Let’s look at the priests’ quorums and the Venturing program using the Learn-Act-Share model of teaching and learning. Instead of my writing a lot of things down and such, I want each of you to ponder on the following questions and ideas. Remember, this is your program to strengthen your young men. Ready? Let’s begin:
- As a background check for all of us—what are the greatest “needs” (note that I state needs not wants—there is a difference) and challenges of your priest-age young men? These needs may not be just Church related. Please look at the whole man as you consider this question.
- What is your vision for these young men? What is the vision of the bishopric? What about the ward Young Men presidency? What about the adult Venturing Advisors? Have you thought to include the feelings and vision of the parents?
- As you learn about the Venturing program and its relationship to the priests’ quorum you find out quickly that it’s all about “Doing” and not “Sitting”. With that doing–think activities (high adventure, doing hard things, service, etc.) and then plan to incorporate them into your program:
- Youth led, interest driven, service centered and developmentally appropriate activities for your young men (don’t think about others—center on your young men).
- Work to incorporate spiritual purposes (yes, both overtly and covertly) such as missionary preparation, quorum service, self-reliance, scripture study, and building resilience and personal growth.
- Work to truly empower these young men by providing true leadership skills development activities.
- Don’t go soft on these young men. Challenge them! Do those hard things (This does not have to be only physical. Think emotional, spiritual, and mental) that they shy away from in daily activities. Let the young men mentor and serve their peers.
- It’s not all up to you. You can (and should) work to utilize caring ward members and neighbors as mentors and consultants. These young men will grow up to be holders of the Melchizedek Priesthood—why not look to utilize your elders’ quorum presidency as a resource.
- Don’t forget to utilize “post-activity” reflections following all of your activities.
- The Church is continually building a teaching methodology that is geared around the manner of the Savior’s teachings entitled “Come Follow Me.” This is a resource that should be closely studied and reviewed by all adults involved in Venturing & the Aaronic Priesthood in a ward and stake.
- Let’s start off with building up resources and capable adults (both male and female) who can provide ongoing support, instruction, and encouragement to your young men. Work to use the Venturing PCI (Program Capability Inventory) as a resource.
- Make all activities “High Quality” events. Don’t slide by. Every activity deserves to be excellent and ranked as a “10.”
- Work towards real growth. How will you measure this? That’s up to you and your young men.
- Look to the “Purposes of the Aaronic Priesthood” for guidance and direction.
- Use Scriptures as a guiding tool (D&C 4, & D&C 20:46-52)
- Use the Church’s missionary guide (Preach My Gospel) as a tool to build spiritual maturity. The key here is to “use” not just read.
- Doing ones duty to God is not a program—it is a continual process of action.
- You are not alone (as an adult or a youth). In the Church you have the ability to share your thoughts, impressions, inspirational promptings, and such with others as you deem necessary and helpful. Don’t forget to go to your Heavenly Father in simple and heartfelt prayer and supplication for guidance.
- The priests quorum is a quorum of peers who (when truly given the chance) want to help each other grow. Be willing to share with these youth.
- Write down how you are going to personalize the Venturing program to fully interact with your priests quorum.
- Venturing is not a secret. It’s just not really understood by many people. As you work to build a unity of effort between your quorum and the crew, don’t forget to include (i.e. share) the parents and guardians of these young men.
Is this easy? Nope. But, as you truly incorporate Learning, Acting, and Sharing within your crew and quorum you will begin to find out that with this unity of effort between the Church and Scouting your priest age young men will begin to develop into men with strong moral character, great missionaries, husbands and fathers. It’s the synergy of the system (Church & Scouting) working towards the overall growth of your young men.
-David Wilson has been actively involved in Venturing since its inception back in the ’90’s. He is dedicated to working on strengthening the bridges and removing the walls that occur between the Church and the BSA for the older young men in the Church. David continues to work to bless and serve through his involvement in multiple levels of Venturing (from national to the local council). He currently calls Orem, Utah home. The views and opinions expressed in this message are solely those of the author.