Thursday, July 30, 2015

Hard Things

I assume most members in the United States are aware that the Church's partnership with boy scouts is suddenly looking tenuous. And while much of the response to this news has been excitement from members tired of tracking merit badges and rank advancements, it has left me filling rather sorry. (And not just because it will eliminate a particular rich vein of humor to draw from.)

While I'm not much of a scouter myself, I recognize its value in the lives of the boys the scouting program touches. Earlier this summer, I went with the varsity and venture scouts (14-17 year olds) in my ward on a 50-mile hike. It was grueling, hard work--probably the toughest thing I've ever done physically. But it was great for the boys and the men they dragged through those mountains. We learned we could do hard things, something that will absolutely serve the boys--and their leaders--in the years to come.

There was nothing particular about that five-day, 50-mile hike that was uniquely scouting, but I worry that activities like that will become less frequent outside of scouting. But more importantly, the Boy Scout program provided a place where boys who neither belonged to the Church or no longer attended could get to know the LDS boys in their neighborhood and build bridges.

I have no doubt that the Church will be able to replace the scouting program with something that will meet the needs of the young men should it come to that. And I will support the Church in whatever direction we go. But should we leave it behind, I will miss the scouting program.

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