When my grandchildren showed up Friday, 5-year-old Goody carried a jack-o-lantern made from a roll of toilet paper which I thought she had made in kindergarten. She told me her 9-year-old sister, Gymmi, had made it at Primary activity day. I looked at the roll of toilet paper covered with orange tissue paper, black triangles pasted on for a face. I thought about what Gymmi’s brother did during Cub Scout meetings. Cub Scouts experiment with building electric circuit boards. They build bird feeders, twist twine into ropes, tie knots, make stoves from tin cans, cook food over their stove creations, and take nature hikes to identify plants. They do not do kindergarten-level craft projects.
That is why, when the ward Scoutmaster showed up at my door collecting for Friends of Scouting, I declined to donate. “I have two problems with the BSA. First, too much of the money goes for high salaries to BSA officers and executives. Very little of the money the ward raises on this drive will go to our local troop. Second, the Church does not have an equivalent program for the girls.”
I wish my granddaughters could participate in Girl Scouts. Their mother would like them to, but the family is so highly scheduled with Church activities, little time is left for outside enrichment. My recommendation, were I asked, would be to replace activity days with a more purposeful interest or program. Devout Mormons, of course, feel a need to “support the program,” whether it benefits them or not.
The problem with supporting an inferior program is that it promotes mediocrity. Why improve something that is obviously successful because people show up for it? But I digress. The real issue is that programs for Mormon girls are supported with a fraction of the money and effort expended on the Boy Scout program.