Monday, June 8, 2009

A truck and a smile

My last post was supposed to be this post, but it kind of flowed out different than I expected it to. The one thing this post and my last one will have in common is a little bit of bagging on Young Women leaders.

As I mentioned before, the ladies are probably just a little bit better at making plans, having meetings to talk about their plans, and spending way too much time making curly little papers handouts to let everyone know what their plans are. While they do get a reputation of having their act together, they are generally less trained than the men and thus occasionally do some weird things. Maybe they don't need as much training, but the BSA has a lot of training available. Depending on the leadership in a ward or stake, when callings are extended to BSA positions, a new leader isn't necessarily always told that they need to attend training. Eventually most of us figure it out and do get at least minimal training. I wonder how much training the church would provide the men if the BSA didn't do so much for them.

One of the first and most common things that is stressed in training is safety. They drill many rules into your head. The biggest one of these is that you have to have at least two leaders and two boys to have an activity as part of the youth protection rules. A side note on this, a former assistant of mine, who was notorious for getting worked up if we had too many activities and campouts, went to one of the basic trainings. He got back, and I was excited to hear what he learned, since I've learned something important in all the training I've participated in. I was disappointed that instead of some great nugget of wisdom that could help us work better together, he learned that if you don't have at least two leaders, you should cancel an activity. The only thing he learned was a way to get out of an activity.

Anyway, after youth protection, one of the other most important and well-known rules is to never let scouts ride in the back of a truck or trailer. Everyone has to be in a seatbelt, inside the vehicle. You hear it all the time. I'm pretty sure it's on tour permit paperwork, for those of us who actually fill them out. You can't be a scout leader without knowing that you never put a scout in the back of your truck.

So the combined activity last week was a game of The Fugitive. Basically, the youth all had to get from a certain location a few blocks from the church to a park a few blocks on the other side of the church. The leaders had to catch them before they got to the park. I received a call from one of the young women in charge asking if I could bring my truck. What I understood is that I would have a bucket of water in the back that the leaders could use to refill their water guns, which they would use to shoot the fugitives they found.

When they started explaining all the rules, it was actually much different. Four of us, including myself, had trucks, and we were to drive around and shoot with water guns or yell the names of the youth we saw and then put them in the back of our trucks. They would then help us find more fugitives. Yikes. All the alarm bells started going off. The ladies were all calmly smiling and thinking about how fun the activity was going to be that they had put together. The men were nervously looking back and forth at each other, wondering if this was really happening. Were we actually going to have kids ride in the back of our trucks out in plain sight at an official activity? Was this approved by anyone? Did it need to be? Could it be? Every training we have ever had has always included 'no kids in the back of a truck'. I think we should have chased the youth on bikes or on foot, but it wasn't my activity.

The Bishop was there and didn't say anything, although he was noticeably uncomfortable. Since he didn't stop it, we proceeded. The activity ended up being fun, and no one was injured. At the end, I jokingly thanked the Bishop for approving such a wonderful activity. He just stood there with a knowing smile on his face, saying nothing. Yet at the same time, he said everything that needed to be said.

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