Stan’s EYO Blog #32: Teaching Citizenship and Connecting Them With Heaven

Stan Stolpe

The Boy Scout Handbook (Thirteenth Edition, 2016) is divided into 14 numbered sections that address the elements of Scouting from 1) “Character & Leadership” to 14) “Awards & Advancements.” As an eleven-year-old (EYO) Scout leader, I provide the overall guidance for the EYO Scout patrol in their annual planning, working with them to select one of these sections as a monthly theme or program focus. This month we are doing Citizenship and had a wonderful opportunity, which I will share.

Working with the EYO patrol in my ward, the first meeting of the month is always the patrol planning meeting. In this meeting, the EYO patrol reviews the Scout through First Class advancement requirements for the program feature found in Troop Program Features Volume I and completes the Troop Outdoor Program Plan, as well as Troop Meeting Plan (note: I modify the Troop plans for EYO Patrol use).

As we reviewed the Scout rank requirement to “repeat from memory the Pledge of Allegiance, and in your own words, explain its meaning” (Boy Scout Handbook, page 50), we were discussing the words “one nation under God, indivisible . . .” My EYO Scout leader assistant made a remarkable observation—that we as a nation pledge to be indivisible. It was a very timely comment for us to remember that as Scouts, we may have different opinions, but we should remain united.

Here was the opportunity to connect the EYO Scouts with heaven. In 2 Nephi 1 of the Book of Mormon, Lehi prophesizes to his sons on this concept of indivisible. In verse 21, he exhorts them to “be determined in one mind and in one heart, united in all things . . .” (emphasis added). We as followers of Christ are a people united in baptism and united in purpose. In Alma 60 we see the consequences of not being united when Moroni admonishes the Nephites for not being united and the subsequent calamities that befalls them.

In Doctrine and Covenants 45:65, the early Saints were encouraged as follows:

And with one heart and with one mind (emphasis added), gather up your riches that ye may purchase an inheritance which shall hereafter be appointed unto you.

In the New Testament, in an epistle to the Romans (Romans 15: 5-6), Paul describes indivisible in the following manner:

5 Now the God of patience and consolation grant you to be likeminded one toward another according to Christ Jesus;

6 That ye may with one mind and one mouth glorify God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.

In Acts 2:46 we have the reference of the early saints, “continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart.”

We recently lost our dear prophet, President Thomas S. Monson, but the Quorum of the Twelve will meet and be of one mind and one accord to select our next prophet. And it will be unanimous. Our commitment in the Pledge of Allegiance to be an indivisible people is not only a secular concept, but a concept of being part of the Lord’s chosen and anointed.

Thus, as we teach the Pledge of Allegiance and have discussions about the meaning of the Pledge, we have the opportunity to connect our EYO Scouts with heaven. We can show them that being a united people, being indivisible, is an important concept not only as a Scout and a citizen of the United States, but also as a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Stan Stolpe has served in multiple Scouting positions at the unit, district, council, regional, and national levels in the U.S. and overseas. He resides in Alexandria, Virginia, serving in the Mount Vernon Virginia Stake where he is an EYO Scout leader. The views and opinions expressed in this message are solely those of the author.

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  1. Bill Chapman says:

    Stan, very timely comments! I have forwarded your post along to our 11-year-old Scout Leaders and hopefully, they will sign up for the emails containing your monthly blog posts. Thank you for your insights and inspiration.

    1. Stanley J. Stolpe says:

      Bill, you are welcome. I can always use more followers. If you have an specific topics you or your other EYO Scout leaders would like me to blog about, feel free to let me know.

      1. Bill Chapman says:

        I have never been an 11-year-old Scout leader but I have a good friend who has and tells me that 11-year-old Scouts are too young to implement the patrol method and run their own program. Obviously, they will need more training and supervision than a 12-13-year-old Scout, However, it is my belief, without any experience, that they could learn and implement the same skills that we are teaching them when they are just one year older.

        I would be very interested in your thoughts on this and if it would turn into a post, I would share it with my friend and anyone else who would listen. I respect your expertise with the 11-year-old Scouts and your understanding of Scouting and the gospel. Therefore, your counsel and advice on this issue would be greatly appreciated.

        1. Stanley J. Stolpe says:

          Great idea for a post. EYO Scouts can use the patrol method. Scouting feels that Webelos can too. The new program has them forming an AOL patrol. Interesting. Now, I will grant you that how a 10 year old, 11 year old, or 16 year old runs a patrol and how much supervision/preparation they require varies greatly with age.
          My EYO Scouts do use the patrol method. They lead the patrol meeting conducting the opening exercises, reviewing good turns done during the week, discussing the calendar for the month/week, reviewing plans for upcoming activities, conducting games as patrol activities, and conducting the evaluation as part of the closing as well as seeing that the patrol respectfully retires the colors. If something is not right, I go to the patrol leader to make the corrections.
          In the annual program planning, the patrol leader leads the EYO Scouts in selecting which program features will be done in which month. The patrol leader leads discussions on outings and selects different patrol members to brief the EYO Scout leaders on observations or other elements on patrol outings.
          Granted, there is very little interface with the PLC or the Troop except for coordination on Courts of Honor.
          When I want something done, I never tell the patrol. I tell the patrol leader and he communicates with the patrol.
          The point being, I do not lead or direct the patrol as a whole. I tell the patrol leader what I wand and when I want it done. It is his job to see to it that it gets done. If it is not done well, then it becomes an element at patrol evaluation. It is theirs to correct, not mine.
          After the meeting, I direct the patrol leader to do any clean up and report to me when it is complete.
          On outings, I direct the patrol leader to meet me with the patrol at a certain place and time; then send them off. As leaders, I avoid hovering. Then I give them a head start and follow in trace.

          That sounds to me like the patrol method to me. They can lead their own patrols, but you have to TRAIN them. EYO Scouts have almost never had any experience in leading. You need to show them when and how to use joining, directing, selling, consulting, or delegating.

          Yup, looks like a blog item to me.

  2. Jeremy says:

    Stan, I appreciate your blogs! I have recently been called as an 11 year old leader, and I’ve printed out all your blog posts and been reading through them. I’ve served at all other levels of the Scouting program for young men, and after doing so, one thing I’ve learned and found to be invaluable is for the boys to have input in what they’re planning. It helps them “own” it, gets them more excited about coming, and even inviting others to join them for weekly meeting or weekend activities. That’s the biggest problem I have with what so many people have told me after getting called. I can’t tell you how many people have told me some version of the following, “Just find a 12 month or 6 month plan and run the boys through it so they’re 1st Class by the time they turn 12.” I understand their reasoning, they want the boys to be first class by the time they turn 12. But it doesn’t give the boys a chance to have any input about what they’re doing. That’s what intrigued me most about your post. It seems to strike a balance between, “Boys, here’s our goal and what we need to get done (get them to 1st Class) but within that structure, we have some flexibility to choose what we’re doing and where we do it.” I’d love to communicate with you more about this process if you have a chance to e-mail me back. Thanks for the great service you provide through this blog.

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