When I was a stake Young Men president I often bemoaned the fact that I didn’t get to work directly with the boys. I wanted to be in the trenches with the young men so I could be a righteous influence in their lives. Fortunately I was comforted by something I emphasize to managers in attendance at my Accountability Management Workshop which I facilitate for my consulting company clients. I tell the managers in that course that I can improve the performance of their employees without ever seeing or speaking to their employees. I can improve the performance of their employees by improving the performance of the managers. Effective managers create effective employees. Consequently, I consoled myself in my stake Young Men calling by knowing that I could improve the priesthood faithfulness and Scouting performance of the young men throughout the stake by improving the performance of the adult Young Men leaders.
The primary responsibility of the stake Young Men presidency is to train the adult Young Men and Scouting leaders throughout the stake. Handbook 2: Administering the Church (2010) makes it clear that the stake YM presidency is to orient newly called ward Young Men leaders and “provide ongoing encouragement, support and instruction” (15.4.1). This section of the handbook also says the stake YM presidency is to “meet with these leaders regularly to learn of their needs, discuss the needs of the members they serve, and communicate information from the stake presidency. Periodically they visit ward meetings and classes as arranged with ward leaders.” It’s obvious from the handbook that the stake Young Men presidency is supposed to play an active role in the Scouting and Aaronic Priesthood programs in each ward in the stake.
Interestingly, when I served twice as a ward Young Men president, and later as a Scoutmaster, I never saw anyone from the stake YM presidency. I didn’t even know who they were. I had no idea that they had an important role in ensuring my success as a Scouting and priesthood leader.
Members of the stake YM presidency also “register with the BSA as unit commissioners, serving as liaisons to the individual Scouting units (troops, teams, crews) in the stake” (Scouting Handbook for Church Units in the United States [May 2015], 3.3). As unit commissioners they should receive appropriate Scout leader training. They also should regularly attend and participate in district committee meetings and roundtables. The unit commissioner’s role is to “meet regularly with unit leaders, create close relationships with them, help them with rechartering, and inform them of BSA district and council activities, training opportunities, policies, and health or safety issues.” Unit commissioners act as coaches, consultants, and confidants to the Scouting leaders in the stake. They are a vital resource to the unit leaders.
The stake YM presidency is the second line of support for the ward YM leaders—the bishopric being the first line of support. Obviously this means the members of the stake YM presidency should be fully immersed and well-versed in the fundamentals of the Scouting program. They should be laser-focused on the eight Purposes of the Aaronic Priesthood and know how the Aims and Methods of Scouting help achieve those purposes. They should have a firm testimony of the Boy Scouts, Varsity Scouts, and Venturing programs so they can inspire others to implement the Scouting programs as designed by the Boy Scouts of America. The stake Young Men presidency should be the chief cheerleaders when it comes to Scouting.
If you are a member of a stake Young Men presidency, I urge you to magnify your calling by learning all you can about Scouting, attending district meetings, getting properly trained as a unit commissioner, attending Wood Badge training, and seeking inspiration and revelation through fasting and prayer regarding your stewardship responsibilities.
If you are a ward Young Men leader, I encourage you to seek out your stake Young Men presidency. Get properly oriented and trained under their tutelage. Invite them to your quorum meetings and Scouting activities. Develop a strong working relationship and bond. Draw upon the inspiration, knowledge, and experience of your stake leaders so you can make your Scouting and Aaronic Priesthood programs even stronger.
Take a Moment to Reflect
- Does your stake Young Men presidency have a firm vision and testimony of Scouting and understand its value in achieving the purposes of the Aaronic Priesthood?
- Has your stake Young Men presidency been properly trained as unit commissioners and are they faithfully and effectively serving in that capacity?
- Is your stake Young Men presidency actively involved in orienting and training Scouting and Aaronic Priesthood leaders?
- Do the stake Young Men leaders periodically attend ward Aaronic Priesthood quorum meetings and Scouting activities?
- Is there a strong bond between the ward Scouting and Aaronic Priesthood leaders and the stake Young Men presidency?
Turn Your Reflection Into Action
- What will you start doing, stop doing, or do better as a result of your reflection?
“A wise man will hear, and will increase learning; and a man of understanding shall attain unto wise counsels” (Proverbs 1:5).
-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 Las Vegas, Nevada. The views and opinions expressed in this message are solely those of the author.