Thursday, May 8, 2014

Frank Heiss and Scouting: The Golden Age – Part 3: Changing Lives

As much as Dad saw importance in the scouting program, I firmly believe he always had a higher purpose in supporting this program. To him, scouting was more than merit badges, camping, hiking, and advancement. To Dad, scouting provided him the context, for over 18 years, to positively impact the lives of the boys in his charge. 
I also believe Dad saw scouting as more than “the activity arm or the Aaronic Priesthood.” He saw it as a way to instill core gospel principles into the lives members and non-members alike. Perhaps his greatest work was done by creating a program that excited his member scouts to willingly invite their non-member friends. 
At one point, Troop 106 was almost half member and half non-member. True, this was in California and not in Utah. So there was a much greater pool of non-member boys to include. But to have so many community members attending Mutual each week, being made aware of the youth activities, interacting with adult youth leaders and, perhaps more important, the LDS girls yielded nothing but positive results.

To this day, former scouts are in contact with Dad and view him as a second father, a role model, and a lifelong friend. There is no way to know how many baptisms resulted from Dad’s example. Again, that was not his purpose. He was not proselytizing these boys.

But during the 1960s, a time when adult authority was being found irrelevant, especially in the shadows of San Francisco and Berkeley, Dad’s troop was a light on a hill. The boys respected him because he loved them. They loved him too. 

Perhaps that is what is missing is scouting today. Now it is all about advancement and achievement. The trail to Eagle was intended take four years, sometimes more. Now we try to compress it into two years. Little is learned and little retained when you try to do too much in so little time. Some things should not be rushed and when they are it becomes cheapened. In my day the rank of Eagle became a commodity and not a thing to be valued.

No comments:

Post a Comment