Friday, May 23, 2014

The Joy of Cub Scouts: The Pinewood Derby

Ah, the halcyon days of cub scouts.

To be honest, I don’t recall a single scouting skill I learned while a Cub Scout. I earned my Wolf  and Bear badges as well as all the arrow point that are associated with each rank. But I don’t recall any pure scouting skill. Rather my memories are tied to a handful of fun things we made.

Of course, there was the Pinewood Derby. Cub Scouts in not complete without the Pinewood Derby. To be honest, however, the derby is more of a contest for the father’s than for the boys. But the boys do feel that utter exhilaration of the competition including “the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat.” There are always many tears shed as only one Cub Scout can triumph.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Cub Scouts: My Good Deed

My guess is that after all the posts about Dad’s scouting experiences and all the good he did to mold the lives of the dozens of boys that passed through his troop you would assume that I would be the world’s greatest advocate for Scouting. However, I started the series of posts lambasting the BSA and calling them irrelevant. An odd sentiment coming from one so steeped in Scouting.

I still hold firm to my assertion of the need to jettison Scouting from our culture. But, I say this not as a critic from the outside looking in, but as a person who has been inside and is now looking out. To that end, I will now share some of my memories of Scouting to help you, and me, better understand why I feel the way I do.

To be sure, I have many fond memories of being a Scout. In fact, my initial experience as a Cub Scout provided some of the happiest childhood memories I have.

Monday, May 19, 2014

Eagles by the Dozen

As I mentioned earlier, the highest rank a boy can achieve in Scouting is Eagle. This award can take from 2 to 6 years to accomplish. While the ratio of boys who join the Boy Scouts and achieve Eagle is about 5-7 percent, in Dad’s troops, those that ratio seemed much higher. It is likely that in his 16 years as Scoutmaster Dad has lost the exact count of those who achieved this rank under his leadership, none of us will ever forget the day he had 12 Eagles at one Court of Honor.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

The Trail to Eagle

As I mentioned in a previous post, Dad never had advancement through the rank of scouting as his prime motivating focus. But, it was still a focus. And advancement plays a vital role in the process of scouting.

When a boy first enters the scout program he must earn the rank of Tenderfoot. This rank is designed to introduce a young 12 year-old boy into the culture of Scouting. He needs to learn the Scout Law, Scout Oath, Scout Motto, and the purpose behind Scouting. This rank is rather simple to obtain but helps cement the boy into the program with the sense of achievement.

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.