For Parents

Why should my son be a Lutheran Pioneer?

What To Teach Your Kids Before They Leave Home

The Pioneer Program is so much more than just a group of boys that go camping—in fact, some Pioneer groups don’t even camp. Pioneers is a program that prepares our boys for adulthood. Pioneers teach our boys Leadership, Practical Skills, Organizational Skills, and Social Skills, all from a Christian perspective. Most importantly we teach that Jesus is our Lord and Savior. In today’s world, the Pioneer program is more important than the day it started. Even among our fellow believers, divorce, and single-parent families are at an all-time high. Leadership and life skills are lacking not only in our children but also in adults.

Marilyn vos Savant is an American magazine columnist, author, lecturer, and playwright who rose to fame through her listing in the Guinness Book of World Records under “Highest IQ.” She is billed as the person with the highest IQ ever recorded, 228, and that score was recorded when she was ten years old. Since 1986 she has written “Ask Marilyn,” a Parade magazine Sunday column where she solves puzzles and answers questions on various subjects.

One of her famous quotes is: “To acquire knowledge, one must study; but to acquire wisdom, one must observe.” If you have ever read Marilyn’s column, you will find her to be a wise person, with intelligent, common sense advice, advice that makes a lot of sense.

The following is a portion of an article that appeared in Parade Magazine…

“What To Teach Your Kids Before They Leave Home”

It would be great if by 18 every young person could do the following:

Domestic Skills

  • Cook (don’t just open and pour!) a traditional breakfast, lunch and dinner
    (Pioneer Program Material  – Cooking & Cooking in the Home)
  • Wash and iron clothes without ruining them (plus, removing spots).
    Pioneer Program Material Clothing)
  • Replace a button, baste a fallen hem and polish your own shoes.
    (Pioneer Program Material Clothing)
  • Extra Credit: Make a loaf of bread (without a machine) or bake a cake from scratch.
    (Pioneer Program Material  – Cooking in the Home)

Survival Skills

  • Know basic first aid and maintain a complete first-aid kit.
    (Pioneer Program Material  – First Aid)
  • Know what to do if you get sick, especially if you’re alone.
    (Pioneer Program Material  – First Aid)
  • Know when to defend yourself; then know how to be effective.
  • Extra Credit: Know CPR.  The life you save may be your father’s or mother’s.

(Reprinted with permission from “Parade”, Sunday, March 25, 2001, Marilyn Vos Savant)

Physical Skills

  • Throw and catch balls of all sizes without breaking your fingers.
  • Swim half a mile; tread water for half an hour and float for an hour.
    (Pioneer Program Material  – Swimming & Water Safety)
  • Ride a bike with confidence.
    (Pioneer Program Material  – Cycling)
  • Extra Credit: Be able to get a kite up in the air, keep it there and bring it back down in one piece.

Handyman Skills

  • Hang a picture straight without making extra holes in the wall.
    (Pioneer Program Material  – Home Repairs and Carpentry)
  • Paint neatly, including cleaning up the mess.
    (Pioneer Program Material  – Home Repairs and Carpentry)
  • Know which tools perform what functions and how to use them around the house.
    (Pioneer Program Material  – Home Repairs and Carpentry)
  • Extra Credit: Sharpen a knife without cutting yourself.
    (Pioneer Program Material  – Camp Tools)

Outdoor Skills

  • Hike with friends all day without getting lost, bitten or covered with a rash.
    (Pioneer Program Material  – Hiking and Backpacking)
  • Bait a hook, catch a fish, reel it in, remove the hook, then clean and cook the fish.
    (Pioneer Program Material  – Fishing)
  • Plan and manage a weekend camping trip with friends.
    (Pioneer Program Material  – Camping Sites & Equipment)
  • Extra Credit: Know enough about the wildlife in your area to recognize and feel like a friend to the animals.
    (Pioneer Program Material  – Awareness of the Environment)

Practical Skills

  • Type well with both hands in the normal manner.
  • Set up your own computer system without help from anyone.
  • Drive a car, including one with a manual transmission, and maintain it properly.
  • Extra Credit: Change a flat tire.

Organizational Skills

  • Create a budget. Note: It takes longer to earn money than to spend it.
    (Pioneer Program Material  – Budgeting)
  • Balance a checkbook manually, even if you bank online.
    (Pioneer Program Material  – Budgeting)
  • Maintain an address book and a personal appointment calendar
  • Extra Credit: Set up a filing system to keep all of the paperwork in your life in one place.

Social Skills

  • Carry on a conversation for 15 minutes with a person you don’t know.
    (Pioneer Program Material  – Etiquette)
  • Speak before a small group of friends for a few minutes.
  • Tell a joke well enough so that everybody gets it and maybe even laughs.
  • Extra Credit: Learn enough ballroom dancing so you can have fun at parties. (Trust me on this one!)

Artistic Skills

  • Draw an illustration at least well enough to get your point across.
  • Have enough confidence to sing aloud, even when everyone else can hear you.
  • Know how to play a musical instrument well enough to enjoy playing in a group.
  • Extra Credit: Learn to take a decent photograph, so you won’t be disappointed later when it’s developed.  For example, you can’t shoot fireworks with a flash!
    (Pioneer Program Material  – Photography)

Human Skills

  • Care for a dog, cat or other animal, including when it’s sick.
    (Pioneer Program Material  – Pets and Pet Care
  • Babysit for children ranging in age from 6 months to 6 years.
  • Aid elderly or handicapped people without looking superior.
    (Pioneer Program Material  – Etiquette)
  • Extra Credit: Help a person in need without exposing either one of you to danger.

Orientation Skills

  • Get around town on a bus, even if you usually walk or drive.
    (Pioneer Program Material  – Urban Survival
  • Read a map, including road maps.
    (Pioneer Program Material  – Mapping)
  • Know what to do if you find yourself in a bad neighborhood.
    (Pioneer Program Material  – Urban Survival)
  • Extra Credit: Know which direction is north, south, east and west (without a compass) whenever you’re outside.
    (Pioneer Program Material  – Compass)

Recreation Skills

  • Play a team sport instead of just watching.
  • Maintain a fitness regimen.
  • Learn a game (like bridge or chess) you can play with friends for life.
  • Extra Credit: Know how to ride a horse, handle a boat or enjoy a snow sport.

Wow, how many adults can do the things Marilyn talks about? How do our kids learn these things?

We as pioneers seek to grow in our knowledge of our Lord and His creation. We develop our God-given abilities and skills so we can better serve our Lord and fellow human beings.

Proverbs 4:11-13 says, “I guide you in the way of wisdom and lead you along the straight paths.  When you walk, your steps will not be hampered; when you run you will not stumble.  Hold on to instruction, do not let it go; guard it well for it is your life.”

Most of what Marilyn tells us “kids should learn before they turn 18” is taught within the Pioneer Program. But most importantly, the boys are taught that God loves them, and he sent his dear Son Jesus to save us from our sins. This is taught through all the skills we teach.

Can you think of any program that teaches the number of unique skills Marilyn talks about? Can you think of any better program that is able to train the future leaders of our Families and our Churches the way Pioneers can.?

We hope and pray that you now understand that Pioneers is so much more than just a group of boys that go camping. We hope and pray that you will encourage people in your church to get involved in Pioneers, or start a Pioneer Program. And lastly we hope and pray that you Parents will understand the importance of this program to your boys and get involved yourself.

Thank you,
The Pioneer Leadership Team