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concerned_scout66

Why do LDS Scouts get lost/killed more often?

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>>As a matter of fact, the Woodbadge Course Director Kahuna mentioned was violating BSA policy and was clearly discriminatory.

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Rick

 

First of all I think you are falsely accusing the posters here, it is very true that the methodology used in LDS units is different. There are official BSA publications promoting this. At the University of Scouting there are always seperate training classes for LDS cub scouting, boy scouting, and venturing. I have many LDS scouting friends and they have admitted to me that their program is different. There are those tried and true LDS scouters who are well trained, but they are the exception rather than the rule. My LDS scouter friends tell me the biggest problem they see is the lack of adult committment to scouting and the constant turnover of leadership, their words not mine.

 

As Gern so aptly pointed out the LDS Church is the largest single group in the BSA nationwide and have been given certain allowances to alter the program to the church's needs. and that is a true fact whether or not you agree. I will tell you that personally I find LDS scouters to be, for the most part, friendly and caring of the youth, but to deny that the programs are different in content and motivation is not realistic. So Rick its okay with me that the BSA has made these allowances, but as a long time scouter and former professional I have seen some of the problems this has caused.

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Backpacker,

I'll agree that lack of adult committment to scouting and the constant turnover of leadership is a problem. But it's not an LDS problem. That same problem exists everywhere in Scouting. As I've posted here before, the difference is that an LDS unit survives through turnover or uncommitted leaders while a non-LDS troop doesn't. That may be good or bad depending upon your point-of-view.

Case in point, I live across the street from an elementary school that used to have a pack. I'm not sure who the official CO was, but they were suffering from lack of leadership, turnover and surviving off the efforts of one leader. Eventually that leader left and the unit is no more. Likewise, a coworker went through the same thing in his son's pack. That pack is no longer.

Maybe it is more noticable because the LDS units keep operating through those periods.

 

I am not accusing any poster. I would like you to identify those allowance that BSA allows LDS units. You allude to them, can you tell me what they are? Can you also tell me the difference in content and motivation you speak of?

Here is our motivation - we would like our sons to be of good character, to be good citizens, and to be mentally and physically fit. What is yours so we can compare?

 

Maybe you should attend one of those separate training classes you mentioned. I teach one at Pow Wow. I would be glad to share the course outline and notes with you. We teach specific implementation issues related to LDS units. Here are the elements I bring up:

A primary item is finances. We don't do fundraisng. We try to self-fund our program (an exception being a long-term camp each year).

Another item is the selection of leadership and the organization. As I've said before, it is essentially the same as in the BSA publications. Look back at the "Selecting Quality Leaders" and the old Troop Committee BarBeQue videos. Nowhere do they suggest that you solicit volunteers from off the street. Actually that is a dangerous way to get leadership. The BSA method is that the Committee and CO identify qualified adults and ask them to serve. Many of our leaders have dual roles (a scouting position and a Church position), but that is not related to Scouting.

We also don't do Tiger Cubs - but they didn't exist until fairly recently, and I don't know of anything that requires it. We have Webelos as a 1 year program. So did BSA for a long time. I had a 1-year Webelo program as a Scout (in a non-LDS unit).

Last year while teaching my class at Pow Wow, a District Commissioner (non LDS) asked if he could attend. During the final questions, he made the comment to the class that he couls see almost no difference in the issues we talked about and those of a non-LDS unit.

 

So, again I ask you, what are these allowances and methodology differences?

 

 

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Good question, that is what I would like to know. The reference I made to blacks and the priesthood is one example of differences in LDS vs BSA polices. I know this is ancient history and the LDS Church changed their policy in the end but it does demostrate that there have been significant differences. Do you have a link describing the LDS modifications to the BSA program?

 

On July 18, 1974, the Salt Lake Tribune reported: "A 12-year-old boy scout has been denied a senior patrol leadership in his troop because he is black", Don L. Cope, black ombudsman for the state, said Wednesday. Mormon troop policy is that in order for a scout to become a patrol leader, he must be a deacon's quorum president in the LDS Church. Since the boy cannot hold the priesthood, he cannot become a patrol leader. Shortly before Boy Scout officials were to appear in Federal Court Friday morning on charges of discrimination, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints issued a policy change which will allow black youths to be senior patrol leaders, a position formerly reserved for white LDS youths in troops sponsored by the church. An LDS Church spokesman said Friday under the "guidelines set forth in the statement, a young man other than president of the deacons quorum could (now) become the senior patrol leader if he is better qualified". - (Salt Lake Tribune, August 3, 1974).

 

If there are no differences between an LDS program and a BSA program, why are we even discussing it? Why do Mormons need/want their own units? Why does BSA tolerate it?

 

 

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Rick,

 

With all due respect, the fact that you need to hold a seperate training course says that there are differences between the program. When was the last time that you saw a black, asian or white only course? How about a male or female course? What about a course for Baptists or Catholics only? I think the reason for that is that all of those people operate the same program. LDS does not. Similar, but different.

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Gern,

OK. I can't refute that as I don't have access to the ploicies prior to then. I do know there has been a lot of confusion over the years as to whether a non-LDS Scout can serve as a SPL. Current documentation states that a non-LDS Scout may serve as a SPL. But while we may disagree with that, that is not a program difference. Many troops have different criteria for who can become a SPL. I know troops that don't allow anyone under a Life Scout to be SPL. That would be tough on a new Scout troop, but I understand why they do it.

Your example does point out the same type of Jr Leadership as non-LDS Scouts.

I don't know of any LDS program modifications as I don't believe there are any. If you want to really know the LDS Church's stance on Scouting, go to the horse's mouth (so to speak). Check www.lds.org, select the Serving in the Church item from the left menu, then the Aaronic Priesthood/Young Men link and then the Scouting link. No secrets anywhere.

As to why we're talking about it, that is my question. The thread was started on the question "Why do LDS Scouts get lost/killed more often" which has spawned a whole series of attempts to tie the root cause on our implementation of Scouting.

I contend that the premise behind the question is flawed. First, I don't believe LDS Scouts get lost/killed more often. I know there is no research to support such an allegation. BSA doesn't publish that kind of detail if they have it.

Why do Mormons need/want their own units? Probably the same reason as anyone else. Scouting is an incredible program to instill character, values, citizenship, etc. They want their own units just like any Catholic, Jewish, or community group, to provide a program of activity for the youth they serve that shares their values.

Why does BSA tolerate it? Because that's how the program works. That's the charter system that BSA is founded upon. It is my personal opinion that this is one of the essential items that separates BSA and the Girl Scouts of America. In my GS council, there is no requirement for an organization to sponsor the units. I feel this weakens the program substantially.

 

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SR540Beaver,

Actually, various religions have special Scouting classes. Philmont hosts numerous workshops and conferences, like "Scouting in the Jewish Community," "United Methodist Scouters' Workshop," "Scouting in the Catholic Church" and a generic "Scouting in the Church's Ministry."

National Capital Area COuncil's Jewish Committee on Scouting sponsors their own events (like Merit Badge fairs and Pinewood Derbies). Various Catholic Diocese offer specialized training in implementing Scouting.

As a matter of fact, in our area there is a great concern to address the needs of Spanish-speakers. This has generated a need for special classes and Philmont addresses this also in their "Serving Your Booming Hispanic-American/Latino Market ."

So, I think the consistent thing to take from this, is that any large organization that sponsors Scouting is going to have concerns and issues that apply to them because of their implementation. This doesn't mean the program is changed for any of their groups.

BTW, Philmont even offers a course for the HomeSchooled.

 

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I just stumbled onto this thread. Interesting, the Yahoo chat group "Scouts-LDS" has been discussing this very same topic.

I have noticed a few errors and stereotypes, but overall, the facts speak for themselves.

Aside from the organizational differences (age separation) and the conscription for leadership (as well as boys. Scouting IS THE activity for the Young Men, like it or not)

Scouting is pretty much the same in LDS units as in non-LDS units.

I know, Rick you say its not conscription, but really how many church members really turn down callings (some do, but not a lot). All too often you get a person who wants nothing to do with Scouting and will do more harm than good before he is "released from his calling". While you have a willing Scouter working in Sunday School instead of helping with the Troop as a leader.

 

The problem is not with all LDS units. I have been part of some very outstanding LDS units. But for the most part the problems are tied to the wide latitude the local church leader (Bishop) has on how Scouting is implemented in his Troop/Team/Crew. He is the key to either success or failure.

Far too many Bishops ignore the direction that come from Church HQ to follow BSA guidelines (G2SS) and take BSA Training and attend Round table.

All too often leaders don't want to be bothered with expenses so they will have a Summer Camp or Super Activity on their own with church members filling in as staff. That is what happened in Idaho last year when a young man was killed. All to often you hear "THE G2SS says it is a prohibited activity, well we won't call it Scouting it will be a Young Men's outing instead".

 

Another factor is Training. Overall LDS units have a dismal record with having trained Leaders. This is my personal experience from being on District Training Staff in Councils in California, Utah, Idaho and Washington/Oregon. All areas had a substantial LDS membership.

 

Another thing that goes with training is Tenure. It is well known that Church wide the average time of an LDS Scoutmaster (or any main Leader) is FAR below a average non-LDS Scout Leader.

 

So you tie all of the above together and you have a recipe for injury and death for our young men. Some of the Bishops are just plain ignorant of what the Scouting Program is all about. But some are deliberately short change Scouting with little or no support and even actively work against Scouting (if given a choice their would be no Troop in their ward). Don't get me wrong, their are some great Church Leaders out their, especially at the higher levels. That's where the pressure has to come from. The new General Young Men's President is an outstanding example of a Scouter who is LDS.

 

Notice I said "a Scouter who is LDS" That is another problem. Many LDS units "keep to themselves", though some LDS units have non-LDS members in them, overall it is kind of a seperate "click" that resists mixing with Non-LDS Scouts. Most LDS units only exposure to Non-LDS Scouts are at Summer Camp (unless you are in Utah, then it's practically never).

 

All of the behaviors I have talked about above need to be fixed.

How? By intense pressure from the leadership in Salt Lake to step up and make the necessary changes. Or as said in some LDS circles "raise the bar".

The changes must be directed and progress monitored and corrective action taken against those who refuse to change.

 

This thread is a old one, too bad I didn't see this until the originator left the forum. I would have loved to talk to him.

 

The statistics that I have heard are that a LDS Scout is 5 times more likely to die or be injured on a activity than a Non-LDS Scout.

 

Quote from President Dalquest, General Young Men's President, Fall 2005 address.

"Bishops and stake presidents, once your leaders are trained, do everything you can to ensure that they stay in their callings long enough to make a difference in the lives of the boys they serve. In 2004, LDS troops had one of the largest percentage of boys registered in the Boy Scouts of America. Unfortunately, we also had a much higher percentage of the fatalities that occurred during Scout activities. We have learned that there are three reasons for this: (1) lack of training, (2) lack of experience, and (3) failure to exercise good common sense."

This is using 2004 stats, 2005 was much worse.

 

Need I say more?

 

Something need to be done, NOW!

 

YIS

 

CR14

Scouter, 24 years

Eagle Scout, Class of 81

District Training Staff

Former SM, ASM, CC, MC, CM, WL, VL,......

Member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Later Day Saints.

 

 

(This message has been edited by captainron14)

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Rick, I took the time to read the lds.org section on scouting. There is no doubt that LDS puts a lot of value in the scouting program. However, that site doesn't even reference any differences in how the program is delivered. One major difference I see is that only LDS members are allowed to lead an LDS unit. Our unit's CO is a Methodist church. Our scoutmaster is Catholic. Our CC is Presbyterian, a few of our ASMs are born again. To join our unit, you need only meet the BSA requirements. You do not need to be a member of the CO or even that faith. I for one do not agree that religous segregation of units is a good thing. In our district, because of the large number of LDS units, the last two weeks of summer camp are reserved for LDS units only. I just don't understand why they would require/demand/request exclusive use of the camp if the program is the same.

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Chartered Organization and Council Responsibilities

 

The chartered organization agrees to:

 

Conduct the Scouting program according to its own policies and guidelines, as well as those of the Boy Scouts of America.

 

Appoint a chartered organization representative who is a member of the organization and who will coordinate all Scout unit operations within it. He or she will represent it to the Scouting district and serve as a voting member of the local council. The chartered organization head or chartered organization representative must approve all leader applications to ensure that the individuals meet the organizations standards as well as the standards of leadership of the Boy Scouts of America.

 

Ref: New Unit Organization Process, page 13 (34196A, 2002 edition)

 

Sounds to me like LDS is following the program with respect to who and how it selects its Troop and Pack leaders.

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The importance of serious accidents or death in the Scouting community is too important to leave to rumor and inuendo. Let me beging by stating that one fatatility is one fatatility too many. I have learned that statistics are like spies, if tortured long enough they will tell you anything. The LDS Church is the largest BSA partner representing 18% of the youth in the BSA with adult leaders from the LDS Church representing an even higher percentage of membership. Over the last 10 years fatalities from LDS units have also represented about that same proportion. So no over the last 10 years LDS sponsored units do not kill or maim their boys more than other chartered partners. However in many instances experience is important in determining safety, unfortunately with outdoor activities the test is given first then the lesson. There are many things that can be done to turn the experience teaching around, two deep leadership, proper planning, age appropriate activities, the buddy system, safe drive defense, the principles found in the Guide to Safe Scouting. Most importantly I have found that watching the boys during "free or unmonitored time" can reduce injury. We can and should do more.

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The importance of serious accidents or death in the Scouting community is too important to leave to rumor and inuendo. Let me beging by stating that one fatatility is one fatatility too many. I have learned that statistics are like spies, if tortured long enough they will tell you anything. The LDS Church is the largest BSA partner representing 18% of the youth in the BSA with adult leaders from the LDS Church representing an even higher percentage of membership. Over the last 10 years fatalities from LDS units have also represented about that same proportion. So no over the last 10 years LDS sponsored units do not kill or maim their boys more than other chartered partners. However in many instances experience is important in determining safety, unfortunately with outdoor activities the test is given first then the lesson. There are many things that can be done to turn the experience teaching around, two deep leadership, proper planning, age appropriate activities, the buddy system, safe drive defense, the principles found in the Guide to Safe Scouting. Most importantly I have found that watching the boys during "free or unmonitored time" can reduce injury. We can and should do more.

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