If you have been reading my blog messages over the past few weeks you should see the hierarchical structure that inspired men of the Lord have put in place to support you in your Scouting and Aaronic Priesthood callings.
The Scoutmaster, the Varsity Coach, and the Venturing Advisor and their assistants support the boys. The Scouting committee, the bishopric, COR, and stake Young Men presidency support the adult leaders. The stake presidency and high council representatives support the stake Young Men presidency and the bishoprics in the stake.
The stake president ought to be the “chief Scout executive” for the stake. As such, he needs to have a clear vision of what Scouting can do to strengthen the young men within the stake boundaries. He—and his counselors—should lead the way by setting an example of Scouting leadership for the stake Young Men presidency, bishoprics, ward Young Men presidencies, and adult Scouting leaders throughout the stake.
The stake presidency should be trained in Scouting. Hopefully they have attended the Priesthood Leadership Conference on Scouting at Philmont and are Wood Badge trained. If so, they would wear their Scouting uniform proudly and set an example for the adult Scouting leaders in their stake. They also would be actively involved in the BSA local council and the stake president would regularly attend the local council’s LDS-BSA relationships committee meetings (see upcoming Mac’s Message #43).
“The stake presidency may assign high councilors who have assignments relating to the Aaronic Priesthood and Primary to meet as an Aaronic Priesthood committee to discuss Scouting-related matters (see Handbook 2: Administering the Church , 15.3.2). These high councilors register with the BSA as assistant district commissioners. They receive appropriate BSA training, participate in the monthly district commissioner meetings, and work closely with the district commissioner and unit commissioners in their stake” (LDS Scouting Handbook, 3.2).
Please note that the high council representatives register with the BSA as assistant district commissioners (ADCs). An ADC oversees the unit commissioners, who, you may recall from last week’s message, typically are members of the stake Young Men presidency and stake Primary presidency. As “overseers,” the high council representatives assist the stake presidency in training the stake Young Men presidency and bishoprics on how to achieve the purposes of the Aaronic Priesthood through quorum and Scouting activities.
Ideally the high council representatives should be Philmont and Wood Badge trained, but at the very least should complete leader position-specific training as soon as possible after being called. Training for ADCs includes both Commissioner Basic Training (for unit commissioners) and District Commissioner and ADC Basic Training. As ADCs should also be active in council and district activities. The high council representatives should participate in district meetings and roundtables. These priesthood leaders help the stake presidency set the expectations for Scouting in the stake, teach leaders how to properly implement the Scouting program, and hold leaders accountable for faithfully fulfilling their Scouting and Aaronic Priesthood stewardship responsibilities.
As with all who are called to priesthood leadership positions over the Lord’s Young Men, hopefully the stake presidency and high council representatives have a fervent, personal testimony of Scouting in the Church. Hopefully they are pillars of strength and examples of righteous leadership in a program of the Church that is often weak. Most important, hopefully they have a clear vision of what Scouting can do to accomplish the purposes of the Aaronic Priesthood. For “where there is no vision, the people perish” (Proverbs 29:18).
Take a Moment to Reflect
- Is the stake president acting like a “chief Scout executive” for the stake?
- Have the stake presidency and high council representatives attended the LDS Priesthood Leadership Conference at Philmont and are they Wood Badge trained?
- Does the stake presidency have a vision for Scouting in the stake?
- Are the high council representatives serving as assistant district commissioners and have they been properly trained in their ADC role?
- Are the stake presidency and high council representatives providing the training needed, including Little Philmont experiences, to properly support the Scouting and Aaronic Priesthood leaders in the stake?
Turn Your Reflection Into Action
- What will you start doing, stop doing, or do better as a result of your reflection?
“Incline your ear, and come unto me: hear, and your soul shall live . . . . Behold, I have given [the stake president] for a witness to the people, a leader and commander to the people” (Isaiah 55:3-4).
-Mac McIntire is a dedicated Scouter who has blessed many lives through his service and acute understanding of the Scouting program. He currently lives in Las Vegas, Nevada. The views and opinions expressed in this message are solely those of the author.