This is for those Mormon moms who might be struggling with the scouting program. I must confess — I’m not into Scouting. I raised four sons and every year I kept hoping the LDS church would drop the Boy Scout program as part of the Young Men’s Program. But some things become so “set” that changes just don’t happen.

Mormons and Scouts

The first LDS Scout troop was started in 1913 — Mormons and Scouting have a long history. I understand the need for it back in the early days. But I think it served it’s purpose. At least here in the United States. At least for me.
LDS Boy Scouts infront of the Church Offices, the drum saying "Boy Scouts of America, Salt Lake, MIA" (Mutual Improvement Association).

LDS Boy Scouts infront of the Church Offices, the drum saying “Boy Scouts of America, Salt Lake, MIA” (Mutual Improvement Association).

We did a little scouting. We did the Cub Scout program. But after Webelos — I wasn’t a big fan. Yep, no Eagles here. I’m sorry if I offended some of you. OK, so I’m a rebel. And I feel kind of bad, because as a Mormon, I wanted to support the programs of the church. I often felt guilty for not being one of those scouting families in the ward. But for me, scouting beyond 6th grade was….well…those uniforms — Looks like the Hitler Youth to me. And there’s something about uniform mentality — sometimes good, sometimes not so good. I don’t know, it just rubs me the wrong way. Maybe it’s the requirement. Even Brigham Young told his father that he wouldn’t sign the temperance pledge because he didn’t want to be forced to do it. (see Hugh Nibley on Brigham Young).

hitler-youth-parade-nazi-germany-19

Hitler Youth

I must admit, it’s difficult when you’re in a ward (church congregation) where the boys ages 14, 15, 16, 17 and 18 are still working on badges every week. It sort of makes Young Men Activities all centered around getting badges. That’s fine, if they love it. My nephews have fond memories of camping with their dad and they all got their Eagles.

 

However, not every boy is physically gifted to do all those high adventure activities in the Venture Scouting program. Or want to. I know of too many boys that fell off cliffs and died or got run over by motorboats. I wasn’t always willing to send my kids off with the guy who got “called” to be a scout leader. If my husband could go with our boys, they sometimes went.

 

One of my boys went to Scout camp — I knew the leader was experienced and cautious. My husband was a Scout Master a number of times and took boys on high adventure trips. He would take his one week vacation with the Boy Scouts and leave me home to take care of our babies (see, more grumbling). Later, he took our boys with him and that worked better for me. They have some fond memories with Brother Meyers. But it was all about having a good camping trip, and less about the badges and the uniforms.

 

I’ve found that the church Scout program became a parent’s program. I saw a lot of parents try to motivate their boys to get their Eagle by withholding things — boys weren’t allowed to get their driver’s license until they got their rank of Eagle Scout. It was becoming a demand instead of a goal for many families.

 

I didn’t do Girl Scouts with my daughter. But back in the 1960’s, I was a Brownie and a Girl Scout. I was still in elementary school, and I earned plenty of badges. We had a lot of fun. I went to scout camp and sang all those campfire songs. But by the 7th grade the troop fizzled. I wouldn’t have been caught alive in this uniform as a teenager — yea this is me in my uniform:
girl scouts 1965

*I like where the church is going with the  “Duty to God” program. But from what I’ve seen, it takes second seat to the Scout Program. As for my sons? They’ve done fine without their Eagle. There’s lot’s of great young men who serve missions, get their college degree, start their own business, get married, have children, are kind and compassionate — and did not get their Eagle. So if you’re worried. Don’t be. Do what works for your family. I homeschooled my last three kids, and that is rebellious. I loved it.