First of all, congratulations on your Eagle Scouts! Good job mom and dad.
Yes, most of the LDS folks I know are good people and yet, prone to the foibles of too closely following church doctrine as it relates to their youth programs.
They believe that Scouting is a part of their church youth program, not an enhancement and therefore, they have the right to modify it as they see fit. In truth, Scouting is a separate entity that can be used for the furthering of their youth programs. Yet, most of the LDS leaders that have failing programs don’t understand why their programs are failing.
No disagreement on the perfecting of the Scouting program. I truly believe in the Scouting Mission and Values. Yes, there have been instances where LDS leaders have made things difficult with “unreasonable” demands(?), yet, we make a concerted effort to let them know it’s not about them, it’s about the boys.
The groups you have dealt with sound quite obstinate and unfortunately, secretive in their approach. Did you notice a lot of “basketball Eagles”? That’s what we call some of the programs here. My job is to bring most if not all of these units into the fold and get them to understand the importance of following the program as it is intended.
They can modify certain aspects to suit their religious beliefs (Sunday travel for instance), but I believe, based on your observations and experiences that those leaders you dealt with are doing their boys a grave disservice.
I am currently working with an LDS unit trying to get their program rebuilt after three years of basically no trained leadership with some church meddling thrown in and I occassionally run into some resistance. I just gently remind them of the agreement we made about me running a Boy Scouts of America program, not an LDS Boy Scout program.
I am training their adult leaders, teaching the boys how to be leaders and building a trained Troop Cmte. that will hopefully not slip backwards once I’m done. This unit had no boy led-boy run program, no committee, no trained adult leaders, etc.
It’s been almost a year now. I have about a year to go I think before I believe I’d feel comfortable turning them loose to see what they can do. I think the biggest thing that has helped me be successful to this point is their bishop who has bought into it whole hog. He wants a quality program, not only for his son, but all the others as well and doesn’t tolerate any unnecessary interference (what that means yet I don’t rightly know) in what I’m doing.
I even convinced him to let me take the Troop to Summer Camp last year over a Sunday. The deal was that their youth leaders would conduct a Sunday service and the boys had to kind of keep it quiet, but it was a victory in the sense that I was able to use logic and convince him of the difficulties in arriving on Monday morning as opposed to arriving on Saturday and be ready, rested and raring to go on Monday morning. Now we’ll see what we can do about this year since the camp we’re going to doesn’t allow Sat. arrivals.;-)
Gee whiz—you’re a saint to give it a go. I wonder if one of the reasons the LDS people at my sons’ camp were so protective about others at camp watching what they were doing was because they weren’t allowing the boys to have enough leadership responsibility, etc. When you live with a ward chairman watching you, it’s hard to understand the importance of giving up control to the rank-and-file members. It’s about control and authority. Giving a boy room to fail as well as room to succeed on his own is very threatening to some people. Best wishes to you in your quest.