This got me thinking

Life got in the way again. It happens. Things just get busy and chaotic and things have to give a little for me to keep up with everyday life. Just know that I never give up entirely, just put it aside for a little while. At any rate, I think about it even if I cannot sit down and jot things down. Of course there are times where I just need to get things out there on the page a bit more than others. I need that release. So tonight I sit and write.

Yesterday, on Facebook I read something that has really stuck with me. It was not something profound. It was not something earth shattering. It was not something even earth moving. It was just something that was just an honest statement of how something is.

If you are paid to do Scouting, you are called a professional. If you are not paid to do Scouting, you are called a Volunteer. If you pay to do Scouting, then you are called a Scouter.

~ Sam Houston Area Council

I am not sure exactly who wrote it, but I am giving credit where credit is due. I am crediting it to the folks of the council we reside in and the Facebook page I incidentally grabbed the quote from.

Like I said, it was not earth shattering. However, it made me take pause and think. It does not take a broad sweeping prophetic voice to know that it speaks loads of truth. To be honest, this was what made me pay attention.

The sad part was that it was what gave me my “ah ha moment” yesterday. The light bulb went off. It was that moment of realization where you are happy to have the realization but saddened by the realization because you know the fix is not so easy. You are grateful for the awakening point but not the realization that you are one person that may or may not change the resistance ahead of you. That is reality.

The quote is simple but honest. It can be applied to a variety of different aspects of our lives. I want to break it down piece by piece.

If you are paid to do Scouting, you are called a professional. 

How many times are we paid to do something and suddenly we become an expert in our field? It is actually a great feeling to know you know something about something and other people respect you for that knowledge. The truth be told, you do not have to get paid to be an expert, but the dollar signs behind the name often help gain your a fair amount of respect. They at least think you know what you are talking about if you make the money to prove it. It is all about perception really.

There are other people that I would consider professional scouters, but that’s because they have a lifetime of experience in the scouting world. I would be safe in saying that they eat, sleep, and breathe scouting in most cases. There are some that probably feel that resistance of scouting is futile and yet get involved not so willingly, but they still do a bang up job at it.

By this definition above, however, I still believe and agree with it. In the scouting industry, the primary force of professional scouters…they are paid.

If you are not paid to do Scouting, you are called a Volunteer. 

This is where the bulk of the scouting world falls. So much of the scouting program is run by volunteers. They are volunteers like me and other den leaders like me. They are volunteers like me and my husband and other scout committee members just like us. They are volunteers like the numerous other scouting related positions that are needed to make every Pack, Troop, Team, and Crew run without a problem. It takes a lot to make the scouting world work like it does. Volunteers make the world go round. They especially make the scouting world go round! Scouting does not work without the endless hours of scouting volunteers.

If you pay to do Scouting, you are called a Scouter.

This is where I think we all fall apart. In the LDS church too often we forget where we lay our eggs and we count them before they hatch. We are protected from the cost of certain programs because we do not directly pay the costs of these programs. The scouting program is one of the perks for many of the members of the church.

We are kind of spoiled little brats when it comes to scouting. We get an hour of free babysitting every week when the kids turn 8 years old. We do not want to willingly work on that child’s achievement’s with them which are really no harder than simply opening a book that we went and bought them and reading a page or two or large text dispersed amidst large pictures and discussing what was read or doing a simple activity with them. We are spoiled brats. We cannot read a few pages out of the books about child protection and how to protect our children from various dangers which we proclaim to know how to protect our children from and want to protect our children from. We are given special tools to do that with, which our prophet has personally endorsed, and yet we cannot spend 30 minutes of our lives to do it.

We are even more spoiled because or wards and stakes pick up the bulk of the cost of the scouting program. We rarely have to shell out much money for these programs. Yes, we have to all buck up and go to the scout shop and buy an expensive uniform and gulp as we slip the cashier our chosen form of currency (debit card, credit card, etc). In that transaction we have all bought the required Cub Scout shirt, Cub Scout neckerchief, Cub Scout slide, Cub Scout belt and belt buckle, all the patches, and Cub Scout book. Or perhaps we are on our second or third trip to the Scout Shop where we are buying a Scout Shirt, Scout Pants, Scout Neckerchief, Scout Belt, Scout Slide, and Scout Book. If we’re lucky we get out of the Scout Shop for under $100 on our first trip into the Scout Shop. Most of us, however, do not. It is a known fact that the Scout Shop is a money sucking vortex. If we only have one boy we will likely keep our expenses to a minimal in the store. If we have multiple boys and we are blessed to have already repeated this experience more than once, we know better than to think that this will be our last trip into the store. Like I said, we are already aware of the money sucking vortex that will welcome us. We know we are going to buckle up and enjoy the ride. We will get to know the Scout Shop employees well and they will come to recognize us when we walk in. It will become a love-hate relationship as they love to separate us from our money and we hate to make that trek to spend more of it. We’ll do it again. They’ll welcome us back. 

The fact remains, however, that we have only invested a minimal amount of money on Scouting in those trips to the Scout Shop. This does not negate the fact the there is a vast amount of money that is being exchanged on our behalf and on the behalf of our child or children. Someone is picking up the tab. Someone. Somewhere. Somehow. We may not be cutting a “dues tab” every month to cover the cost of Cub Scouting or Scouting but someone somewhere is helping to cover our portion. Who is that? Well it does come out of the Ward budget and it is not a small amount. Just so we are clear on that, the numbers are astounding.

Sit down and do the math. It is sobering when you do the actual math. In the Cub Scout program alone, every year your boy earns a rank and you (their mom) earns a mother’s pin to go with it. That costs money. They likely got a little card that tells when they earned that award. They will likely get a handful of little arrow patches at roughly $1 each. Then we get some belt loops at something around $1.80 or so a piece. We’re not done yet. What if they earn something like 10 or 20 of those belt loops? Then we move on to the pins that are above and beyond the belt loops. Those cost about the same as the belt loops. There is one for every belt loop. What if they only earn half as many pins as they do belt loops? Then there are the special awards for things that are above and beyond. We do them, they might as well earn them, right? This is every single year. Then there are all of the activities that get your child to this point. There is the materials that get your child to these end results. Someone has to cover the cost of those.

This turned into a long rant. I really did not want it to. The fact is, there is a cost to Scouting, especially Cub Scouting. It is not a one hour a week, show up and go home thing for boys. There is some participation required on every party. The den leaders and leaders have to do their part. The parents have to do their part. The boys especially have to do their part. We are raising leaders. We need to raise the bar and have higher expectations. They may be boys, but they are not babies. They can still be expected to do certain things. Besides, in just 10 short years (or less if you have an older child) many of these LDS boys will be heading out into the mission fields. The church raised the bar for us. Parents take note, we’re not asking for anything more than was already being asked for. We’re simply asking for a little more care. Participation. Care. We’re asking you to open the book and do your part. Use the tools that you have already paid for. Make sure your child is prepared…

Your child is a scouter…

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