Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Down at the [Y]MIA ...

For the last twenty-thirty years the Church has explored alternatives to scouting.  One of the problems is that those who have been tasked with approaching the concept end up just creating boy scout clones, with the bottom line that they give up and suggest just sticking with the boy scouts.

My thought is that they are working with too narrow of a frame.

They need to think of a program for both the boys and the girls and provides a modern replacement for the theme park that paramilitary training (the original boy scouts) has evolved into.

I'd suggest the following:

  1. Practical skills: Suzette Haden Elgin's Gentle Art of Verbal Self Defense.
  2. Practical skills:  tool use (everyone should have a basic Ikea set of tools and the knowledge of how to use them).
  3. Employment skills:  resumes, job interviews, presentation.
  4. Employment skills:  college tracks, professions and employment trees.  The same for boys and girls, since the statistics are that 80% or more of the girls are going to end up having to support themselves and a family.
  5. Life skills:  cooking, recipe planning, group dinners, and how to plan so that the left overs from one meal flow over into the next.
  6. Life skills:  basic housekeeping skills.  Boys who go on missions need to know these.
  7. Spiritual skills:  how anger is used to manipulate people, how spiritual strength is built by time and repetition, just like physical strength.
  8. Spiritual skills:  the value of personal prayer, study and a connection to Christ.
  9. Physical skills:  basic exercise principles and lifetime exercise skills.
  10. Social skills: proper social mores and approaches.  For example, how to turn down coffee without insulting someone.
  11. Societal skills:  the ways people dress in different countries and different social strata.
  12. Societal skills:  the roles various cultures give people.
Additionally, one or two week long adventure projects.  Could be real camping (with camp skills taught) or travel, but a project that takes them out of the mundane (and at least 100 miles from home).

Boys and girls get the same budgets.

Each set would run for two months, two weeks a month.  The sets would overlap.  With twelve steps, each taking 1/2 a month x2 you have twelve months worth of material.  If you put it together with two different sets of modules, you would go two years without duplication of material.

I would suggest that learning things at 12 and then learning them again at 14 is an entirely different proposition.

You just need a similar set to take kids from 16 to 18.

But if I were replacing scouting, that is what I would look for.


Anonymous said...

I'm mostly with you, though I might have the YM and YW do their own programs, but definitely mandate that their unit budgets are done per capita, and that both be allowed to fund raise for the one or two camps/high adventures. It seems like when DTG first came out, it was a lot more geared to a broader range of activities, many of which dove-tailed with scouting. The latest version of DTG is nothing like the old one. Maybe you know of efforts high up to come up with a program similar to scouts. To me, it wouldn't take an hour of sitting down and thinking things through a little, and we could easily incorporate scouting's positives into a new DTG approach. Making the budgets per capita and allowing some better degree of fundraising should take care of the rest. (And yes, I know some affluent wards will take trips to Hawaii, but so be it. They will be the rare exception, not the rule.)


Sparsile said...

“A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects.” (Robert A. Heinlein)