Sunday, August 1, 2010

New Calling: Young Men's 1st Counselor

I was sustained and set apart today in my new calling. Officially, the calling is actually three callings: 1st Counselor to the Young Men's President, Assistant Varsity Scout Coach, and Teachers Quorum Advisor.

The first one means that I'm supposed to provide counsel to the president of the Young Men's, who is also new in his calling. He's been in the program for a while, though, having been moved from being the 2nd counselor to being the president. He also just happens to be an ex-stake president, and has had plenty of boys in the program -- he's well-qualified. In practice, though, it mostly means that I am to teach the boys, all of whom are between 14 and 16 years of age, during Sunday meetings. I am also supposed to encourage them in their Duty to God program, which is currently being revamped.

The second one means that I'm supposed to help the Varsity Scout Coach, the adult leader of the boys during the weekday activities that they have. This particular age group is in between as far as scouting is concerned: old enough that many of them are already Eagle Scouts, but young enough to still be interested. Even better, they're old enough to do a lot of the "high adventure" stuff. In fact, the boys just got back from hiking along the rim of Zion's Canyon, which was an amazing experience for all of them, apparently. (I'm not sad I couldn't go, but instead I'm totally excited to go on their next excursion with them! Probably snow camping ... yeah, call me crazy.)

The third one means that I'm responsible for ensuring that the boys "learn their duty" in their priesthood office of being a "teacher". This means I need to ensure they know how to properly prepare the sacrament, go home teaching, provide service to those in need, and perform their old responsibilities as deacons when called upon to do so. It also means I need to mentor the boys, particularly the leaders, to teach them how to run meetings, organize themselves, plan their activities, uplift each other within the quorum, and to prepare to become priests.

Hmmm, looking at these previous paragraphs, it looks rather daunting. But I'm not really nervous. My two assistants in the quorum have been in there for a while and they know the boys and have good relationships with them. While I'm technically in charge, they are both good men and I expect that we will work together to do whatever is needed to help these boys.

For me, though, I'm most excited about two things:

1) I get to teach the boys as often as I want. Totally fun.

2) I get to go on their "high adventure" excursions. Also totally fun.

In my old calling, I often would sit with these boys and visit with them while they waited to meet with the bishop or his counselors for their six-month interviews. I have had conversations with every one of them, and while I wouldn't say that I am close "friends" with any of them (okay, maybe a few on Facebook ...), I know them by name and know somewhat of their personalities.

I really do love the scouting program. Some of the things they do, I think, are rather silly, particularly at camps and all the stuff they do trying to amp up the boys with scouting "spirit". Even so, I earned my Eagle Scout when I was 15 (thanks, Mom!) and absolutely loved all the campouts and excursions we'd go on. I have great memories of being with the other boys and hiking and freezing to death at night and getting swamped in canoes and making fire -- lots of fire. My scoutmaster was a retired marine, so didn't suffer teenage belligerence -- he was tough as nails, but treated us with respect and, most of the time, like adults. At least, that's how I remember it. Fond memories.

So, now I'm on the other end. I always figured that I'd be a scout leader someday, but I never knew when or how. Now, I know. And now I'm going to be on the receiving end of youthful hyperactivity, inattention, and just plain stupidness. It should be fun!

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