Church is Partially Pulling Out of Scouts

The Church announced today that it’s pulling out of scouts for all the 14 and older boys. So no more Eagle Scout projects. Overall I think that a positive thing. Trying to do both young men [i]and[/i] scouts is pretty hard. Plus my son admittedly doesn’t like scouts too much. I have to drag him to scouts every week. (He’s 12 so this doesn’t affect him yet)

Those already working towards Eagle Scout can continue. The change doesn’t take effect until January.

According to the Church the pull out had nothing to do with LGBT issues the BSA has been dealing with.

Thoughts? Do you see this as a good thing or a bad thing? Might this be a sign of a broader pullout to come?

55 comments for “Church is Partially Pulling Out of Scouts

  1. May 11, 2017 at 9:32 am

    Yes, it is a sign of a broader pullout to come.

    But it’s not as broad a pullout now as you make it seem. It is the Varsity and Venturing programs we are pulling out of. Even in wards that took scouting seriously, I’ve never seen one take either of those two programs seriously. Older boys who were still interested in advancement worked on merit badges; others worked on Duty-to-God stuff. And going forward, all interested boys will continue to be registered in Boy Scouts and will be able to advance to Eagle, not just those currently registered and not just until January.

  2. RMM
    May 11, 2017 at 9:34 am

    Such good news. For too long too many had been worshipping at the altar of Boy Scouts, and it was injuring many of our youth, particularly those living outside the Mormon corridor, since in many places the Scouting program was barely functional, let alone for those older than 14. Anecdotally, even inside the Mormon corridor, few places had a functional program for the Young Men after age 14, and it’s been the case for more than fifty years.

    Young Women kept functioning through age 18 with camps and activities, but not the Young Men. In my ward and others, the divided structure within the youth organization compromised effective planning and divided scarce resources too thin.

    Hopefully this will invigorate a new reassessment of the needs of our Young Men by the wards and stakes and lead to better ways to help our youth feel themselves part of the community that is such an important part of Mormonism, and not attempt to divide their loyalties with another organization that may or may not serve their needs, and has additionally become a political pawn.

    Question. Will the church universities stop asking if their male applicants are an Eagle Scout, and if so, how soon?

  3. MH
    May 11, 2017 at 9:35 am

    This is a very confusing story to me. It announces that the Church isn’t participating in Varsity and Venture Scouts anymore, but in all my experience I didn’t know that the Church participated in those programs at all: I thought it was just Boy Scouts up to 18, and the two V programs were things on the side. I’ve known no LDS Scouts in Varsity or Venture Scouts. Couldn’t the Church simply continue with Boy Scouts through age 18?

    (Also, it seems very weird that the assumption would be that Boy Scouts would only go until age 14. It seems very Utah-centric; in my Midwest home congregation, getting an Eagle award before age 18 was rare.)

  4. Eric Russell
    May 11, 2017 at 9:39 am

    Clark, I don’t understand the comment about no more Eagle Scout projects. The church is no longer participating in Varsity and Venture scouting, but Boy Scouts continues. Any scouts who want to get Eagle will have to do an Eagle Scout project, regardless of their age.

    I’d say that for 99% of all 14-18 year olds, this will have no impact at all. I just don’t think very many units in the country were actually formally participating in either program in the first place. The only real impact is going to be saving some money on V&V unit registration.

  5. Eliza
    May 11, 2017 at 9:39 am

    This is fantstic news. The Church, while well-intentioned, simply was not doing a good job of implementing these programs. They are high committment programs for both the leaders and the boys and it just wasn’t working. I think this is most certainly a single steo towarda full withdrawl from BSA. It is likely we will eliminate all Boy Scout programming with a couple years with Cub Scouts to follow thereafter. Phasing the withdrawl in this way allows the Church to develop alternate programs, prepares the BSA organization for the significant drop in revenue and allows the Church to co tinue the narratove that these changes are not in any way motivated by the socially progressive changes the BSA has made and continues to explore. Whatever the timeline, I look forward to the day when the Church comoletely separates youth programs from BSA.

  6. Rob Osborn
    May 11, 2017 at 9:47 am

    As a previous varsity leader and current scoutmaster I am not surprised. The varsity and venturing programs werent doing any good, kind of a waste. Its good to see this. The hard part now is that the scouting program can no longer be saw as the activity arm of the priesthood. This is going to have negative effects that create a discombobulation in the YM program overall. Not sure how this is going to work at all. It effects everything from chartering, to scout committees not to say the least the effect it will have on boys approaching 14 years of age and not close enough to get Eagle will not want to go on. My guess is that it will take some time for the church to see these effects but will move rather quickly within the next few years to establish an entire new program for all the young men groups and pull them out of the BSA and then in turn create a new program for the 8-11 year olds and completely pull out of the BSA altogether. These next coupke of years will be trying to say the least.

  7. Dave B.
    May 11, 2017 at 9:55 am

    Here is a helpful Q&A at the Newsroom. The pullout is not quite as severe as initially indicated.

    http://www.mormonnewsroom.org/article/questions-answers-changes-young-men-program

  8. John Mansfield
    May 11, 2017 at 10:02 am

    I don’t see this as any kind of pull back from scouting. What it is a pull back from is requiring a segregation of scouting activities by Aaronic priesthood quorum, which I am glad for.

  9. Marcus
    May 11, 2017 at 10:10 am

    Not sure where the Deseret News go this, but check out this quote from their article: “The church said Thursday it is working toward programs to replace Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts.”

  10. John Mansfield
    May 11, 2017 at 10:20 am

    OK, I wish to take back my last comment. After reading the KSL report and First Presidency letter, it sounded like the Young Men were going to keep doing what they have been doing, but without the Varsity and Venture names. The newsroom Q&A linked by Dave B., however, sounds like this is a move away from scouting. The previous policy was “Where Scouting is authorized by the Church, young men ages 12 to 15 should be registered. Young men ages 16 and 17 should be registered if they are pursuing rank advancements or if the stake president or bishop chooses to sponsor Scouting programs for young men of this age.” The new policy as stated doesn’t sound so different from what we are already doing, but the Q&A indicates a desire to move away from scouting.

  11. Left Field
    May 11, 2017 at 10:31 am

    It seems like no change at all, except no longer chartering Teams and Crews, which few wards did anyway in my experience.

  12. May 11, 2017 at 10:42 am

    I’ve been hoping to see Boy Scouts go away for a good 20 years, so I’m going to take this as a possible first step that I’m happy about.

  13. Clark Goble
    May 11, 2017 at 10:46 am

    Interesting that the newsroom attributes this in part to making women and men more equal in program.

    No, this is not the global program, but an important step that addresses an immediate need. Varsity and Venturing programs have been difficult to run effectively on a local level. The Church continues to work toward developing a program for young men and young women globally.

    So they’ve definitely been listening to complaints. The DN article suggests a pullout for younger boys might be coming too, although the newsroom seems to indicate the opposite. Still, it’s hard to imagine scouts will be there 5 years from now.

  14. May 11, 2017 at 11:06 am

    I’ve known of wards which did scouts for 14+ year olds, but I’ve never been in one. Given that the church puts adults in charge of the Young Men, who usually don’t like Scouting; it’s not surprising that we don’t do 14+ year old Scouting well. The church can get the 11 – 13 year old leaders to do Scouting, regardless of how much they want to do it; but not greater than that.
    For myself, it’s frustrating to go to Scouting training and learn that a troop is supposed to consist of 11 – 17 year olds, and the 11 and 12 year olds look up to and interact with the 16 and 17 year olds. And this just does not happen in the church.
    It’s good to see that the church realized that we were just never going to do 14+ year old Scouting right, and might as well focus on something we can do right.

  15. IDIAT
    May 11, 2017 at 11:19 am

    In my experience (mission field in the US) the Varsity and Venturing programs were barely functional, and YM leaders for boys 14 – 18 have largely planned Mutual activities without too much regard to scouting,didn’t actively participate in BSA training, district round tables, etc. Boys who were working on Eagle were individually guided and helped after age 14 so they could achieve Eagle if they really wanted it. My only concern — as it has been for 25 years of working with and around YM — is whether YM leaders will step up their efforts to be more organized and creative when it comes to Mutual night activities. At the basic scouting level, it’s easy to fill the calendar. Pick a merit badge and work on it. However, with broad organizational topics for boys 14 and up, I’m worried leaders will revert to sports every Mutual night. I’ve struggled with planning Mutual night activities, trying to do things that all the boys in the quorum would be interested in. Even with input from the boys it can really be a challenge. However, it can be done, and if most YM leaders would just keep at least a 3 month running calendar, things would go much smoother.

  16. acw
    May 11, 2017 at 11:23 am

    Eagles are still a possibility–and our ward really encourages them to finish by the end of deacons already. Deseret News article about YM/Scout leader Charles Dahlquist: “He senses the change will result in a bigger push for young men to get their Eagle Scout award by age 14. ‘They’ve got three years — they can do it. They can do hard things,’ said Dahlquist, acknowledging the push from mothers by quipping ‘the mothers of Eagle Scouts have steel-toed boots.’”

  17. John Mansfield
    May 11, 2017 at 11:27 am

    From the Washington Post’s article on this: “Effie Delimarkos, a spokeswoman for Boy Scouts of America, said that 130,000 boys ages 14 to 18 participate in Varsity and Venturing through Mormon Church troops, making up more than 5 percent of the Boy Scouts’ 2.3 million youth members. The Mormon Church is the Boy Scouts’ largest partner — about 20 percent of Boy Scouts are Mormon.”

    So, if I’m reading that right, currently the LDS units have about 460,000 boys registered with BSA, and less than a third of those are registered with Varsity or Venture units.

  18. Clark Goble
    May 11, 2017 at 11:29 am

    And I wonder how many of those registered really do much.

  19. Anonymous
    May 11, 2017 at 11:51 am

    Many years ago as a teenage boy I had Church youth leaders who did an amazing job with our ward’s Venture scouting program. We did a lot of great activities throughout the year, and we went on yearly summer high adventure activities that lasted a week or more.

    I have since learned that not all wards do as much as we did. I’m glad I was able to participate in what I did as a boy, but I understand that not all youth leaders are able to do what we did.

    I’m glad the church is always trying to improve, and is willing to revise its programs. I think it’s only a matter of time before the church and scouting part ways entirely. Many activists in “the wicked world” seem intent on destroying scouting, or forcing it to change from the great thing it used to be.

  20. Pete
    May 11, 2017 at 11:51 am

    IDIAT,

    My only concern — as it has been for 25 years of working with and around YM — is whether YM leaders will step up their efforts to be more organized and creative when it comes to Mutual night activities. At the basic scouting level, it’s easy to fill the calendar. Pick a merit badge and work on it. However, with broad organizational topics for boys 14 and up, I’m worried leaders will revert to sports every Mutual night. I’ve struggled with planning Mutual night activities, trying to do things that all the boys in the quorum would be interested in. Even with input from the boys it can really be a challenge.

    The YW have been dealing with this for decades. Some activities are planned around the Personal Progress program (which could easily be adapted for YM), but the majority of activities consisted of makeover nights, baking cookies, crafts or planning.

  21. Happy Hubby
    May 11, 2017 at 3:10 pm

    As mentioned many times, the Varsity and Venturing programs were not really implemented. If you ask most 14-18 young men they may not even be able to name them.

    But one thing that isn’t clear is if a boy reaches 14, can he pay to stay in the BSA troop to finish his eagle. It is rare to get an Eagle by 14 and I wouldn’t be surprised if the BSA makes it a bit harder to do in the coming years. I have long wished that they would put an age limit as every kid I saw get his eagle before 14 (and I have had a half dozen or so over the years – usually about 1 in 10 of those getting eagle rank) they had a parent that pushed the heck out of the kid and I don’t think they get as much out of it as they “just get out of it” and are glad to be done and have their parents off their backs.

  22. May 11, 2017 at 3:30 pm

    I’m not sure I understand the thrust of your comment, Mogget.

  23. May 11, 2017 at 3:54 pm

    Great news. Now perhaps the young men will say “We are sons of Heavenly Father who loves us and we love Him…” instead of “A scout is trustworthy, loyal, friendly…”

  24. Chet
    May 11, 2017 at 5:34 pm

    Now I just hope we can retire the quote from ETB about the eternal value of the Eagle Scout award.

  25. ji
    May 11, 2017 at 5:51 pm

    Scouting provided an alternative to mediocrity for those few ward Young Men and fewer stake Young Men leaders who were willing to do something. Now, I suppose it will be mediocrity for everyone. If YM leaders weren’t willing to connect and engage and do something before, why should we think they’ll start now?

  26. Clark Goble
    May 11, 2017 at 6:01 pm

    JI, if there’s mediocracy it’s the people running the programs more than the programs themselves. I think for many people scouts is a bit of a mystery — especially if they didn’t grow up in a ward with a scouting program. (There were no scouts when I grew up as part of the ward — I did a local scout program and it was very different from what the Church does)

  27. Mortimer
    May 11, 2017 at 7:08 pm

    1) When I heard that the disparity of $ resources for YW was a contributing factor, I threw up a little in my mouth. That’s complete hooey and we all know it. It’s a happy coincidence they were willing to cite, nothing else.

    2) Dalquist is right, mothers who earn their son’s eagles between ages 12-14 do a lot of work! Seriously, Eagle Projects done by middle school students don’t compare with varsity projects. Pushing kids to get Eagles a(or YW Recognition Awards) at 12 completely negates the value of the program as speed is sacrificed for depth and pattern-building (a.k.a. character-building).

    3) Come on poo-poo’ing blogernaccle commentators- admit it– there are a handful of spectacular LDS varsity troops that churn out freakin’ Sons of Heleman!!! They instill values, develop character and ultimately testimony. I admit that I’ve also seen horrible troops and abysmal scout leaders that drove kids away from the church.

    4) This may be SLC’s attempt to allow local wards to customize their offerings depending on their resources/talent. Sadly, I think the saying and expectation that “the church is the same everywhere you go” is going to be a psychological barrier for any type of local customization. Sadly, this is a death-knell for those programs that were working as they saints implement in black and white.

    5) Home grown programs won’t be as robust or as versatile for YM. While I may put down ‘Eagle Scout’ on a college application, I would never put down ‘Laurel Camp Crafter- Level 4’ or “Young Women Recognition Award”. Neither will any YM list he received whatever new program they come up with on his college/work application.

  28. Mortimer
    May 11, 2017 at 7:48 pm

    The reason scouting is failing is not because it takes time or money or skilled leaders or because this group is better than that. It’s failing for the same reasons that Masons and Elks Lodges and the Grange have failed- people don’t value communal service or service-learning organizations. The values that underline scouting are no longer valued by the community. (So says Robert D. Putnam). Sports takes a significant amount of time, money, and it requires skilled coaches. Yet no one is complaining about soccer! Where are the complaints that soccer or band or AP classes take too much time? Cost too much? Have to be cancelled (not improved, but cancelled) because the leaders aren’t good enough?

    Admit it, yet another communal program was de-prioritized. We don’t care about service-learning or doing things together. Everyone wants to do his/her own thing for mostly selfish reasons. Why would a young person spend a few hours blazing a park trail, planting trees he may never sit under the shade to enjoy, or cleaning up some widow’s lawn with his troop when he could be improving his physique or working toward that scholarship?

    RS went through this about two decades ago. They cancelled regular enrichment or homemaking meetings. The RS said that the sisters complained that they simply didn’t have time any more. Bull crap. There have always been 24 hours in a day, you just choose to spend them differently. I wear a lot of hats as a busy working woman, wife, mother, but unlike my great-great-great grandmother, my very life and my children’s lives aren’t dependent on how much I was able to work – which translated into how many crops I was able to grow. Yet she still built her RS, supported local and international relief efforts, built temple interiors, and spent time with fellow sisters, children and youth.

    Sadly, we’ve convinced ourselves that we just don’t want to participate in ‘community’. Women for ages have gathered together to ##### and stitch, to support and mentor each other. In groups they solved problems and strategized how to navigate a chauvinistic society. Today we have opted to forgo that support structure and live life in relative isolation.

    Sure, we can shut down our century-old community programs. It is our choice. Building Zion is about self-sufficiency anyway, right? As long as we take care of ourselves we’re being great Christians. (Eye roll.) Let’s focus on “us”. Perhaps the YM can borrow the YW’s motto of “me! me! me!” a.k.a “PERSONAL progress”. Gen-next needs more “me-focused” things anyway, right?

    I don’t think we really know what we’re giving up when we walk away from community. In walking away from each other, we’re walking away from Zion.

  29. Old Man
    May 11, 2017 at 8:44 pm

    Mortimer,
    My take is different than yours. I have interacted with thousands of youth in my long teaching career at a Utah high school and never met a “son of Helaman” churned out by BSA. I have met many, many great young men and women produced by families. I have met great young men trained in the truly inspired program for YM: the Aaronic Priesthood. The “Eagle Scout” has not been valued that much on college applications in decades (I know many admissions counselors). What do they want to see? Specific instances of service and leadership. I have written many letters of recommendation for young ladies who have phenomenal examples of this through the YW program and other community projects.

  30. greendavis2016
    May 11, 2017 at 9:44 pm

    A third take: I am hoping that this will move will eventually lead to a more gender neutral program that combines Personal Progress and YM’s current Duty to God program. The Primary Faith in God program works well (or it would, if the boys didn’t have the competing Cub Scout program to get in the way) at providing a mostly gender neutral program with half a dozen variables to allow for priesthood prep for the boys or YW prep for the girls. I’d love to see Personal Progress get an update and hopefully do away with the silly values and some repetitive goals. A program that both YM/YW participate in would be mean combined activities could help both groups “pass off” a requirement together. Fingers crossed we can get their before my youngest (5 yo) hits 12.

  31. Mortimer
    May 12, 2017 at 8:01 am

    Old Man,
    It’s true, Eagle Scout awards are not respected at some colleges, are respected at others. I’ve seen anti-LDS employers (in Utah) weed out LDS applicants who identify themselves as LDS by listing a mission or an Eagle. On the other hand, these things are “pluses” when applying to church schools or LDS or scout-friendly employers. You have to do your research and customize your applications.

    I don’t know anyone who respects “camp crafter” certification. If YW can cite to specific examples of service instead of the ultimate award, certainly scouts can also describe their projects without referencing the award. The difference between the two programs is that scouting is much more structured, requires a higher level of leadership, includes a higher level of adult review, has always been based on service, and requires that the applicant formally assess and articulates the outcomes. The YW project is much more of a time stamp with “personal reflection” being prioritized above actual measured outcomes and a non-questioning signature being the final “review”. Self-focused projects used to be (and still may be) acceptable. If I had a nickel for every Laurel who sewed her own prom dress as her final project…

    I’m glad that you’ve see many note-worthy YW service projects.

  32. Clark Goble
    May 12, 2017 at 9:51 am

    When I heard that the disparity of $ resources for YW was a contributing factor, I threw up a little in my mouth. That’s complete hooey and we all know it. It’s a happy coincidence they were willing to cite, nothing else.

    I’m not so skeptical. I think they really are concerned about that. Some wards do much better here than others. The local scout camp for instance allows Activity Days to bring girls to do exactly the same activities (shooting, archery, crafts, boating) that the Cub Scouts do. My daughter absolutely loved it.

    Many tend to think the brethren don’t listen but I think they listen more than we think. People just get annoyed at the rate of change or their not implementing the changes they want.

    The “Eagle Scout” has not been valued that much on college applications in decades (I know many admissions counselors). What do they want to see? Specific instances of service and leadership.

    Isn’t that a problem of how the resume or application is written since an Eagle Scout project usually requires service and working with various groups/agencies. Maybe ones that are independent like “clean up this lot” won’t work as well. But I’d imagine doing an Eagle Scout project would help a lot.

  33. Old Man
    May 12, 2017 at 9:22 pm

    Hi Clark,
    Yes, you are correct. We’ve found as teachers that the best letters are those which really detail the service work the kids have done. I’m always telling the kids “Don’t do poor service. If you are jumping through hoops to get a badge, I can’t use it to explain what you are passionate about. Do something you truly care about.” Just listing the Eagle (especially in Utah) is pretty much a waste of time. I’ve been able to write letters of recommendation for YW which are really rich and exciting, because they were engaged in great, edifying service. One that really comes to mind is two young women artists who painted a mural in a nursing home. You’d think that many of the Eagles would also have such experiences, but they do not.

    I would love a church youth program which helped individuals develop and explore their talents. I want to see youth set out on spiritual adventures in the arts, academics and athletics.

    Hi Mortimer,
    I’m sorry to report that in my experience the Eagle rank is not really a game changer for any of my students, and I have pumped admissions people for years from BYU, BYU-I, U of U, Utah State, etc. The Eagle is so expected among young men in Utah and so common that it is lost in the background noise. As I discussed with Clark, what really makes kids stand out is service and leadership. The Eagle is not viewed as an example of either unless the student’s service really stands out and is detailed in a letter of recommendation from a teacher. Most Eagle projects are pretty weak.

  34. Kenzo
    May 12, 2017 at 11:07 pm

    Correct order, best to worst:
    1. Good ward YM program that doesn’t do scouting
    2. Good ward YM men’s program that does scouting
    3. Lousy ward YM program that doesn’t do scouting
    4. Lousy ward YM program that does scouting

    We’re currently living in option #1 and it’s phenomenal, JI. Nothing “mediocre” about it at all. The boys don’t care about scouting and so the leaders just plan weekly service and self-improvement and recreational activities without any of the BSA rigamarole. Two thumbs up, would have sons again.

  35. Chet
    May 13, 2017 at 12:21 am

    A man in our ward almost drowned last summer on a hastily planned YM “high adventure” outing. At least one member of the Seventy was made aware of this. I don’t care what umbrella we operate under but for heck’s sake let’s take some safety precautions.

  36. ji
    May 13, 2017 at 8:30 am

    You know, Scouting is proof that church members don’t blindly follow the prophet. For many years, prophets have asked stakes and wards in the U.S. to provide Scouting for young men, and most ward Young Men presidents and almost all stake Young Men presidents have refused to sustain the prophet in this matter — they might have sustained the prophets on other matters, but not this one.

    I hope for the best in the future. I hope they don’t organize a committee in Salt Lake City to design a “program” for our use — for now, I think I would prefer to allow each stake and ward to do its own thing (admittedly, for most stakes and wards, that will be little or nothing) — maybe some good things will develop at the local level in some areas.

    Chet,

    Whenever we don’t want to comply with BSA safety guidelines, we call it a YM activity.

  37. Paul Williams
    May 13, 2017 at 9:21 am

    Long overdue. Under resourced and under commited. No sense speculating about the demise of Scouting in the Church though. Scouting is the greatest youth movement in history, and gives the LDS a positive connection with the outside world.

  38. Kenzo
    May 13, 2017 at 7:27 pm

    You know, the BSA obsession of middle-aged “Scouters” is proof that church members don’t blindly follow the prophet. For many years, prophets have cautioned us against having “gospel hobbies” and elevating earthly programs over eternal principles. They might have sustained the prophets in other matters — but not this one.

  39. Chet
    May 13, 2017 at 8:51 pm

    Was the proverbial bar raised for future YM leaders by virtue of this announcement?

  40. Pete
    May 14, 2017 at 8:13 am

    Paul Williams,

    “Scouting is the greatest youth movement in history,”

    As long as you only include boys in your definition of youth.

    “As a global organization with members in 170 countries, the Church has long been evaluating the limitations that fully one-half of its youth face where Scouting is not available.”

  41. CW
    May 14, 2017 at 8:44 am

    Pete, is there a greater coed youth program in world history? Even acknowledging girls aren’t included, that doesn’t make boy scouts a non youth program.

    I can’t think of a greater organization for youth, boy, girl, or coed.

    Regarding eagle scouts, the point of the project is not for the youth to do it, like painting a mural. There are other ranks and awards for that. The eagle is a leadership service project. The youth are supposed to lead and manage others in their completion of the project. If that’s explained properly, I think it would reflect well on any young adult applicant.

    The fact that it’s so commonly missed clearly confirms we’re doing scouting wrong culturally. But really, with b home teaching, visiting teaching, meetings, activities, etc etc there’s only so much time we have.

    If church was our whole life, we’d have room for scouting. But as it is the church has been pushed to the margins as we’re increasingly filling our lives with other things. So it’s reasonable that scouting is even further out at the margin.

  42. Pete
    May 14, 2017 at 9:00 am

    CW, the Personal Progress program can easily be adapted for the young men.

  43. ji
    May 14, 2017 at 12:34 pm

    Scouting is the greatest movement in the world for youth, boys and girls. Some countries maintain separate Boy Scout and Girl Scout programs, and some countries have single programs for both sexes.

  44. Old Man
    May 15, 2017 at 12:37 am

    CW,
    The two youth who painted the mural I mentioned in my comment above planned it with the facility manager, designed it with helpful critiques from their art teacher, raised funds to complete it, and completed much of the work themselves (they did recruit a few friends to help out priming the wall and painting the background). They spent over 100 hours each working on the project. They did not do it for a badge or any public acclaim. They did it because they wanted to serve the elderly adults in the care facility and the invitation was extended by the facility manager. The mural is still prized by the facility over a decade later. They only mentioned it to me as I was interviewing them as high school seniors while assisting them with their college applications and the applications asked about service. They wanted to know if that project counted!

    I’ve known many kids in my career and I know these two students have continued their quiet works of service in the community. If I could bottle what these two ladies learned and knew about service, BSA would actually work. But it would be a BSA with multitudes of badges and ranks. It would be a BSA without the military paraphernalia.
    I think these ladies were part of a service organization that taught them the values they displayed. It was the LDS Church’s YW program. Can’t we have a program that helps do that for all of our kids? The YM have been deprived for long enough. They may do better with more values and less money!

  45. CW
    May 15, 2017 at 3:51 am

    OM,
    There was no disparaging the work of making a mural. Just pointing out that the whole point of the eagle project is frequently misunderstood as the boy doing a big project. When it’s really (supposed to be) the boy organizing and leading others in service. Service leadership is one of the reasons why the church linked the aaronic priesthood with scouting, where available.

    Sounds like you really enjoyed the mural project. Any online pictures? What was the mural subject?

  46. Alan
    May 15, 2017 at 10:09 am

    Can someone who is heavily involved in the Scouting program clarify something? Can a boy over 14 years of age be registered in the Scout troop, rather than a Varsity or Venturer unit? My understanding was that the Church actually registered these units for older boys in the past so that they could continue to be affiliated with the BSA and earn their Eagle awards, not necessarily to implement the real Varsity/Venturer programs. How does a 17-year-old now affiliate with the BSA? Can he still be a member of the Scout troop, or does he have to enroll with a non-Church unit that matches his age?

  47. thor
    May 15, 2017 at 11:49 am

    Alan – any young man, 11-18 years old, who wants to be involved in scouting will be registered with the troop.

    It was different before, what with the Venture and Varsity “groups” – as well as different wards’ intepretation and implementation, but this change should help clarify the process.

    The bigger curiosity is this: will all YM automatically be registered with the scout troop, or will the Scout Committee Chair or COR or whoever is doing the annual registration have to ask each YM between 14-18 whether or not he wants continue scouting? My guess is that registration will be done on a boy-by-boy approach only (for cost savings along!).

  48. Left Field
    May 15, 2017 at 1:15 pm

    Alan, Varsity Scouts and Venturers who have reached First Class can continue to advance and earn the Eagle as a member of the Team or Crew until they turn 18. Or they can remain in the Troop until 18. Scouts can be concurrently registered in a Troop as well as a Team/Crew. My experience is that most wards don’t charter a Team or Crew, and scouts simply remain in the Scout Troop until they turn 18.

    Before the current change, the Handbook has allowed wards to charter a Troop, a Team, and a Crew with the idea that deacons would be registered in the Troop, teachers in the Team, and Priests in the Crew. The wording of the recent change makes it sound like that this setup is SOP. Since the early 1980s , I’ve never been in a ward that has actually done that, or had the demographics that would allow them to do it. I think a ward I belonged to in the early ’80s had a Troop and a Varsity Team that were both functional.

    Depending on ages, move-ins and move-outs, who is active or inactive, each Aaronic Priesthood quorum in my ward typically varies between about 1 and 4 active members. You need to have 2 just to keep your unit charter active. Setting up separate scouting units for each age group would be pointless. Your charter would lapse every time the number in that age group dropped below 2. And even with 4 or 5 the program isn’t functioning as intended. Every ward I’ve been in has a Scout Troop, and all registered boys 11-17 belong to the Troop. And even that’s a very small troop by non-LDS standards.

    It doesn’t reflect the reality on the ground to suggest that only 11-13 year-olds register in the Troop and do advancement, and earn their Eagle, after which they move on to a Team/Crew and do Varsity/Venturing stuff. Somewhere over the rainbow there’s a ward that has been doing that. But I don’t know where they are. The “new policy” is nothing more than what the rest of us wards and branches have been doing for decades. Every ward will have a Troop, and scouts will belong to the troop for as long as they are advancing or want to participate, or until they turn 18. Just like now.

  49. The Other Clark
    May 17, 2017 at 2:21 pm

    My prediction is that the Church will drop Cubs first, and expand Activity Days into a boy/girl program, meeting twice a month. Scouts for Deacons will be the last to drop. A few other predictions:
    * Weaning the BSA of LDS funds will take at least 5 years.
    * Funds for YM and YW will not achieve parity after the 5-year ramp-down
    * A previously unrecognized benefit is that a huge amount of manpower will be freed up to help in other areas of the ward. (e.g. Activity days has 2 leaders, while the Cub pack has minimum of 9-Cub committee chair, cubmaster, and two each for wolfs, bears, and webelos)
    * The Church will see positive community outreach as LDS families that love scouting get involved in non-denominational troops and packs.

  50. Clark Goble
    May 17, 2017 at 7:18 pm

    A previously unrecognized benefit is that a huge amount of manpower will be freed up to help in other areas of the ward. (e.g. Activity days has 2 leaders, while the Cub pack has minimum of 9-Cub committee chair, cubmaster, and two each for wolfs, bears, and webelos)

    Yup. The amount of callings could really be significantly reduced. A big deal in small wards.

  51. Left Field
    May 17, 2017 at 9:46 pm

    That’s an overestimate of the leaders required for Cub Scouting. Only one den leader is required for each den, not two, and it is not required to have three separate dens unless the number of cubs requires it. The pack committee chair often doubles as the scout committee chair, and in my experience, it’s rare for that to be the be the person’s only calling unless the committee chair is a nonmember. Also, the Handbook (11.5.3) provides that the children’s primary teachers can double as scout leaders (and activity day leaders). Small wards and branches are already getting by with a minimum of scout leaders. Also, in terms of making the most of few available volunteers, scout callings have the advantage of being open to nonmembers and to members who may not meet “worthiness” requirements expected of most other callings.

  52. The Other Clark
    May 18, 2017 at 9:44 am

    It’s true that some wards “fudge” the two-deep leadership requirement for cubs, but it’s certainly enforced at the youth level. As for primary leaders doubling as den leaders, I’ve done it, and it’s a large burden to plan and execute a lesson every single Sunday and a solid hour-long scout activity every Wednesday (or whatever), especially as cub leaders tend to have young families.

    As for non-member scout leaders, it’s about as common as literal descendants of Aaron serving as bishops without counselors. In areas I’ve served (Idaho, Utah, Alaska) bishoprics insist on youth leaders that will motivate YM to be worthy priesthood holders and full-time missionaries, which functionally means non-members are a non-starter.

    Your mileage may vary, but that’s my experience.

  53. Pete
    May 18, 2017 at 10:35 am

    I find it interesting that the church admits that disparity of funding in YW vs YM will be addressed (won’t hold my breath though) as a result of this change. It’s disappointing that although they’ve long been aware of it, it hasn’t been important until they decided that a program isn’t serving boys well enough. I haven’t seen anything saying they’re going to address the disparity of funding/resources between Activity Days girls and Cub Scouts.

  54. Old Man
    May 18, 2017 at 10:23 pm

    The Other Clark:
    I live in a Utah community. I’ve witnessed many non-member Scout leaders. I also believe that given the chance, most LDS will drop Scouting like a hot potato

  55. Left Field
    May 19, 2017 at 8:15 am

    Two-deep leadership doesn’t require two registered den leaders for each den. It just requires another adult in the room. Parent, member of the bishopric, cubmaster, the other den leader when dens meet together, anyone sitting in the foyer waiting around to drive someone home after mutual, etc. Doubling up the Primary teachers wouldn’t be my first choice, but the option is there for both Activity Days and Cubs.

    My ward’s Cub pack has about 3-4 cubs. We have one den leader. A nonmember parent is the Cubmaster. The committee chair is a Ward clerk (and until recently, the early morning seminary teacher). Scouting is a small part of his church service. The committee members are one parent (who is the EQ president), and a former bishopric member who was put in that position when we rechartered just because we had to have two committee members and he was already registered and done youth protection training. Committee service is fairly minimal. We have all the scout positions that are required to have a charter, but virtually all of the week-to-week program is the responsibility of the den leader and the cubmaster, one of which wouldn’t have a church calling otherwise. Abolishing cub scouting in my ward would free up exactly one adult leader for other callings. And that leader would still be needed for Activity Days, or whatever replaced cub scouting for the boys.

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