Dear 100 Hour Board and Alumni,
If you were in charge of designing the new youth programs for the Church, what would you implement?
I can guarantee the writers below me will have lots of cool ideas that I will probably enthusiastically jump on, but honestly, I'd like there to be flexibility and acknowledgement of small youth programs. Merit badges aren't an awful idea; if they're implemented well, they give exposure to a wide variety of topics, so something like that could be really nice.
I am an Activity Days leader, so I have some major beefs with the inequalities that exist between Cub Scouts and Activity Days. I'm going to list these problems and then lay my beautiful solution on you.
Beef 1: Quantity of leadership. Cub Scouts are broken up into different age groups, and each age group has at least two leaders. Activity Days lumps all the girls together into one big group with a minimum of one leader. That's right, the boys get EIGHT leaders to the girls' ONE leader.
Beef 2: Number of activities. With the change in the Cub Scout program a few years back there was a push (at least by our stake) to have the boys meet every week as opposed to three times a month, because there was so much for them to get done. In contrast, it's down in the Handbook that the girls can meet no more than twice a month. Yeah, you heard me, there's a cap on how often the girls can meet. Why? No one knows, but it's pretty unfair in my opinion.
Beef 3: Money. The Cub Scouts spend a billion times more money on their program than the Activity Day girls. Okay, my math might be a little off, but not by much. What with all the belt loops and pins and badges and derby cars and derby car trophies and all the trappings that come with being a Cub Scout, a ward can expect to spend roughly $60 a year on each boy, and that doesn't include BSA fees or the cost of day camp. My budget for Activity Days is $100 a year. With roughly 16 activities a year, that's $6.25 per activity, or $0.62 per girl per activity since I have 8-10 girls. That's bogus.
So, what would I implement? All senior primary kids under the umbrella of Activity Days, divided into four groups by age. There would be one manual with different areas of interest, somewhat like what the Cub Scouts have, where you pick two out of five activities in a certain category and you pass them off. But, no ranks, no advancements, just everyone moving up with their class at the end of the year. There's this idea that the boys need constant validation, and the second they earn something you need to hold a pack meeting and reward them, and I just...don't get it. Girls don't need the badges and the ceremonies and all that jazz, so why do the boys? It's nonsense. And it stresses the parents out. Plus trying to keep track of who's passed what off, and what to do when a boy misses one week and falls behind, makes everyone called to Cub Scouts resent their calling. It's a mess and I'm glad the Church is doing some retooling. I can't wait for them to roll out the Genuine Article Youth Equality Protocol by the end of 2019.
The biggest thing I am concerned with is having an equal budget for the young men and young women for activities and programs. Growing up, I always felt like the guys did all the cool activities while we were stuck at the church doing cheap things. I wanted to go whitewater rafting and repelling too! Hopefully this new youth program will provide more room for equal activities.
I don't have a ton of ideas but I do love the idea of redoing the programs, assuming of course, that it will be much better once they've changed it.
I would like to see the program be a little more open to interpretation to provide opportunities for youth and groups to do what they want to do, and what their circumstances dictate they can do. There is an opportunity to have a lot better unity throughout the youth of the church the world over.
I, like Tally M, would love for a similar concept of merit badges to be carried over, as in, a ton of fun topics that you can choose from, even individually. I liked that Scouting gave me the opportunity to learn how to do a lot of different things, and I really loved that. I don't want the program to be entirely focused on the spiritual. (Though, I hope they can implement the spiritual naturally)
Keep it real,