By Melany Gardner
Jul 11, 2016

LDS Scoutmaster Online Training Now Available

Many of you have been anxiously awaiting an online Scout training solution and we’re happy to announce the time has arrived. Available today, Scoutmasters serving in LDS chartered units in the Utah National Parks Council can now complete some training online through the Voice of Scouting training courses found at

The LDS Scoutmaster Training is only the first of many online training courses we’re developing to help you get trained, feel confident in your role as a mentor of young men, and ultimately run a better program for the the youth.

What’s included in the LDS Scoutmaster Training?

This free online training covers the majority of the learning objectives in the National BSA’s approved Scoutmaster position-specific training through the eyes of a newly called Scoutmaster from an LDS chartered unit. This training does not replace the National BSA approved course, but will be most helpful for LDS Scoutmasters.

The training is split into six courses:

  • LDS Scoutmaster Training 1: Getting Started
  • LDS Scoutmaster Training 2: The Patrol Method
  • LDS Scoutmaster Training 3: Annual Planning
  • LDS Scoutmaster Training 4: Continuous Training and Safety
  • LDS Scoutmaster Training 5: Advancement
  • LDS Scoutmaster Training 6: Scoutmaster Support Team

Through text, video, resources, and links, each course explains the basics of Scouting in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints; pointing you to the LDS Scouting Handbook and other helpful resources to get you started as a new Scoutmaster.scoutmaster training example

You will  need to create an account to begin a course. If at any time during the training you need to stop, you can save your progress, exit and return when you are ready to resume. After you begin each course, friendly reminders will be sent to you every week until all coursework is complete. There will also be a brief quiz at the end of each course to test your knowledge of the material. After you have completed all six courses in the LDS Scoutmaster Training you will be asked to fill out an online form to record your training with the Council. You will also receive a certificate at the end of each course for your records.

Not new to Scouting? That’s okay, this course can be a great refresher for even a seasoned Scouter.

Why online training?

“Frequent opportunities to be trained via a variety of means (online, in-person, etc.) helps. We are busy and so opportunities for training need to be accessible regularly, but not just in person. More online training, recorded webinars or classes would be a great resource for wards/units.”

– More comments like this were found throughout the research.

The reason we’re focused on created online training is because of the need. In research we recently conducted we learned even more of the need for online training when almost every research group mentioned it as important to them.

The reality is that most people want to be trained so that they can better fulfill their calling in Scouting, but with the busy schedules we keep these days, there just isn’t enough time to get the training we need—the training our youth deserve for us to have—at a time that is convenient for everyone. Online training allows you the chance to get started as soon as you are called, at home, on your own time. Plus, it gives you a resource that you can regularly refer to as you spend more time in the program. In short, It just makes sense.

What about in-person training?

These online courses are being developed to make training more accessible to volunteers, so that they may learn the ropes sooner, faster, and at their own pace. This does not mean that in-person training will cease to exist. We understand that everyone learns differently and in-person training is encouraged and available. There are many benefits of classroom training, but it can be hard to get everyone to a training on the same night. Weeks or months might pass between when someone is called to serve in Scouting and when the next training takes place.scoutmaster training example 2

Why LDS training?

For this training we have translated Scout-ese into LDS-ese, covering many elements of the required position-specific training with insights into how this can apply in various LDS chartered units in the Utah National Parks Council. We serve 99.3% LDS-chartered units in our council and from comments expressed in our recent research it was clear to us that LDS-specific training was desired from most of our volunteers.

“People use Scouting jargon that turns off our new Scouters. It really is like a brand new language.”

–  One stake president commented.

Another reason we have chosen to focus specifically on LDS units is that we understand that the National BSA Council is currently working on online training for Scoutmasters as they have already done for leaders in Cub Scouts.  As to not duplicate our efforts, we focused on LDS training to better serve our majority volunteers. Units charted by other organizations can expect more personalized service from their district leaders in the meantime.

When will the other training I need be available?

Here are some of the other online training we’re currently working on. But don’t wait on us, get trained now:

  • LDS Pack Committee Training – Available Now!
  • Introduction to Outdoor Leadership Skills/Northstar – Sept 2016
  • LDS Venturing Leader Training – TBA
  • LDS COR Training – TBA
  • LDS Commissioner Training – TBA

How can I help?

We’re always looking for volunteers on our committee to help develop the next training. More help means we can get more training completed and available online for everyone’s benefit. We need doers who are ready to jump in with writing content, writing screen plays, shooting video, developing course outlines, acting and modeling. If you interested in volunteering, email

Melany Gardner2


Author: Melany Gardner | “The Boy Scout” Editor and Marketing Specialist, Utah National Parks Council

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29 thoughts on “LDS Scoutmaster Online Training Now Available

  1. AvatarWendy Durrant

    I really enjoyed the online Scoutmaster training. I watched all six. Thank You for them! They will definitely make a positive difference in the heart, service and confidence of every scout master or scout leader that watches them. Very well done. I completed the survey as well. Have a wonderful week!

  2. Melany GardnerMelany Gardner

    Thank you so much Wendy. We appreciate your feedback. This first online training has taken us a long time to produce, but we should be able to churn out new trainings much faster now. Thank you for your contribution. We know you have so much to do that it is difficult to find the time to go in and take the training. Hopefully you will be able to feel like you recoup the time you spent by having a place to point baffled and confused leaders (or anyone needing training).
    The Marketing Team of the Utah National Parks Council

  3. AvatarSteve Faber

    Something seems off on one element of this training regarding adult scout uniforms:

    In the first part of the training…

    First Steps: Step 3 – Obtain Uniform and Manuals that states “…list of your RECOMMENDED uniform items…” includes a shirt, pants/shorts, belt/buckle…

    However later on in the training…

    Why Scouting Matters: Session 1 Quiz, there is a question that asks what is the REQUIRED uniform for a scoutmaster, with possible choices of an a) scout shirt, b) scout pants, c) world crest and d) all of the above. According to the quiz, the correct answer is d.

    Why? I know UNPC wants to set the right example in this training for LDS Scoutmasters regarding uniforms, but shouldn’t the quiz wording be changed from REQUIRED to RECOMMENDED?

    Recently, many church members in Utah County participated in the Provo City Center Temple Celebration. It seems to me that if the LDS Church wanted to emphasize the purchase and wearing of scout pants, they should have required scout pants of the boys who participated in patriotic number at this Celebration. This is a cultural thing that some people in Utah County noticed, especially those in scout callings. I realize that most every other group including ours wore black pants to highlight colored shirts, but that group that wore scout shirts, who carried US flags, wore black pants, not scout pants.

    Also the LDS Church Handbook of Instructions, Book 2, page 59 says “Church funds may not be used to purchase uniforms for individuals” which seems to conflict with the section in the training: First Steps: Step 3 – Obtain Uniform and Manuals that states “Your chartered organization may provide some of these items for you.” A scoutmaster in a unit that may not have a uniform bank, could be misled that the unit may purchase a uniform for him if he does not have one.

    I don’t discount the research that shows uniforms help create unity, because I believe they do, and I’m not advocating that full uniforms are not desirable (it’s taken me 20 + years to get all the pieces of a full uniform – mostly made up of my father’s outgrown stuff), but there is a difference between the perception created in this training for a new scoutmaster that he needs to be in full BSA everything, and the reality that many LDS scoutmasters do their best with little funds, who magnify their scout callings, and who make a positive impact on the boys they serve while wearing the scout shirt and a pair of jeans.

    I think it’s important to keep the perspective that while it might be desirable that adults obtain a full uniform, “Uniform” is only 1/8 of all the methods of scouting, and that “doing our best” is all that’s needed.

    1. Maria MilliganMaria Milligan

      Steve, thanks for your feedback! I’ve made some changes in the training. The quiz now says recommended, and the wording on the uniform section is now “Your chartered organization may provide some of these items for you from a uniform bank (if your ward or stake maintains one).” Take a look at that section and see if it more accurately helps new Scoutmasters understand.

      Thanks again for your help.

  4. AvatarMike Ball

    Awesome online training! I’m just curious about some details. This doesn’t seem to be connected at all to Is there a way for committee members (or other leaders) to see what training leaders have completed on this site? Do any of these trainings match up with the training tracked through Scoutnet and shows on

    Just wondering the best way to implement this and know who has completed the training in my ward and stake. Thanks again!

    1. Melany GardnerMelany Gardner Post author


      We’re glad you like the training! At this time there is no linking it to Scoutnet, or Scoutbook. This does not replace the BSA National approved training for Scoutmasters, but it a great course for new LDS Scoutmasters and we recommend it for any Stake. We are keeping a separate list (not on Scoutnet) of those who have completed the training and reported it because this training can be so valuable it will be helpful for stakes to know who has completed the training. I recommend anyone to take the course immediately after they have been called into the position so they can get started on the right foot. They can receive their BSA National Scoutmaster training as soon as they can otherwise. Let me know if you have any other questions, or you can always come and visit with me in the Orem Scout Office for any other ideas on how to implement training in your stake.

  5. AvatarMaloree Anderson

    My husband was just called as the Scout Committee Chair. I am going to encourage him to take this training because it is so informative about Scouting whether you are a Scoutmaster or not. I LOVE the pillar videos and can’t wait to see the other training that the Utah National Parks Council create!

  6. AvatarSteve Faber

    Here’s another thought regarding the PLC in an LDS setting. Course 2 mentions the scenario of needing a strong SPL for two quorums of deacons (patrols) in the section called “How to Have a Quorum Presidency/Patrol Leaders’ Council Meeting.” However, a more common scenario seems to be a single quorum of deacons (patrol) and the 11 year-old scout patrol (the new scout patrol in BSA literature). The existence of two separate patrols requires someone to be the Senior Patrol Leader. Joint activities between the two groups require a PLC.

    Because of the intended separation of the 11 year-old scouts (under the Primary organization) from the deacon’s quorum (under the Aaronic Priesthood/YM leadership) in the LDS church, a whole bunch of “how-do-I, h0w-should-I” questions come up from adults in both organizations. Simply put, adults in the two organizations rarely interact, and the 11 year-olds and deacons don’t even know they should interact.

    In my opinion, “how-to’s” on the relationship between 11 year-olds scouts and the deacon’s quorum are lacking in LDS/UNPC training materials.

    I would love to see more examples like a Deacon’s quorum president, acting as the SPL, extending an invitation to the patrol leader of the 11 year-olds scouts, to attend a PLC to plan a troop court of honor (which all 11 year-old scouts are invited to, but sometimes don’t get the invitation), or a joint overnight campout/day hike/skills competition/Introduction to Leadership Skills for Troops training, etc.

    It seems to me that the PLC can be a bridge between the activities of the Primary and the Priesthood. The LDS Scouting handbook section 6.2 states that “Eleven-year-old boys need to establish good relationships with their peers, the deacons quorum presidency, and their leaders.”

    Imagine how much better prepared the 11 year-old scouts would be to join the deacon’s patrol if both the Primary worker/ASM and the Scoutmaster attended this PLC as observers to interact together and learn together how to help the boys. Imagine what the 11 year-old patrol leader would feel/learn/see as the deacon’s quorum president with priesthood keys presides or leads a discussion in the PLC, and how excited he would be to tell his 11 year-old buddies about their involvement in the upcoming activity.

    I’ve found that if the deacon’s quorum presidency meets regularly (, which to me means “weekly”, because I see our bishopric/stake presidency meet weekly, that they will become proficient at handling quorum business and have enough time for an occasional PLC (perhaps quarterly) in the latter half of the meeting (with the 11 year-old patrol leader and adult Primary worker/ASM), to discuss scouting business/activities.

    The reality is that in my troop/quorum, we’ve only made the time for about two PLC’s in the last three years that I’ve been scoutmaster. It’s a challenge, but I think the PLC is a great tool to bridge the 11 year-olds to the deacon’s quorum.

  7. AvatarSteve Faber

    Just took Session 2 Quiz and ran across this question:
    What age group may the Assistant Scoutmaster focus on?
    Choose only ONE best answer.
    A) 11 year-olds
    B) 12 and 13 year-olds.

    If I’m a scoutmaster taking this quiz, perhaps I’m only aware of my partner in scouting, my Assistant Scoutmaster (two-deep leadership) in the deacon’s quorum. In this case, I’d choose B because our primary focus is the 12 and 13 year-old boys. However, if I’m a scoutmaster who knows that there should be another set of adult leaders overseeing the activities of the 11 year-old scouts, and that they are both likely called as ASM’s, then this question causes me confusion, because there are ideally three ASMs in a ward, given a single 11 year-0ld patrol and a deacon’s quorum/patrol (one as the scoutmaster’s ASM, and two ASM’s for the 11 year-olds).

    Which ASM are you referring to in the question, the ASM assigned to the deacon’s or the ASMs assigned to the 11 year-olds? If you are referring to the ASM assigned to the deacon’s quorum, I believe that ASM should have his primary focus be on the deacons, not the 11 year-olds, and that the two ASM’s assigned to the 11 year-olds should focus on the 11 year-olds.

    And I realize that the question says “may”, but even with “may” inserted in the question, it still might be confusing to some.

    1. AvatarLeah Overson

      I like to see the leader of the 11-year-old Scouts registered as a (10) rather than as (SA). Meeting together is surely a good idea.

        1. Susan CheeverSusan Cheever

          “10” is the code for the position “11 Year-old Scout Leader” and “SA” is the code for “Assistant Scoutmaster”

  8. AvatarJake

    I stopped reading when I got to “This training does not replace the National BSA approved course.” Honestly, I see this training as more confusion to add to the mix. We have enough trouble as it is getting newly called leaders to go to the actual required training. Adding this new, LDS focused supplemental training will have those leaders thinking they are “trained” by taking this course. I wish this was expanded and broad enough to qualify as the required Leader Specific Training.

    1. AvatarJames Walter Taylor

      Getting new leaders to *read* about their new calling is difficult – even the Church Scouting and leadership manuals which is loaded onto 90% of the smartphones in any Ward is rarely read and poorly followed. And adding this training will not aid the lazy or the dishonest.

      This *is* a good treatment of the connection between Scouting and the mission of the Church with regards these young men. It represents the responsibilities imposed by the BSA and how those responsibilities they align with the Church. After teaching a number of SM/ASM PST courses over the last 4 years, having the members of the Church understand some of the “why” may really help them “do” in their new calling. They should be the example to these young men of diligence in magnifying their callings and beyond reproach in demonstrating the Scout Law.

  9. AvatarNathan Baxter

    I am required to do training called “Scoutmaster and Assistant Specific Training (S24)” Will that be added as an online option?

  10. AvatarLance Stalnaker

    I agree with Jake this can be confusing as it is not approved BSA training. Who is this training authorized by? The Church (if so by who’s authority?)? A Council? BSA National? It seems to me you are trying to be very helpful, but may end up confusing a lot of newly called Scout leaders into thinking they are Trained, and we already have enough confused newly called Scout leaders trying to figure it all out. When it comes to training in the Church the leaders (SM and ASM) need to do leader specific and IOLS, and many just don’t go, having them do this is going to have them thinking they have done the training. So it seems you are just adding to the training many leaders don’t do? As a trainer, I can tell you we teach the authorized BSA syllabus in Leader Specific, IOLS, Merit Badge, etc. and then let our leaders know that that they need to know and understand the LDS Scouting Handbook and Handbook 2 related areas intimately, but all other areas of Scouting should be implemented as written by BSA. I refer them to the site where the Church has (already) outlined the required training. I also exhort them to “follow the brethren” and do as former YM president and current National Commissioner Charles Dalqhuist asks, that is for all LDS Leaders to be trained up to and including Wood Badge, if we could accomplish this Bishoprics and YM presidencies would be trained and we would not have many of the problems with lack of training and tenure we currently do.

    We are all in the brotherhood of Scouting with ALL Scouts and Scouters nationwide, we need to the same training that ALL Scout leaders do, it seems to me you have added more unauthorized training and confused new leaders.

  11. AvatarJames Walter Taylor

    This is a very nice quick start for any LDS scouter. No less Varsity and Venture leaders and Committee Members as Scoutmasters. Varsity and Venture leaders to understand the needs of youth still negotiating the path to Eagle, as well as understanding that in preparing youth for a Mission theirs is even a higher standard. The Committee members need to understand their role in supporting the Troop, as well as their responsibility in setting standards and reviewing activities.

    Beyond this training though, Scouting is one public face of the Church. many of the best people of the community only see Church members through how they represent themselves through Scouting. Emphasizing the responsibility of the unit adult leadership for the “four T’s”, participation at Roundtable, District meetings and Council, and for recruiting in the community is very important.

  12. AvatarDavid West

    I hope you are taking suggestions for improvement of the training. In course 3, it says “Boys are forgetful, so it’s a good idea to prepare a packing list as part of the permission slip.” This is poor advice that to leads to dependency in our young men (and their parents). We’re not teaching these young men how to be good scout leaders; we’re teaching them how to be good Elder’s Quorum presidents.

    Better advice would be “New scouts may be unfamiliar with preparing for outdoor adventures and should be directed to the Scout Basic Essentials and personal gear lists found in their Boy Scout Handbook. Camaraderie grows when Patrol leaders or other experienced Scouts teach youngers Scouts how to properly pack and care for their personal gear.”

  13. AvatarDavid West

    The Church does not authorize any pack overnight camping. The references to BALOO and pack camping in course 4 are inappropriate for LDS specific training.

  14. AvatarKevin Baugh

    I am thrilled with this training. I have completed part one today. I love the LDS scout leader focus, which is sorely needed; I love that it’s online so individuals can train at their own pace; and I love the fact that you provide links to the resources right in the training. On top of that, the content is solid and well done. I look forward to completing the other five parts and to the other trainings to be developed.

    Thank you so much.

  15. AvatarKevin Golding

    Why do we continue to try and seperate BSA from LDS. The brothern don’t say use what is good for you, use thebprogram as it is intended. It is a stand alone program- it is easy to understand if you put some effort into learning the program.

    1. AvatarLance Stalnaker

      Because that is the LDS way, to listen to what the Brethren say and then try to figure out what they mean by it rather than take it face value. This is simply unauthorized training that does not count and I fear that we will have many LDS leaders running around wearing the “Trained” patch who have not been through the proper BSA Training. The biggest question is, why? The training is already there and excellent, why do this? To be clear, here is what the LDS-BSA relations office has to say regarding training: (hint, I do not see anything about creating your own training???

      REQUIRED TRAINING: Once you have finished Fast Start training, you are ready to learn more about your duties and responsibilities as a leader in the troop. Some training is only offered live and other training is available online at –> Training –> E-Learning.

      To find out what training is required for most Scouting positions, click on the BSA’s “Trained Leader Requirements: Unit and Other Positions.”

      Leader-specific training for your position: to be completed ASAP
      Scoutmaster and Assistant Scoutmaster Specific Training: This is a live course (approximately 5 hours) presented by your district or council. If your district is not offering this course in the next month or two, check the council calendar for the next available course that is within a reasonable distance. The training is the same throughout the BSA and you may take the course in any district or council.
      Introduction to Outdoor Leader Skills: This is an overnight training required for all Scoutmasters and assistant Scoutmasters (although it is also useful for any adults who are registered with the troop). This is a live training experience, and if it is not offered within the next few months in your district, check the council calendar and take it in a nearby district or council.
      Troop Committee Challenge: This online course (about an hour) is required for all troop committee members. This training should be completed within 30 days. It is also offered live in some districts.

      What’s Next

      An event (usually monthly) sponsored by the district designed to help leaders carry out a successful Boy Scout program in their troops At roundtable you will get program ideas; you’ll receive information on policy, events, and training; and you’ll have the opportunity to share experiences with other Scouters and enjoy fun and fellowship. It’s at roundtable where you’ll hear about exciting (and sometimes unusual and unique) activities you can plan with your Scouts, why some camping areas are better for specific activities, and how other Scouters have succeeded in implementing the aims and methods of Scouting.

      SUPPLEMENTAL TRAINING: To take these and many other online training courses go to > Home > My Dashboard > Training Center > Other > Supplemental Training.

      Planning and Preparing for Hazardous Weather: This training is required for at least one leader who is going with your unit on an outing or activity. The course is online and must be repeated every two years. The training takes about 40 minutes to complete and is both age-appropriate and recommended for all adult leaders and for youth in Boy Scout troops, Varsity Scout teams, and Venturing crews.
      Safe Swim Defense: Required by at least one leader (preferably all adults) on outings involving activities that include swimming or wading in water over knee deep. The course is online and must be repeated every two years.
      Safety Afloat: Required by at least one adult on outings involving more than just swimming (boating, tubing, waterskiing, and so on). The course is online and must be repeated every two years.


      Wood Badge is Scouting’s premier training course. It was designed by Lord Baden-Powell to enable Scouters to learn the skills and methods of Scouting; it is “learning by doing.” Those attending the course are divided into patrols consisting of about eight adults. The patrols form a troop. The entire troop lives in the out-of-doors for a week (or for two weekends), practicing Scouting skills, such as fire-building, camping, cooking, tying knots and lashes, and so on.

      Many councils offer a “Sunday-friendly” course, over two weekends from Thursday through Saturday. This allows leaders in LDS units and other religious organizations to return home on Saturday night so they can attend their regular Sunday services.

      Charles W. Dahlquist, former Young Men president, had this to say about the value of Wood Badge:

      “If we are really intent in touching the lives of our young men. . . then we will do whatever is necessary to help us to accomplish that—including getting trained. For most of us, Wood Badge is life-changing because it has to do more with vision and understanding this great tool for strengthening young men of the Aaronic Priesthood than anything else (“The Importance of Wood Badge Training,” LDS Relationships Newsletter, Vol. 2, No. 1, February 2007). To view the entire article, click here.

      To learn more about Wood Badge training and how you can attend, contact your local council office or check your council’s website.

  16. AvatarJason Nielson

    I am a District Chair in West PHX, AZ. Is there away to get this program on DVD to present to LDS leaders or away to do it in a group setting. The program is spot-on!

    1. AvatarMaloree Anderson

      Jason, hello from Utah! We are so happy to hear that the program is what you need to train your LDS leaders. As of right now the best way to train in a group setting is hooking a computer up to a projector or TV. There, someone with a Thinkific account can access the course and go through it with the group.

      Please let us know if you have any further questions or comments. We’d love to hear from you!

  17. AvatarJason Nielson

    Its been 6 months since my last post and we have implemented this into our Round Tables. We have had newly called LDS and non-LDS leaders take the course. What we found out is that the goal aligned with the chuch and BSA which lined-up with other religious values. We are having a an Aaronic Preisthood Conference on Scouting (Little Philmont) in 2 weeks and will headline the 6 pillars with Brad Harris as Key Note speaker. We will then have BSA Leader Specific Training and then having this for a 4 hour presenation and already has been implemented from top leaderhip to the ward level. Are LDS training across the Grand Canyon Council is 20-25% trained LDS leaders! This has been a great program to help the leaders in the church and other churchs, understand communication with parents to permission slips. It even opend up to our District leaders to have a purpose for every disitrcit activty that alines the 6 pillers, both LDS and Non-LDS, to prepare the boys for any activity to lead. Thank you!
    Jason Nielson, Firebird District Chair-Grand Canyon Council


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