As a management development consultant I’m known for using pithy statements to anchor key leadership concepts in the minds of the executives I teach. One of my most often quoted statements is “If your team is struggling, structure will save you.” In the workplace a manager can tell when his or her work team is struggling. Likewise, you should be able to tell when your Young Men program is struggling. You see, hear, and feel when your program is not going well.
If your Aaronic Priesthood or Scouting program is struggling, I would like to suggest that the prescribed Church and BSA structure will save you.
You don’t have to reinvent the wheel. Every problem or challenge you face as an Aaronic Priesthood or Scouting leader has been confronted by many men before you. Inspired men have developed structured programs, processes, policies, procedures, and systems to ensure your boys have quality priesthood and Scouting experiences. Instructional handbooks have been written by Church curriculum developers so you can provide inspirational and uplifting lessons each week in your priesthood quorum. Boy Scout, Varsity, and Venturing leader manuals are available to teach you how to deploy the necessary structure to inculcate within your boys the aims and values of Scouting. The three-volume Troop Program Resources guide provides step-by-step outlines to implement and teach every element and Scout skill to your young men. The Internet literally has thousands of resources available to “save” you in your calling.
I testify that boys respond well to structure. It is the structure of reciting the Scout Oath and Law each week at the beginning of your meetings, knowing in advance the planned activity for the week, never canceling an event, and following a prescribed agenda in your quorum meetings that saves the boys. Young men need the assurance of consistency during the confusing formative years of their life. They need constancy while everything about them in their pre-teen and teen years is in transition. The gospel of Jesus Christ and the values of Scouting offer your boys a safe, comfortable, and peaceful spirit. Aaronic Priesthood and Scouting experiences should be a noticeably sharp contrast to the confusion and ever-changing norms of the world.
I encourage you to develop a structured routine in your priesthood quorum, weeknight meetings, outdoor activities, and campouts. Once the boys get used to the routine, they will respond well when they know they always bring their scriptures to Church on Sunday, they always wear their Scout uniform to Mutual, there is campout every month, there will be a “reflection” after each activity, and they always have evening and morning group prayer together when camping. These are just a few of the unique structures I’ve used to save the boys under my stewardship. I testify boys respond well to structure. I have seen it work over and over again.
Take a Moment to Reflect
- Do you teach out of the Come, Follow Me lessons during your quorum instruction and do the boys read out of their scriptures regularly during your lessons?
- Do you own and use the Boy Scout, Varsity, or Venturing leader handbook to guide your efforts?
- Do you have a structured routine to your Mutual nights?
- Do you go on regularly-scheduled service projects, campouts, and outdoor outings?
- Do your boys have confidence they will have quality Scouting and priesthood experiences?
Turn Your Reflection Into Action
- What will you start doing, stop doing, or do better as a result of your reflection?
“It is wisdom in me; therefore, a commandment I give unto you, that ye shall organize yourselves and appoint every man his stewardship; that every man may give an account unto me of the stewardship which is appointed unto him.” (D&C 104: 11—12).
-Mac McIntire is a dedicated Scouter who has blessed many lives through his service and acute understanding of the Scouting program. He currently lives in Evanston, Wyoming. The comments in this blog reflect his opinions and are not to be construed as official statements by the Church or by the LDS-BSA Relationships office.