when my church recently announced they were dropping the varsity and venture programs in 2018. Reading between the lines it seems likely by 2019 or thereabouts my church will disassociate with scouts altogether. This saddens me. I dreamed of being a scout as a child and it was denied me regardless of my begging. I am concerned that upcoming generations of LDS youth will be further isolated from the rest of their community. So now I am considering establishing a troop if that eventuality comes to pass, or volunteer in an established troop in my area. My hobbies within the realm of scouting is very outdoor focused. I have helped troops to climb technical mountains, canoe remote rivers and lakes, multi-day caving trips, and long distance hiking. I spend 5 to 6 weeks a year sleeping on the ground and trying to turn into Sasquatch. I grew up in Alaska (lived in the Bush for 5 years). Best conversations I have ever had with kids is around a campfire or on a run ( I coached 4 years of high school xc and track and 4 years of college as well). All that aside, I just want to help today's young men discover within themselves the ability to do hard things and that they can become the men they dream of being.
  3. Female Sibling on Campout?

    I think there are enough rules/guidelines in BSA for the program to make any decision you want. Given that I have some questions: 1) is she an ACTUAL distraction? 2) what do the boys say? 3) what guidelines does you CO have? 4) has anyone proposed to the father that she does not go? 5) what happens if the CO says she is no longer welcome. 6) has her attendance kept any of the scouts from the stated goals of the outing? 7) what does the girl say, if anything. As a SM I would follow the direction of the CO. As an LDS troop that means boys only. However, I always let the boys k ow ahead of time that when we go to scout camps other multi-purpose settings that there are likely to be girls and women there. I also often on longer trips have arranged a first night or last night invitation to families so that everyone in the family can see if they want a little bit if what we do. On those nights it is not the same as the middle of a multi-year climb of multiple mountains or caving trip but when you get to see a boy cook their mom it sister a meal over a fire or camping stove you have really accomplished something. Ultimately I would ask you what is the goal here? Do you want her there or not? If not then make the decision find the supporting rules or CO direction and make it happen. But, that will likely have repurcussions far beyond what you expect.
  4. LDS Dropping Senior Youth Scouting

    MattR ... I am giving serious thought to sponsoring a troop if my church stops sponsoring BSA completely. However it is almost guaranteed that the LDS church will continue through at least the end of 2018, so that decision is bit in the future. I would guess any formal announcement would not occur until at least next year May. Latin Scot: I was the cubmaster in my ward until about 18 months ago. I was called after the ward had gone through 3 scoutmasters and 4 Venture Crew Advisers in 3 years and only one single campout during that time as well. There are far more 'technically savvy LDS scouters' around but I am very focused on the basics of scouting. Get them outside, give them tents, packs, sleeping bags, sticks and of course fire and knives and they will come around. We have had 4 week long trips in the last 18 months, a full self supported 50 miler, and about a dozen more overnighters as well. The kids have gone from complete novices to the point they can actually organize real 5 day trips, give assignments, and have some back up plans. The only Eagle we have had is a kid that was 12 months away when he was 14 months from 18. He made it by the skin of his teeth. He had given up on scouts because the program was beyond anemic in the ward. He got jazzed when we were camping 13 days after I was called as the scoutmaster. Real outdoor activities made the program relevant to him. It is relevant to the younger boys as well now. Some will advance to the official Eagle Rank, but as of now they are all Eagles to me, rank or not.
  5. LDS Dropping Senior Youth Scouting

    So far we have not had any direction other than what the original statement from our church and the associated LDS website new program outlines (which have, for the most part, been available for a while now). As the scoutmaster in our Ward I am meeting with every young man and their parents from 12 to 17 to ascertain their interest in 3 things: 1) their overall interest in Scouting 2) their personal and family interest in rank advancement 3) realistic level in personal/family commitment in achieving those ends. I have always believed that advancement has to be Scout and Family driven with Organization support. The organization should never lead advancement. In the eyes of some that is almost blasphemous while to others it is refreshing. What neither end of the spectrum really seems to understand is that I can typically provide the framework of support for either personal/family goal. But I will not do it for them and will never be the prime motivator. In the ward troops that I have been involved with the vast majority rate the success of a ward scout program based on rank advancement. That singular focus on a 'trinket' has nullified what the Eagle really is supposed to symbolize: A boy that will be an amazing adult some day. The 'get your eagle' before you drive or date or get a job or whatever, has ruined the program, at least in the wards I have been associated with. Of all the boys I served that I come in contact with I have never had one ever reminisce about their eagle award or eagle project... But they have all talked at length about the hikes, climbs, raft trips, canoe wars, campfires, rainstorms, lost gear, forgotten tent poles, first fish caught, injuries, games, Kate night talks around campfires, long drives in the cars, bear encounters, first rappels, not enough food, too heavy packs, dropped paddles and on and on. If/(when) the scout program goes away I worry there will be even less support to allow scouts to build memories like these.i will do them regardless but I see a future where I may not be doing it with LDS young men. It is hard enough now to garner that support. It will be nigh impossible then.
  6. LDS Dropping Senior Youth Scouting

    Neal, I guessed that but having zero experience with a non-LDS troop I can't know that for sure. I also stated in point 1 before that adult leaders are volunteer and that is accurate but that does not mean that they initiate that, it means they are asked by their ward leaders to accept the 'calling'. So in many cases the adult leaders are people that would never on their own volunteer for a BSA leader role. It is difficult enough to get people to get trained when the volunteering is their own idea much less when their personal experience did not lend itself to Scouts.
  7. LDS Dropping Senior Youth Scouting

    I am an LDS scoutmaster and have been involved as an adult leader since the early 90s in LDS BSA programs. I have been a Venture Adviser for over 10 years of that time. A cubmaster for about 3 years, a COR, and numerous other positions at the unit and at Council level as well. I do not speak for the LDS church on This issue but think I can shed some light on some of the problems faced with engaging the BSA programs with LDS youth. 1) all adult roles in our wards (congregations) are volunteer. 2) virtually every role is filled with someone that has never done that before so THEY can learn. In my case I did not grow up in Scouts. I literally had no experience as a Scout or even as a parent when I first started working with Scouts. 3) people move. Since our Wards are geographic in nature when an adult moves they are replaced with someone else. This tends to create short tenure. 4) scouting leaders in the LDS church tend to be younger, in their 20s. Most people in their 20s are far more likely to move than older people so they are replaced more often. 5) turnstile adult leaders lead to revolving ideas about the direction of the program and no consistent vision of where it should go. And of course less trained leaders with less experience. 6) societal changes have taken boys into 4 directions and 3 of those are not typically associated with traditional BSA activities: video game culture, sports, general apathy and thrill seeking. BSA culture most closely aligns with thrill seeking (rock climbing, water craft, caving, white water rafting etc...) And most adults with short BSA leadership tenure are fearful or at least logistically intimidated to supervise thrill seeking activities. So activities become more and more insulated from any possible risk. 7) LDS BSA callings being short tenure with many if not most having little leadership experience with no real logistical strength have created a downward spiral that has no real solution in sight at least as long as it is paired with non-geographically bound BSA programs and guidelines. Couple all of that with the fact that as boys age there are three more distractions: cars, girls and jobs. ____________________ As for the financial impact, think of it like trying to build a profitable fitness gym. You need to sell as many memberships to people that don't use your facilities as possible. Gyms do not make any money on those that actually use the gym. In fact those people cost them money. Losing LDS membership fees of any size is going to impact to greater degree than losing those same dollars (or even more) than if they list them from Scouts that are highly active in BSA facility use or any other use of BSA resources.
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