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Friends of Scouting

06 Oct

It’s that time of year again… when we get to go out and ask people in our neighborhood to make a donation to the Boy Scouts of America as part of the “Friends of Scouting” drive. I have headed up this effort several times in the past, and this year I got to do it again. Yipee! Just what I love doing, going door to door and putting people on the spot by asking them for money. I typically get three responses: 1.) “Sure, I’d be happy to make a donation to the BSA.” 2.) “No thank you.” 3.) “Is the money for our troop or for the general BSA budget? If it’s for BSA administrative costs, I won’t donate.” Well, it is for BSA administrative costs. It helps maintain scout camps and scout shops. And it also helps pay for salaries of professional scouters, which turns many people off. Some suggest that since the BSA is primarily a volunteer organization, there shouldn’t be anyone who earns a salary. Of course, that is impractical. A large organization like BSA needs to have full-time administrative support in order to function. I’ve heard criticism that some of the top scout executives make a LOT of money, but I think that by in large, their salaries are modest. The Friends of Scouting fundraising drive is an essential part of our council’s annual budget and since I believe in the benefits of scouting, I am willing to coordinate the fundraising efforts and make a donation myself. Still, it’s not really something I look forward to each year. Thankfully, we’re pretty much done now. I just have a few more people that I need to collect from and then I’ll be turning in the money on Thursday.

I sometimes struggle with all of the resources that we put into scouting: awards and patches, camps and workshops, training and more training. But the LDS Church is a strong supporter of the program and so I try to be as supportive as I can. I have to admit that earning patches and beads doesn’t really motivate me and I’m not sure it really motivates the boys. They’re more interested in iPods, texting and My Space, not to mention sports and other extracurricular activities. Hopefully scouting can provide an alternative to all of the vices of the modern teenager’s life. And while I’m not really that big into the “nerdier” side of scouting (awards/patches for everything under the sun, crafts, silly songs and goofy skits), I do love the outdoor activities and the practical skills that the boys learn about first aid, survival and conservation. The scouting program also focuses on building character and cementing strong values, including love of God, country, community and family. In addition, powerful spiritual lessons can be taught while sitting in a canoe on a quiet lake, while hiking a difficult trail or while sitting around a campfire late at night. Those lessons are often more memorable and meaningful than anything that can be taught in the church classroom.

 
4 Comments

Posted by on October 6, 2008 in Random Thoughts

 

4 responses to “Friends of Scouting

  1. Kim Davidson

    October 6, 2008 at 7:42 pm

    Hey there Andrew!! How are you. Your family looks amazing and slowly growing. Just thought I was stop and Say hello. Take a look at my blog if you would like. Chao!!

     
  2. Vicki

    October 20, 2008 at 8:22 pm

    I enjoyed your thoughts on scouting, and agree that it has a big influence for good on young men. I think your days as Senior Patrol Leader helped you develop some good leadership skills.

     
  3. liz

    October 26, 2008 at 5:49 pm

    This is Matt. Luckily, I didn’t have to do Friends of Scouting coordination again this year since I’m no longer in the Bishopric, but our tried and true method of just mailing out self-adressed stamped envelopes along with an invitation letter to participate worked. No Door To Door Involved!

     
  4. David D.

    November 22, 2009 at 4:09 pm

    Andrew,

    I appreciated your thoughts on this matter, but see one major flaw, even with the LDS Scouting program here in Colorado . . . for some reason, nearly all of our leaders seem to think that they are competing with programs that entertain. When our leaders and parents finally realize that they will always lose hands-down to a program that is competing with another form of entertainment, then, and ONLY then will Scouting be a successful program for both our youth AND the Adults involved in Scouting. The outdoor component is the fire and the sizzle of Scouting, but so are the Boy-led challenges. We just need more adults and boys to fully understand the place and the usefulness of true Scouting . . . as it was intended, and not as bad traditions have dictated.

    David
    Castle Rock, CO

     

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