Serving LDS chartered partners better was the agenda a summit of Western Region Boy Scout leaders, mostly members of Council Key 3s, who met December 8th at Temple Square in Salt Lake City. In all 89 participants met live, with another fifty or so on line, to consider new and better ways to serve the LDS Church.
In The Boy Scout, in December, we reported the meeting’s purpose and the Chief Scout Executives commitment to LDS chartered partners. Today we’ll list major outcomes from the meeting.
First, as you may know, during the summer there was some concern between BSA and the LDS Church as relationships partners. This was settled on August 26th with this news release from the Church, Church to Go Forward with Scouting. It stated:
“The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints appreciates the positive contributions Scouting has made over the years to thousands of its young men and boys and to thousands of other youth. As leaders of the Church, we want the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) to succeed in its historic mission to instill leadership skills and high moral standards in youth of all faiths and circumstances, thereby equipping them for greater success in life and valuable service to their country.
“…The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints will go forward as a chartering organization of BSA, and as in the past, will appoint Scout leaders and volunteers who uphold and exemplify Church doctrine, values, and standards.
With that, things could have been let be, but volunteer leaders and professional staff in the Western Region, where the LDS Church comprises 55% of its membership, knew otherwise. Smartly the Western Region Key 3 called this summit of Council Key 3s to explore better ways to serve the LDS Church.
To begin with, as a discussion outline, they presented What are the key issues facing The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and Boy Scouts of Amreica? Developed Western Region Area 2 Key 3s, this was the agenda for the day:
1. Adapting and Implementing Scouting for LDS Purposes—LDS church leaders will, as always, select their own Scout leaders based on church standards. BSA employees and volunteers are obligated to ensure Scouting helps stakes and wards meet their goals. The best way to accomplish this is to facilitate open, productive communication between Scouting representatives and stake presidents and bishops. Scouting representatives should listen to the specific needs expressed by stake and ward leaders as they share their vision for youth in local wards. The BSA should then assist the stake and ward with all available resources in adapting and implementing that vision.
2. Unified Alignment and Service Model—Because church leaders and Scouting representatives are partners in delivering the Scouting program and its benefits to local youth, they will be most effective if they are unified. This partnership is best facilitated through frequent, productive communication, improved customer service on the part of BSA councils, and positive interpersonal relationships between Scouting representatives and LDS volunteers. The BSA should work to support priesthood-driven goals by conforming to the church service structure and language.
3. Leadership Training—Scouting works most effectively when volunteers at every level are committed to the church’s vision and thoroughly trained in Scouting programs and methods. The council should ensure BSA trainers teach LDS stake representatives, who in turn teach ward Scout leaders. This ensures volunteers at every level are taught Scouting methods while allowing LDS leaders to exercise their stewardship. The BSA is responsible to make this training easily available for stake and ward leaders. This will include automating and simplifying online education tools so volunteers have easy access to necessary information and materials.
4. Technology—Scouting should provide online tools that are readily available and easy to use. Wards should be able to re-charter units, register new youth, and record advancement online using well-functioning programs that they can access from any electronic device. To better serve stakes and wards, the BSA should make use of all available technology to simplify and streamline Scouting information and processes. This should include a series of online articles and videos that, once completed by volunteers, qualifies them as trained Scout leaders.
5. Cost—The BSA should explore lower-cost options for uniforms, advancements, program materials, and other direct Scouting costs for families and wards. Donors need the reassurance that local donations benefit local Scouting programs. The disconnect between the donating Latter-day Saint and the Scouting council must be addressed. The BSA must be transparent in the use of funds and is responsible to show LDS leaders the value they receive as a return on their investment.
The outcomes of the discussions in LDS chartered partners at the summit were covered in the Eight Part Series posted in The Boy Scout. You can read detail there, but one thing we felt to share with readers is this from reverse side of the summit’s agenda:
It is Utah National Parks Council’s Why Scout Matters—6 Pillars of Communication to LDS Leaders, which was developed after extensive research by Rushford Lee, Utah National Parks Council VP of Marketing, by his firm Research Emotion Design (RED).
In Lee’s research, he started by asking himself some questions centered on the subject of Scouting and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. How did Scouting relate to Church objectives for youth? Was there a spiritual side to Scouting? Is there really any link between the trail to Eagle and a mission?
Having asked these hard questions of hundreds of LDS Church Leaders, this document was his final summary. During the last 18 months these pillars have opened communication with LDS Bishops and Stake Presidents in our Council. With the help of our LDS Relationships committee, many new avenues of communication have been opened.
In sharing this, we trust you will be able to better serve this segment of your Scouting population too.
Tell us how it worked for you.