Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Scouting: Time to Face the Abyss

The Heiss family has a rich and lengthy tradition when it comes to scouting. But I have a feeling this tradition will end in the next generation. To be honest, I don’t think that will be a bad thing. I feel that Church has outgrown its need for scouting and in the years to come, I hope we will wean the North American Church from chokehold of this antiquated programs.

So, if we have such a familial connection to scouting, why am I such an advocate for abolishing this vestige of the past? First, I feel scouting takes a lot of church, resources in time, manpower, and money, to support this program with a very small return on this investment.

Second, I feel the vast majority of young men has no real love of scouting and participates only because it is mandated.

Third, I am convinced the Church can do a much better job instilling its values in young men without the overhead of scouting.

Now, I am speaking as an insider. I participated in scouting at several different levels. This means my feelings about scouting are not from the outside looking in; rather, they are from the inside looking out. So, for the record, I will list my scouting resume to demonstrate my own personal experience. I have earned the highest achievement in the following scout organizations:

Scout Organization
Cub Scout
Bobcat, Wolf, Bear, and Weblos
Young Scout
Guide patrol and Blazer Scout
Standard Scout
Religious Scout
On my Honor and Duty to God

Outside of my young scouting experience, I also served as merit badge counselor, Scout Master, and Eagle Patrol Leader

Along with these roles I have also participated on numerous day long and overnight scout leadership training programs. I was asked to participate in Wood Badge, the highest training given to adults, but I graciously declined.

I have been to numerous campouts, week-long summer camps, Jamborees, and even attended the largest gathering of scouts in Utah called the Jamborall.

I have participated in pine wood derbies, pine wood rocket ship races, Blue and Gold dinners, cake contests, den meetings, pack meetings, courts of honor, and several scout related service projects, including my own Eagle Scout project.

I have helped dozens of boys create, plan, execute, and write up their Eagle Scout projects. I have shepherded over a dozen boys to obtain their Eagle. This after each boy had decided to end their time in scouting. Both of my sons were fully involved in scouting and both achieved their Eagles.

No, I am no critic of scouting because I don’t understand its values, goals, and motives. I should be considered an insider. I have paid the price to become a critic of a program that I feel needs to disappear from the lexicon of the Church.

It is said that scouting is the church wide program for all Aaronic Priesthood young men. That is not true. Scouting is restarted to a select group of countries and only serves a minority of boys.

It is said that those who achieve Eagle are more likely to serve missions, attend college, and marry in the temple. I disagree. None of my missionary companions, who are all college graduates and all married in the temple, achieved their Eagle. If feel this misreading of statistical data is looking at a narrow sample and deriving a false positive.  

Yet, it is still a part of our family history. So in spite of the vitriol I have for the program, I do need to post about the following:

·         My view of the church’s history of scouting
·         My summary of the Heiss Scouting History
·         My Cub Scout Experiences
·         My Young Scout Experience
·         My Scouting Experience
·         My Adult Scout Experiences

I will do my best to be fair and accurate, but I am sure you will detect a hint of my true feelings about this program. 

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