Tuesday, January 20, 2015

I Love Working for the Boy Scouts of America!

In all of the years that I was involved in Scouting as a youth, I never knew that there were full-time paid positions within the Boy Scouts of America. And little did I know that as an adult I would have the incredible opportunity to work for this wonderful organization...

I was introduced to the profession of Scouting when I was attending Brigham Young University. At a pivotal moment in my life, I was walking down a hall in the Richards Building when I found myself face-to-face with a poster that read, "A Profession With a Purpose: Come work for the Boy Scouts of America." I was intrigued, and filled with a desire to learn more. Since I was not feeling enthusiastic about the Business Degree that I was pursuing at the time, and was craving greater purpose in my life, I called the number listed, and dramatically changed the course of my life.

I was told that someone who holds an entry-level position, called a District Executive, in the Boy Scouts of America needs to be able to talk with people, to inspire them to greatness, and to juggle multiple tasks at the same time. They would do everything from organizing Jamborees and other types of Scouting events, to carrying out fundraising drives and running Boy Scout camps. A District Executive is also often found working with top-level volunteers and leaders in the community to move the Scouting program forward, offering improved opportunities for the youth within their areas of influence. 

A Bachelor's Degree was required, and while any degree would do, it just so happened that BYU offered a Bachelor's Degree in "Scouting Education" at that time. Before obtaining employment, it was also essential that I pass a personality and ethics test administered through the Boy Scouts of Americaand I learned that the starting salary, which would not make me rich, would be sufficient for my family's needs. The BSA also offered sick time, paid time off, vacation time, and all of the normal benefits you would find at a large for-profit company. They also offered a pension plan that you rarely found with other companies, let alone a non-profit organization like the BSA. But more importantly, during that first phone call I was told that by working for the Boy Scouts I could make a real difference in the world by "helping the leaders of the next generation" become everything God wanted them to be.

I was hooked! That afternoon I went home and counseled with my wife. With her support I signed up for the Scouting Education Degree program the next day, and have had the ride of my life ever since. After completing my degree and being hired as a District Executive, I have done everything from running a variety of summer camps, carrying out a research internship at the National Office in Texas, starting many diverse Scouting units, connecting with influential business and political leaders, working directly with inspirational leaders in the LDS church, and working with countless other churches and organizations interested in preparing the next generation of leaders.

One of the things I love most about working for the Boy Scouts of America is that no two days are ever the same. This past week I have done everything from actively participating in a Council Executive Board meeting with over sixty community leaders, to talking with an LDS Stake President in his home about how Scouting can help him to reach his goals with the Young Men in his Stake. I helped organize a Scouting for Food campaign that will allow food banks to restock their pantry shelves with hundreds of thousands of pounds of food, taught a BYU class about what it means to work for the Boy Scouts of America, and brainstormed ideas with Scouting volunteers about how to better implement character-building programs in their councils.
The Boy Scouts of America is one of the largest non-profit organizations in the world, and is responsible for helping hundreds of thousands of youth reach their full potential as adults.
This job is so exciting to me because what I do as a professional Scouter has the potential to literally change the world!

If you would like to learn more about working for the Boy Scouts of America as a District Executive, please contact me or check out the BSA website.


If you are an adult or youth who would be interested in Summer Camp Employment opportunities within the Utah National Parks Council, follow this link for more information.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Team Building: Tying it Up

James Farnsworth and Clint Lawton ~ headed to Timberline
We had no idea what we were getting ourselves into as we loaded up our 50-pound backpacks and headed off for a week of leadership training at Timberline (NYLT) in Southern Utah.

We showed up to find what seemed to be hundreds of Scouts lined up in perfect order and dressed in full Scouting uniforms standing at attention. We looked nothing like them, and we were worried. If ever there had been a ragtag bunch of kids, we were them; having barely been thrown together as a team, and with our uniforms in disarray. We tried to look like we had it all together as we ran on to the parade grounds to join the assembly, but our veins were filled with fear and our ranks were already filling with contention.

While other patrols had been together for several months and had already made their way through the inevitable stages of team development that we would soon be learning about (forming, storming, norming, and performing), we had only just begun the storming phase. We argued like three-year-olds as we set up camp; bickering about who was going to do the dishes, and picking on each other for looking funny. We were on the brink of giving up, going home, and never hanging out with each other again when a wise Scout leader intervened and instructed us to "Get together as a team". To drive home his point, he grabbed a length of twine and literally tied us together! He secured it to my wrist, then wrapped it around the next boys wrist, and so forth, until our entire patrol was connected at the hip... ahem, wrist.

Yes, we could have easily slipped out of these bands, but to our young minds this was an intriguing game that forced us to figure out how to get along. From that moment on we worked in very close proximity with each other in everything we did. If we needed to make dinner, we had to divide up the jobs so that we didn't make a mess with the rope hanging between us. If one of us needed to go talk to the quartermaster to get something, we all did. Just imagine the resulting hilarity that such a predicament would produce! At the end of each night the Scout leader who tied us together would come to our camp and ask us how our teamwork was progressing. He wanted us to give him a report about how we were learning to do things as a team, and then he would council with us about what we could do better. Because of this wise Scout leader's guidance, we were quickly able to come together as a high performing team.

As youth we unknowingly are taught the way to be the leaders of the next generation in a fun and exciting way through the Scouting program. We are taught everything from team development to leadership and even how to be a good follower. These skills are vitally important as we transition from boys to young men, from missionaries to fathers, and eventually as we become the leaders of the next generation. I will be eternally grateful to Ed Twitchel, the Scoutmaster who tied us together, and to the many other leaders who taught me in my youth.

Whether we are currently a Scout leader or not, we need to be in tune with the Spirit, and open to creative ways that will engage our youth. It might be as simple as taking the time to bring a team of ragtag boys together, as formal as sending them to a National Youth Leadership Training, or as bold as hosting your own Stake NYLT this summer. Each of us needs to take action in order to help our youth become what Heavenly Father wants them to be: the leaders of the next generation.

For more information about Timberline - NYLT offered in the Utah National Parks Council, click HERE.