By Annaleis Smith
Mar 02, 2018

Thesis Review – Stake Primary Counselor over Scouting – Now What?!

Are you in the Stake Primary Presidency… Do I have a resource for you!

I am very excited about this month’s Thesis Review – written by Launa Nielson of the Wasatch District (Heber Area) in the Utah National Park Council.  In only 36 pages she does a great job of outlining the basics of Scouting for new Stake Primary presidency members. She starts out by pointing out

“There are wonderful documents out there for Primary leaders in Scouting but most don’t address cubs at the Stake Primary level.”

Launa had many years of Scout experience behind her but still found herself wondering what she, as a new Stake Primary counselor over Scouting, was supposed to do and how to do it.  And not to be one to just throw her hands up and give up, she took it upon herself to get the training necessary, talk to others doing this job and find out what she needed to do and how best to do it. And thus her Doctorate of Commissioner Science Thesis for the Utah National Parks Council was born.  *One note – Launa wrote her Thesis in 2014/15 so keep that in mind as you read it since some aspects of Scouting have changed since then.

Where to Find UNPC Doctoral Theses

You can read her Thesis for yourself by clicking on the following link. Guide for Stake Primary Presidency Counselors over Scouting  OR you can go to our Commissioner College page and click on the link at the bottom of the page for Past Doctoral Theses  to read this or any of the other Doctoral These listed there. Our Last Doctoral Thesis review on Todd Cope’s “If I were Bishop Again” is available to read here on the Boy Scout blog.

What do I do First?

What to do first?  Well this seems like a very logical place to start and she does. After a very brief welcome and intro to Scouting, Laura lists the following 6 things that she feels should be done first:

  1. Pray for assistance
  2. Get set apart
  3. Go to under “new Callings” for info and links to important trainings.
  4. Talk to the outgoing counselor for possible help.
  5. Be familiar with the Scouting in Primary section of
  6. Attend Cub Scout Leader-specific training.

I think it’s great that the first thing on her list is to pray.  The Lord called you to this position and he will help you fulfill it. (Think 1 Nephi 3:7) She also included a great testimony and quote from N. Eldon Tanner about Scouting that I hadn’t seen before:

“I want to say that this Scout movement helps build the kingdom of God, it helps us with the priesthood program. Scouters, through the Scout program, can go out and reach boys that cannot be reached otherwise. The President of the Church recognizes that. That is one of the reasons the program was officially recognized and accepted as a part of the Church program. And when we realize that, brethren, let us go out and save those boys!”


She then talks about and lists the responsibilities of the Stake Primary member over Cub Scouting and the Stake Primary member over 11-Year-Old Scouts.  Pointing out also that these are in addition to any other responsibilities assigned but the Stake.  One of my favorite paragraphs and something I also tried to teach recently at the LDS Leadership Summit says:

“You are responsible for making sure they understand their stewardships and how to fulfill them. Whether you do the training yourself or delegate it to somebody else you are responsible to make sure it happens. These sisters are responsible for overseeing Cub Scouts and 11-year-old Scouts in their ward. Make sure they know what their job is and where they can get the necessary training and support. Continue to help them throughout – if they don’t have much support in the ward this can be a very frustrating calling.”

She also talks about others in the district and stake that are there for help and support.  A key part I like that she points out about these “helpers” is:

“Many of the folks listed above are excited to work with you but don’t want to step on your toes by appearing pushy. If you seek them out they will almost always give you all the help and assistance you want—and do it gladly.

That is SO true!  Most district volunteers are true volunteers.  And it is SO much easier to help someone who is asking for help.  If you need help there is always someone to ask.


She then lists resources including handbooks, websites, and trainings both online and in person such as Commissioner College, Akela’s Council, University of Scouting and others.  She also lists a couple of her favorite websites with lots of Scouting ideas.  There are literally hundreds of places to go online for ideas and information.  I personally like to teach leaders to go to the official sites for answers first – much like we teach primary children to turn to the scriptures for answers first.

My personal list of the top 4 Essential Scouting websites are:

  • – Training, Registration, Commissioner Tools & more!
  • – National Website with TONS of information and links to almost everything else you need to know about Scouting.
  • – LDS BSA Relations Website with helps and links to LDS specific Scouting info
  •  – Our Council Website (& links to district)

Common Questions Answered

In her Thesis Launa goes through and answers (in very clear and simple way) many common questions that most stake primary member over Scouting have – especially if you have never been a Scout leader before. In her thesis she answers questions such as:

  • Do I really need to do this part of the job?
  • Where do I fit in the scheme of things?
  • What is Roundtable?
  • What is Leader-Specific Traning?
  • What is Pow Wow?
  • What is Day Camp?
  • What about Friends of Scouting?
  • What is a COR?
  • What is a Unit Commissioner?
  • Am I a Unit Commissioner?
  • What is Commissioner College?
  • What is Scout Camp?
  • What is a Merit Badge Pow Wow?
  • What is an ADC?
  • Who is the District Key Three?
  • and more…


She  includes tips and handouts to use when training Scout leaders, COR’s, ward primary counselors and 11-yr old Scout leaders.  She even goes over some Cub Scouting basics (including budgets) and has some ideas for bishoprics when calling new Cub Scout leaders and how Scouting Supports the PriesthoodI especially like the “Phrase Translator” page that helps translate BSA language into LDS language. (I’ll let you find it yourself in her Thesis)  It’s true that sometimes it can be confusing at first as to who is what and what things are called.  A while ago I wrote a blog article called 20 Abbreviations for Cub Scout Leaders to help with this very problem.

I can’t begin to cover everything in her thesis but I think Launa did a really great job of tackling the question “What Now?” for the new Stake Primary Counselor over Scouting.  I think this resource could also be beneficial to Stake Presidency members. Hopefully I have enticed you to read Guide for Stake Primary Presidency Counselors over Scouting or maybe you have decided that you too need to start your own Commissioner College learning experience.  You can start or continue your Commissioner College training at our next live Commissioner College in Provo on Saturday April 21, 2018. (Registration opens soon)

Annaleis Smith is a “stay-at-home” mom of 5 (3 boys 2 girls).  She has been a Cub Scout leader in her LDS ward since 2003.  She has also been involved with district roundtables since 2008 and involved in various council committees (including Akela’s Council) since 2010. Annaleis currently serves as the president of the Commissioner College cabinet and a member of the Executive Board for UNPC.

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