Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Gathering of Eagles

Next month, on Friday, May 9th, there will be a Gathering of Eagles event to honor local Eagle Scout men who have made a difference in our community. These men point back to their Scouting experiences, specifically their Eagle Scout award, as the pivotal defining moment in their lives.

Preparing for this event to recognize those who have obtained the highest rank in Boy Scouting reminds me of when I was a 15 year old boy working toward earning my own Eagle Scout award.  

The service project that I organized turned out to be the foundation for all of the project management endeavors that I have done ever since.

The project that I chose was to renovate a complete playground at the Hurricane Elementary School in my home town of Hurricane, Utah. It had been over 20 years since this playground had been updated, with equipment that was dilapidated at best and downright dangerous at worst. I submitted a proposal to the principal and the school board for permission to re-level the playground equipment which had sunk over the years as well as paint all of this old equipment.

I was asked to come to the school board meeting and present my idea, defending it in front of a panel of 6 to 8 adult school board members. I had to "be prepared" with pictures and drawings of what it would look like in the future, be ready to field questions about the scope of the project, plan for the cost of the project, as well as outline the timing for completing the project.  

To say the least, I was scared to death!

I stayed up many nights preparing an overhead projector presentation for the meeting, memorizing a script of what I would say in answer to different questions, and ultimately writing it all out in a book to present to them. Before the meeting I said a quick prayer asking for help to remember everything I had prepared and then went in wearing my Scout uniform to present my plan. Of course now I realize that they were most likely not expecting very much from this 15-year-old kid… But man did I deliver! I think I was prepared as much for that presentation as any I have made in front of board meetings or corporations or sales jobs ever since in my whole life.

I know what the Eagle Scout award means to me, so I relish the opportunity to honor those who share my feelings and have continued to let their Eagle experience influence them and all those they have the opportunity to serve.

Friday, May 9th at the SUU Centrum Arena

At this night of awards, these deserving men will be presented with the Outstanding Eagle Scout Award by the Boy Scouts of America. There are less than 2000 men in the world who have ever received this award, including Thomas S. Monson, Randy Wilkinson, Neil Armstrong, Donald Hinton, and many other great and respected men.

This short video highlights who these men are today and where they came from in Scouting and in life. The first man speaking in the video is currently the LDS temple President in St. George, Utah. The other men are ecclesiastical leaders in churches, businessmen, and outstanding pillars of the community today. All of them point back to their time in Scouting, and specifically their Eagle Scout project, as greatly influencing their future lives.

As a 15-year-old boy, I had to decide on a project, submit my proposal, get permission to do the project, obtain funding for a project, rally resources and labor to complete the project, and then manage a team of hundreds of volunteers to finish off this huge project. Remembering my Eagle Scout project, and the day I received my Eagle Scout award, reminds me of the thousands of young men that received their Eagle and are now doing great things as adults for the leaders of the next generation.

I hope and pray that I can live up to the honor bestowed upon me as a 15 year old kid. 

We will see you at this great event, and thank you for all you are currently doing for the leaders of the next generation… We are involved in a great work!

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Hurricane Mud Run - 2014

In 2013, my wife Melissa and I, along with a few friends, competed in a Warrior Dash mud run in Arizona. We trained, we worked, we ran, we sweat, and ultimately we conquered a grueling 3.1 miles of mud. Among other obstacles, we scaled several 30 foot climbing walls and scrambled through disgusting mud pits, finally arriving at an imposing pit of mud with barbed-wire strung across the top of it! We had to swim through the mud, under the barbed-wire, and then jump over a line of fire in order to ultimately cross the finish line.

This was a very difficult, wonderful, and memorable experience in my life, one that I consider life-changing. Once I had completed this grueling 3.1 mile race, I knew that I could accomplish just about anything I wanted to!

And now you, your friends, and your family have the opportunity to get good and dirty too!

Please join me on Saturday, May 17th as I get muddy in the Hurricane Mud Run

Register for this race by going to:  Be sure to use the coupon code: BSA to receive a 10% discount and support The Boy Scouts of America locally.

So the question I pose today is, what kind of difficult things are we doing as adults that set the example for our children, helping them to be prepared for the difficult things they will need to do in the future? 

It could be as simple as running a grueling 3.1 mile mud run, or as challenging as climbing Mount Everest! 

Monday, April 28, 2014

Help Other People at All Times

Tonight my family and I had the opportunity to serve an older couple in our neighborhood. It was not something that we were asked to do. We were thinking about what to do for Family Home Evening when my oldest daughter suggested that a couple in the neighborhood needed their lawn mowed. So, we voted on it as a family and then headed over to their house.

After completing most of the yard work, our neighbor came home and surprised us by giving big hugs and kisses for a job well done!

My question tonight is, what does the line in the Scout oath which says, "to help other people at all times," really mean? Can we really help other people ALL the time? How do we possibly do this and still accomplish anything else in life? 

I guess the real question is, how can we instill in our young people a sense of service and the idea of helping other people at all times?

Obviously I am a big believer in The Boy Scouts of America and the values this organization teaches to both the youth and adults who participate. But what is the best method for taking those ideals of Scouting and instilling them into the next generation? I believe this happens as our youth see the ideals of the Scout Oath and Law personified in their adult leaders and parents who are living these ideals day to day in everything they do. And then our youth need to be held accountable to live those ideals by parents, leaders, and society in general.

What methods do you use as leaders of the next generation to instill the value of helping other people at all time into your youth? 

Corporate Derby

Our Corporate Pinewood Derby fundraiser was a great success! 

We had over 40 businesses come out to race pinewood derby cars for a chance to win a REAL CAR from our main sponsor, the Stephen Wade Auto Center.

Over $15,000 was raised to help local Scouts and leaders do what they need to do to become the people they are to become!

These events remind me of why we come together as a family and as a community. Pulling together, we set our children and grandchildren up to have an even better life than we now enjoy. As we voluntarily give of our time, talents, and resources, we see ourselves and the world change to a higher, more perfect place.

I am so grateful for the opportunity to be a part of this great Scouting movement. A movement that helps our youth and leaders become trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, and all that! I love that my own kids are learning these important values each time they raise their arm to the Scout sign and repeat these words.


Venturing Crew 1948 went horse back riding this week!

In The Boy Scouts of America we know that the number one quality kids need to be able to have as an adult is the ability to do hard things

The things they learn might be as easy as horse back riding or as hard as climbing an imposing cliff.  Maybe they will sum up the courage to jump off of a 100 foot high tower to race across a mile long wire suspended high above the earth while zip-lining at 50 miles per hour (surrounded by trees!).

Whatever we plan to do with our kids, let's remember that in the process we are teaching them (and ourselves) to do hard things!

The hard things we do now are how we will Be Prepared for hard things in the future.

Hard Things

My son had a hard day at church today. Before we even got started with the opening song he was crabby, whiny, and ready to take a nap...   

This experience makes me wonder about the importance of having our children do hard things

I fully believe that children (and adults for that matter) need to do hard things now so that they will "be prepared" to do hard things in the future. These things may start with picking up after themselves and doing their own dishes as a young child, cleaning the house and vacuuming as they get a little older, to growing up and being able to hold down a newspaper route or other job. As a youth, I was expected to mow lawns and sell fireworks at a local fireworks stand. 

I want to make sure that my kids know how to do these types of hard things now, because someday in the future they will be called upon to do even hard things.

Think of the hard things that previous generations were asked to do: Crossing the plains as pioneers to serving in and enduring World Wars I and II. Each of our previous generations had huge tasks they needed to do, but they could do them because they had been prepared as youth by their parents and other adults (even Scout leaders). Back then it seemed like an entire town would pull together to make sure that the youth of the next generation were prepared to take over where the current generation had left off.

So my question today as I see this little worn out boy of mine is:  
"Are we doing enough for our youth, or are we doing too much?"

I truly believe we can help them to be more prepared by letting them experience some hard things early on in their life.

The other day I was talking with a tenured leader of youth who was just about to begin work at a training center for missionaries. He told me that every youth preparing to leave home needs to do a couple very important things: 
  1. They need to have a significant away from home experience (like Scout camp) 
  2. They need to be able to detach themselves from the gadgets of the world (the iPhones, the droids, the iPad, the computers, the headphones with music blaring in their ears). Is that a hard thing for your children? It sure is for mine! 

We can not give up and let this generation go to the dogs. We must help our youth become the next greatest generation. We must rise up to help them learn to do hard things. I believe that The Boy Scouts of America as one of those anchors that will teach this next generation how to become great! 

As I look at my sleeping little boy I think about how someday he will be racing a pinewood derby down the track (after building it with me). He will learn from the great leaders in his Scouting unit, go on 50 mile backpacking trips and week-long camp-outs. He will gain the character developmentcitizenship, and fitness that he needs to become a man of great understanding in both worldly and spiritual things. A man who will be prepared to be a leader of the next-generation, to take over where I and others will leave off. As I look to the future, I hope and pray that he will have great Scout leaders like I had growing up!

What things will you do to help your children have experience with doing hard things? 
Will you send them to summer camp or the national jamboree?  
Will you have them go on a mini church mission?