Saturday, October 31, 2009

Not if I can help it

Last year, the teachers and priests in our ward had been planning a cooking/recipe/food night, where people would bring food, share recipes, and most importantly, eat. I happened to be out in the hall when someone was talking about it, and I mentioned that we'd be happy to join in with them as well. The Bishop was close by and stated something about how they didn't think to invite us, since we'd probably be working on a merit badge that night. My reply was that we would be working on a merit badge that night...Cooking, and that we'd be glad to join them.

How quickly some people forget that there are over 120 merit badges out there. When in doubt, I always assume that no matter the activity someone wants to do, there is likely a merit badge for it. Studying history, surfing the Internet, fixing cars, starting a business, attending a concert, wakeboarding, going to the dentist, and giving your dog a bath are all disparate activities with a common link in that they can all be done as part of various merit badges. Even the ubiquitous standby basketball can be justified within the realm of the Sports merit badge.

For the last couple years, we've had a combined activity where each class makes a church-related video that we watch all together. The guys who had driven the activity in the past have now graduated, but as I had hoped, it was on the table again this year. I am happy to spend several weeks putting our video together all in the name of the Cinematography merit badge, since it's something that I've enjoyed learning more about.

We spent this last week brainstorming, coming up with several funny and interesting ideas about costumes, storylines, and soundtracks for our feature. Then a few days later, we heard the bad news that the activity was a no-go. Between lack of interest from the teachers and priests and outright rebellion from the laurels, not to mention a leaf raking service project we were asked to do, the video night was doomed.

Unfortunately for everybody else, when the deacons and I get excited about something, we find a way to do it anyway. So the plan is to let them cancel/postpone the activity in favor of raking leaves, and wait a couple months until it is our turn to be in charge of the combined activity. Now instead of having everyone film the movies beforehand, the filming will be the activity.

We'll give everyone a video camera, a random bucket of props, a scripture story, and 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, we get back together to watch the videos and have some popcorn. The benefit this way is that the playing field is leveled, given the limits on time, equipment, and storyline.

Of course, instead of spending just two or three weeks on our video like we originally would have, we will now spend two or three months covertly putting it together. I hope that the boys will really come up with something great to tie everyone else's scripture stories together. Part of the motivation, besides just the fun of it, will come from convincing the boys that we're doing this activity to stick it to the people who wanted to cancel it. It often takes some kind of competition to motivate the boys to really be creative and stay focused on something.

I know that as much as we were looking forward to the activity before, my ASM and I are really getting excited now.