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LDS Scouts in mainstream units

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Bob,

I don't expect that you'll ever agree with me on anything, but in response to your post...

 

>>Nothing written in this thread or in the the BSA program supports what you have written Prairie Scouter.

 

Well, let's see.

 

>>Many units have leadership problems because they recruit leaders by standing in front of a gathering or parents and saying "we need somebody to do this job". The LDS Bishop after carefull consideration says "we need YOU to do this job". A method that is far more in line with the BSA recommended selection process.

 

How can you say this? I know for a fact that many units DO look for qualified leaders; I know for critical positions, such as a DL or CC or CM or SM, I would never, ever just try to "fill the chair". You don't know that every single LDS bishop always uses "careful consideration". How do you know that they're not, at times, just thinking in terms of "we need somebody to do this job"?

 

>>If a 13 year old scout teaches a 14 year old scout a new skill, as oppossed to a 12 year old, is that less valuable to either because the teacher was younger instead of older? What if they were the same age? would either benefit less from the teaching.

 

I never said it was less valuable. I said that by segregating the Scouts by age group, the Scouts miss out on some of the continuity and community that is a part of Scouting.

 

>>The BSA teaching process is the youth with knowledge share with the ones who need the knowledge. The age of the instructor is immaterial.

 

Once again, I never said anything about the age of the instructor. My comments were specifically about the LDS practice of segregating the Scouts by age, which is not normal practice in BSA that I'm aware of.

 

>>There are probably more leaders outside the LDS who do not follow the BSA program and make it up as they go along, as there are inside. I see no need to single out this one group.

 

I didn't single out this group; the THREAD is about this group.

 

>>Why is there a concern that LDS leave Saturday night? You don't mention the Jewish scouts who do not arrive until Saturday, or the Catholic Scouts that leave very early Sunday to attend Mass?

 

I didn't say anything about LDS members leaving on Saturday night. Since I didn't say that, why would I be talking about Jewish Scouts? We have Scouts that sometimes have to leave early for a variety of reasons. I'm happy to have them for as much time as they can spend.

 

>>Lack of knowledge in some people breads mistrust and misunderstanding. Lack of knowledge in the LDS church seems to do the same to some scouters. I have trained many LDS leaders over the years. Our training team simple explains that some age groups and some group names may be different than those in their specific program structure but the methods, and skills are the same.

 

If you're implying that I have a lack of knowledge about LDS and that that has somehow caused me to mistrust and misunderstand them, that is simply not true. I have read about the history of the LDS; I don't pretend to be an expert on their religious practices, and I don't think that that's required to respond to what was written in this thread about their practices.

 

>>Nowhere does the scouting program say that you have to go out Friday night and come back home Sunday from a campout.

 

I never said it did.

 

>>I will ask this question again of those who feel the LDS is missing out on the outdoors of scouting. What is the amount of outdoor activity that the BSA asks any troop to do each year?

 

I think the answer is "none", but once again, not something I mentioned.

 

Bob, it's perfectly fine for you to disagree with me, but it seems a little unfair to attribute comments to me that I never made.

 

And two, Bob, you seem perfectly willing to take people to task in other threads for not dotting every "i" and crossing every "t" when it comes to the Scout program, but when it comes to the LDS, it's seems ok with you if the age groups are different, or the groups names are different, or the program structure is a little different (your comments).

 

Now, let me say this. I think it's perfectly fine that the LDS is able to do this. BSA could use some flexibility in the way they do things sometimes. My comment was that the LDS program, from the comments made here, seems to be far enough out of the "straight and narrow" that some Scouters advocate that they are really just hanging on by the skin of their teeth. That's not a bad thing; it just is what it is.

 

 

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Tort,

Thanks for your explanation; what you describe is what I would like to see happening, but is somewhat different than the impression I got reading the earlier posters comments.

 

I think that the age-to-age interaction is a very important part of Scouting, and from the earlier poster's comments (or how I read them, anyway), it sounded like this wasn't happening. I'm glad to hear that it is.

 

 

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Now as I've said before, I'm not familiar with the LDS at all, but from reading the explanations from tortdog and LPC_Thumper, it seems to me that LDS chartering orgs have "tweaked" the program (to use OGE's term) to serve their own purposes. And as I've said in several other threads on the "methods", I think that is absolutely OK.

 

It is clear that LDS units significantly modify ("tweak") the outdoor method for 11 year olds. Where most other units will have these fellows camping for up to 11 weekends plus a long term camp in their first year, LDS restricts them to 3 overnighters.

 

Similarly, LDS units significantly modify the patrol method. Boys do not hang with the same natural group throughout, but they are assigned to "age cohorts" (my term), whoose membership changes on a monthly basis as some fellows age in and others age out.

 

Again, LDS units seem to significantly modify the leadership method. 15 and 16 year olds are not available to be PLs, ASPLs, or SPL to the 11, 12 and 13 year olds because they have graduated with their age cohort into the Varsity Team and/or Venture Crew.

 

But all that tweaking is OK, because it is done for a specific purpose and in response to specific needs of the boys. BSA has wisely allowed flexibility in delivering the program to LDS youth.

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Do not think I will disagree with things you write simply because you wrote them. That is not the case at all. I disagree with much of what you have written because as others besides me have pointed out...much of what you write has no foundation is fact.

 

"How do you know that they're not, at times, just thinking in terms of "we need somebody to do this job"?

 

Because in the LDS church the role of Scoutmaster and other scoputing positions is considered a calling from God. Each leader is specifically selected by the Bishop. No other charter organization is as consistent in its selection methods as the LDS church is.

 

As far as scouts training other scouts you write "

I never said it was less valuable. I said that by segregating the Scouts by age group, the Scouts miss out on some of the continuity and community that is a part of Scouting. "

 

If the experience of teaching scouts in the same age group is no less valuable an experience than teaching someone older or younger, then what exactly does the scout miss out on?

 

"Once again, I never said anything about the age of the instructor. My comments were specifically about the LDS practice of segregating the Scouts by age, which is not normal practice in BSA that I'm aware of."

 

Once again you post an opinion that ingores easily obtainable facts. You are not aware of the BSA segragating by age??? Can a 5 year old be a tiger cub? Can a 9 year old be a Boy Scout? What about threee types of patrols that make a troop New Scout, Regular, and Venture. All are grouped by age. How could you not be aware of that?

 

You wrote "There are probably more leaders outside the LDS who do not follow the BSA program and make it up as they go along, as there are inside. I see no need to single out this one group.

 

But it was you who misused a qote from me ("it sounds an awful lot like Bob's comment of "we think we know better and we're going to do it our way" ".to suggest that what the LDS was doing was borderline scouting at best. That is not anywhere near the reality of things.

 

The LDS Scouting program has taken decades to develop and was done with the full cooperation of sevaeral divisions of the BSA and implemented on a national scale not unit by unit tampering as many non-LDS leaders have chosen to do.

 

What is the amount of outdoor activity that the BSA asks any troop to do each year?

 

I think the answer is "none", but once again, not something I mentioned."

 

Again an absolutely incorrect statement when the answer is easily obtainable in several BSA resources. You continually choose to ignore the opportunity to learn facts before you post.

 

"Bob, it's perfectly fine for you to disagree with me, but it seems a little unfair to attribute comments to me that I never made.

 

Yet as you see by your own quotes that you did make these statements and I did not fabricate any part of what you said.

 

"And two, Bob, you seem perfectly willing to take people to task in other threads for not dotting every "i" and crossing every "t" when it comes to the Scout program, but when it comes to the LDS, it's seems ok with you if the age groups are different, or the groups names are different, or the program structure is a little different (your comments)."

 

That is because as stated previously the LDS on a national scale has worked with the BSA to design a specific scouting progra, to fit their specific needs. No other religion or organization in this country have chosen to make Scouting the official youth program of tei organization except for the LDS church.

 

While they do not have the most scouts they do have the most scouting units of any CO in the nation. If the VFW were to make scouting their sole and official national youth program you can be assured that the BSA would help to contour the program to fit their groups specific goals and characteristics. But to date only the LDS church has chosen to do that.

 

"My comment was that the LDS program, from the comments made here, seems to be far enough out of the "straight and narrow" that some Scouters advocate that they are really just hanging on by the skin of their teeth."

 

Actually, if you had more knowledge of the BSA program you would see that the LDS structure of scouting is closer to the actual BSA program than most units operate by.

 

There is very little written here of the LDS methods (which you have found fault with) that isn't also a method or procedure of the "mainstream" program which you did not even know about.

 

BW

 

""Every Scout deserves a Trained leader"

Baden-Powell

 

 

 

 

 

 

(This message has been edited by Bob White)

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Bob,

What the heck are you talking about? I said 4 things in my post based on the earlier posters comments. One, that by segregating their Scouts by age, they miss some of the continuity and community that a mixed program provides. Two, I said that if LDS leaders have a low percentage of trained leaders, that would seem to be contrary to the level of importance placed on training by many posters on this forum. Three, that "drafting" leaders didn't seem like the best way to do things, and four, that taken together, the comments by the earlier poster seemed to indicate that the LDS units were on the edge of what most would agree was "following the program".

 

Now, in responding to that, you responded with comments about the age of instructors in their units. I was clear in my response that I said nothing about training, I was talking about the sense of community within a mixed age group. That is what the Scout may be missing out on.

 

You commented on age groups for Cub Scouts. Most of the comments of the earlier posters were about boys of Boy Scout age, where in BSA, most troops are made up of boys of a wide group of ages. There are specific examples, which you mentioned, that have a tighter tie to age, but as I said, it sounded like the poster was talking mostly about boys of Boy Scout age. New Scout, Regular, and Venture have some age structure to them, but only in the New Scout Patrol do you normally find an age mix as small as you do in the groups mentioned by the earlier poster.

 

You wrote that I said...

>>You wrote "There are probably more leaders outside the LDS who do not follow the BSA program and make it up as they go along, as there are inside. I see no need to single out this one group.

Well, I didn't say that, that was one of your comments. My response was that I didn't single out the LDS, the thread itself was about the LDS.

 

Then there's this exchange...

>>

>>What is the amount of outdoor activity that the BSA asks any troop to do each year?

 

>>I think the answer is "none", but once again, not something I mentioned."

 

>>Again an absolutely incorrect statement when the answer is easily obtainable in several BSA resources. You continually choose to ignore the opportunity to learn facts before you post.

 

You brought up the question of outdoor activity as though it was part of my comment. It was not, and as I clearly said, I thought the answer was "none" but it was really irrelevent, because it was not something I had mentioned anything about. Actually, I don't even think the earlier poster said anything about outdoor outings, either.

 

Also,

>>Yet as you see by your own quotes that you did make these statements and I did not fabricate any part of what you said

 

Seems to me that exactly the opposite is true.

 

Lastly, I never said that there was anything wrong with what the LDS was doing, contrary to your comments. I thought that their Scouts might not get the best use of the program by their age segregation, but that doesn't make it wrong, per se. They have managed to work some flexibility into their program that I think many would find fault with on these forums because they are not following the straight and narrow. The fact that you think that they might be closer to the BSA program than most "regular" BSA units is really irrelevent.

 

It seems that the way you've managed to connect comments to me that I've never made, and then take some phrase I did write and extract some other meaning out of it, twice on this thread alone, indicates to me that you're really more interested in starting some sort of flame war. If you want to think I'm ignorant of BSA knowledge, that's fine. I'm perfectly willing to say that I don't know as much as some people. I'm perfectly willing to admit when I've erred, but I won't let people put words into my mouth.

 

On the other hand, Tort took a moment to provide clarification on what the earlier poster had written. I think it's great that things have worked out well in their program. And golly if Tort and I weren't able to have that exchange without suggesting that we don't know anything about what we're talking about.

 

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Prarie, I quoted your opinion verbatim and presented opposing facts. Others are welcome to reread both posts and see that you did indeed say what I quoted you on in context.

 

The fact is you have not a shred of evidence to support your opinion that

1) " by segregating their Scouts by age, they miss some of the continuity and community that a mixed program provides.

 

Not only are there no facts to support that statement but you completely ignore the fact that the BSA does not recommend or support a mixed aged program. While their age brackets in some cases are slightly wider than the modified LDS program, the BSA recommends and promotes separate program groups in Cubs and Boy Scouting based on age differences, even in the "mainstream" program.

 

2) "I said that if LDS leaders have a low percentage of trained leaders, that would seem to be contrary to the level of importance placed on training by many posters on this forum.

 

What evidence can you share that show that LDS leaders are any less trained than the leaders in "mainstream" units?"

 

3)"that "drafting" leaders didn't seem like the best way to do things"

 

And yet...that is the method taught and supported by the BSA for ALL units (see the pamphlet "Selecting Quality Leaders")

 

4) "that taken together, the comments by the earlier poster seemed to indicate that the LDS units were on the edge of what most would agree was "following the program".

 

But when you look at the actual BSA program (not the personal opinions of others, many of whom have as little or less information on the LDS or "mainstream" program) you find that the LDS program, except for slight changes in the age grouping and group names, is really no different from the "mainstream" program.

 

So I return to my original point. You tend to post on topics that have readily available facts without ever looking for them or considering them. Many regarding very basic elements of the Scouting program.

 

My problem is less with your opinions than with your lack of effort to obtain a single fact on the BSA program to support your opinion. It does not require years of experience or any depth of knowledge to simply open up a handbook.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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OK this has totally gotten off subject. The original thread had to do with how to help LDS scouts in "mainstream units". See I have problems with just the title of the post. Let me explain.

 

1 - As a Latter-day Saint, that happens to enjoy the hobby of Scouting, why if my congregation sponsors a unit do people hold it up as "not mainstream"? As has been mentioned the LDS church on a national basis sponsors more units than any other CO in the country. Also the typical LDS congregation (ward) in the USA sponsors an average of 2.5 units. How many other COs in your district sponsor multiple units? Where do you (not you individual poster, but rather you scouter) get off thinking we aren't main stream?

 

2 - I'm offended that you would even mention that someone that feels he is responsible for the spiritual life of the young men in his ward, would merely try to fill a chair. I thought a Scout was reverent (please refer back to Scout Handbook for Scout definition of reverence). I'm not asking that you validate my beliefs, I'm asking that you show respect for them. Bishops call youth leaders from what they determine to be the strength of their wards.

 

3 - You get all hung up on putting scouts together by age, and as a result of that, seperating them once they are out of the targeted age group. In many training materials that National provides your district training staff should be talking about two methods of creating patrols. One is aged based, the other just tries to put them together as friends. So why if a particular CO chooses can't they have their appointed leaders use one of those two methods?

 

4 - The shots about non-trained leaders. I can only talk about my one district in California. There are 25 Cub Packs. 18 qualify as trained at least two deep (National Standard, not some arbetrary number), however of the LDS units there are 8 with all 8 trained a minimum of 2 deep. We have 17 Boy Scout Troops, 12 are trained (would you be surprised if I told you that the 8 LDS units are all trained). Of the 8 Varsity Teams(gee this 8 number comes up a lot) all are trained. Of the 12 Venture Crews 9 are trained. You guessed it, ALL the LDS units have at least 2 trained leaders, while my non-LDS units don't have the same stats. Oh by the way, all the LDS packs go to Day Camp, while there are some other units that just can't seem to get it together. All the LDS troops and teams go to our local council scoutcamp. Our venture crews provide staff for the summer camp. Remember this is California, not Utah, Idaho, or Arizona. If training in your area isn't happening hold the people responsible that you should. Don't single out the LDS church, go after your commissioners. Now if Your DC can't find enough UCs he's not asking the right people. He needs to get the leadership of the LDS church to help (many stakes (groups of wards) will provide retired people to work with scout units if asked. Has your DC or DE talked to the Stake Presidents in their districts? They know who they are, you might not, but they do, just ask)

 

I've watch this topic just twist and twist, and finally you pushed enough buttons to light me up. If folks don't want to participate with their ward's scout unit, that's fine, but don't go blasting about things that you don't understand, and that apparently you don't want to listen to.

 

(now climbs off soap box, and heads back to seat... sorry for the rants)

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LPC, I'm not sure to whom your comments are directed, but since I was the one who created the original subject line, please let me apologize for using the word "mainstream". I should have said "multi-faith" units.

 

As I said above, I see nothing wrong with any CO or their unit modifying the methods to suit the particular needs and circumstances of their youth members (with approval of the SE). The success of LDS units reinforces my belief.

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I don't think that anyone meant something offensive, more just trying ot understand. Just some comments:

 

Regarding the selection of the scout leaders by the bishops, my experience has been that the bishopric picks the best people that they can find to lead those BSA units. Over and over again the Church impresses upon the bishops that our youth are our most important assets. We Christ who taught that a person who offends a child would be best to throw a millstone around his neck and jump off a bridge. These callings are among THE most important in the Church (if not the most important). I would venture to guess that many among our 12 apostles believe that a youth leadership calling is more important than their own.

 

Of course, sometimes we don't get it right and it does show.

 

Regarding the age groups (and this is kind of unfair), the BSA has a program to separate the scouts once they hit 14 by moving them into Varsity. So, actually, the LDS units are the main units that follow the "complete" BSA program. Okay...but that's kind of unfair because the only reason the Varsity program exists is because the LDS Church worked with the BSA to come up with something to work by age group. Nonetheless, I don't see how the LDS Church is ignoring age requirements when it is following the BSA program.

 

On the trained leaders, you are blessed to have so many. In our stake of 10 wards, you are lucky to have ONE trained leaders with each unit (four to five units per ward). The result is our district is ALWAYS having to harp on the LDS Church to get trained so it can get quality district. But...since the council is not supposed to strong-arm anyone (they seem paranoid), I do the strong-arming for them.

 

The LDS Church scout leaders can really improve on this part. We have some work to do. BTW, I've served as a scout leader in Sacramento, Chicago and Houston, so I know it's a wide-spread problem. What I don't know is whether non-LDS units also have a problem. What I DO know is that the LDS Church STRONGLY encourages the leaders to get trained. It's a requirement in the LDS Scouting Manual. Furthermore, we are supposed to get our Woodbadge within the first year of a scout calling.

 

Now...where I see a strong parting of the ways with the BSA and the BSA LDS units. The LDS Church does not support co-ed scouting at all. It does not support men and women adult leaders overnighters (even among spouses). Men are to work with the boys. Women are to work with the girls. There is one week each month where there are coed activities (not scouting, though). The reason for this policy is a strong aversion to even the semblance of misconduct, with overnighters of men/women and boys/girls to invite improper behavior. That's the policy and I don't ever see that changing.

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The LDS church is not out of the mainstream for prohibiting co-ed overnight activities. Many Charter organizations share the same concern and for that reason CO's sponsoring Venturing Crews have the option of being single sex. The LDS church has a made a choice which is offered to every Venturing program in the BSA.

 

Lack of training among unit leaders is a local problem (as shown in these two recent posts)and not indicative of the program methods or structure.

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tortdog - I have just one question, you mentioned 4 or 5 units per ward? I'm just curious... 5?? :)

 

Let's see Pack/Troop/Team/Crew & ??? to make 5? Don't mean to split hairs, oh heck yes I do... I'm trying to be a pain! How am I doing??

 

On the idea of lack of training that you've experienced, your Stake YM President needs to get closer with the district/council (all depends on how your stake/council boundaries work) commissioner. You know about UCs right? Are your bishopric counselor over YM serving this function? What about your bishopric conselor for Primary? There's two good guys that given a little training, could smooth the problems out. They could also drag the correct leaders with them to roundtables and trainings. (just like other units need (tips hat to Trevorum, and smiles) )

 

Good luck with this, it's what we did to make our stakes work more closely with our council. This is why the stakes in our council can show similar numbers of trained leaders. You know the push back can always be "Let's see what President Hinkely says... you'd do what he says wouldn't you?" Just be ready to walk the walk, not just talk the talk.

 

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Glad to see that this thread has turned into the Bob White v. Prairie Scouter debate.

Thanks for the entertainment guys...

 

For the rest of you, thanks, I have learned alot about LDS units.

 

Jerry

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>Let's see Pack/Troop/Team/Crew & ??? to make 5? Don't mean to split hairs, oh heck yes I do... I'm trying to be a pain! How am I doing??

 

No worries at all. I at first put four but backtracked because the 11-year olds are in a completely different troop than the 12-13 year olds. It may not be a separate registered unit, but you would never know it by watching since it has its own scoutmaster and assistants and the 11-year olds never meet with the main troop. BTW, the troop goes to one scout camp (further away) while the 11-year olds go to a close one (so they can return each night).

 

>On the idea of lack of training that you've experienced, your Stake YM President needs to get closer with the district/council (all depends on how your stake/council boundaries work) commissioner. You know about UCs right?

 

Don't even get me started. When I was on Stake YM Presidency, rare was anyone else from the stake at district committee meetings. Every blue moon someone from the Stake Primary would show up (for Cubs), but I was it. When I was called back to the unit level (I did SOMETHING right in the preexistence), all stake participation at the DC level stopped. (I'm not touting my horn, just whining about inaction.) Again, in my experience this is too frequent. I think sometimes the LDS Church takes the BSA for granted. I'm glad to hear that your stake is doing it right.

 

>Are your bishopric counselor over YM serving this function?

 

Nope. Should. I want the counselor the head of the committee, but...

 

>There's two good guys that given a little training, could smooth the problems out. They could also drag the correct leaders with them to roundtables and trainings. (just like other units need (tips hat to Trevorum, and smiles) )

 

Yes oh yes oh yes. Maybe I can work through or ward clerk. He reads the bishopric the riot act from the manual, and definitely we have room for improvement (but our Varsity team kicks...rear end).

 

>Good luck with this, it's what we did to make our stakes work more closely with our council. This is why the stakes in our council can show similar numbers of trained leaders. You know the push back can always be "Let's see what President Hinkely says... you'd do what he says wouldn't you?" Just be ready to walk the walk, not just talk the talk.

 

I am all over what you wrote. We'll get there. Right now, due to my selfishness, my focus is getting the Varsity teams working council wide. We are the largest council in the nation (but only 10 stakes) and we only have about 3-4 Varsity teams that are really doing the program. Baby steps and we're there.

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After reading all these posts I talked to the one person in my houshold who had some knowledge of a LDS troop.My son. He is a first class scout and his best friend is in a LDS troop. He has visited the troop a couple of times. I asked him how different the meetings were. He said nothing much. They divided up by patrol and worked on skills. Sounds like us.The only difference he found is they pray more.Sounds ok to me.

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No doubt when your son visited, the LDS troop hid the holy hand grenade so that he could not touch it.

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