By The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
Jul 05, 2015

A Closer Look at the New LDS Scouting Handbook—Part 2

This is Part 2 of a three part series. To read Part 1 click here

SECTION 8: Church Policies

SustainingRechartering 8.3 deletes this sentence: “No additional fees should be paid to local councils for accident and health insurance coverage. For information on Church activity insurance programs, see Handbook 2, 13.6.9.”

The process of calling adult Scouting leaders in 8.5 adds this reference: “Members of the Church who serve in Scouting assignments should be sustained and set apart (see also 8.8),” while this word is dropped: “The bishopric may [appropriately] call men or women to serve as Scouting leaders for Primary-age Scouts.”

Background screening for BSA Adult Leaders in 8.8 changed this word: “This includes the screening of Social Security numbers.” Regarding the BSA background check “A Scout leader should not be sustained or set apart until priesthood leaders ensure that the BSA has completed this process. Priesthood leaders should also cooperate with BSA officials to resolve any issues that may arise.”

To help leaders find the Church’s Safety policies and procedures, secion 8.9 updates the website from just  “” to “”: “Additional safety guidelines can be found on ScreenHunter_50 Jul. 02 08.33.” And this new paragraph has been added: “Activities should be appropriate for the participants’ ages, ability, and maturity. Leaders and youth should have fitness levels appropriate for the activity, and individual medical risk factors should be carefully considered. Before holding an activity, leaders should instruct all participants in safety practices unique to the activity. Leaders and youth should know and abide by all laws and safety guidelines pertaining to the activity or property.”

A new category for emergencies in 8.10 has been added: “Leaders should be prepared for emergencies that may occur and know in advance how to contact law enforcement and emergency services.”

4082-03-08.FirstAid.jb98.11 Accident response and reporting, adds this new category: “Leaders should notify the bishop and stake president promptly if an accident, illness, or injury occurs on Church property or during an official Scouting or Church-sponsored activity. If the accident involves a fatality or overnight hospital stay, leaders immediately notify the Risk Management Division at Church headquarters (telephone 1801-240-4049 or 1-800-435-3860, extension 2-4049). Leaders should also notify the local BSA council.
For detailed guidelines on responding to accidents and reporting them, see Handbook 2, 13.6.20.” This is an important statement, to which the Council Service Center gets many calls. Now that it is published here, Ward leaders will have a second resource in addition to Handbook 2 regarding reporting procedures.

Camping and Sabbath Day observance is clarified at bit with a word change from “can attend to” to “can fulfill”: “Plans for outings should ensure that Aaronic Priesthood brethren and other members can fulfill their regular Church assignments.” Also this rewording:  “As an exception, priesthood leaders may give approval for a Church-sponsored Scouting unit to participate in some BSA sponsored national and regional jamborees that occur over the Sabbath. This participation may only occur with prior priesthood approval and with supervision by authorized priesthood leaders.”

In 8.13 Scouting Month wording dropped: “Leaders of Scouting units chartered by the Church may plan and carry out approved activities [during the week] to recognize this tradition.”

van crunchNew paragraphs added to 8.14 Travel: “When using private passenger vehicles, each driver should be a licensed, responsible adult. All vehicles and drivers should be covered by reasonable amounts of insurance.

“Drivers should be instructed to obey all laws, to make sure their vehicle is in safe operating condition, and to ensure that each person properly uses a seat belt. Drivers should also be instructed not to drive if they are drowsy, not to use mobile phones while driving, and not to engage in other behaviors that would district them.”

In 8.18 Scouting for Boys and Young Men with disabilities is actually a title change from “Those” to “Boys and Young Men”

Similarly in 8.19 Specialty, MultipleUnit, and Long Term Camps is a title change from “Specialty Programs and Stake Camps.” That section reworded paragraphs with additional information:

Northridge Stake Encampment 2013

Northridge Stake Encampment 2013

“Latter-day Saint Scouting units are not authorized to organize (2014: “do not organize”) “specialty” or similar programs that focus exclusively on a particular skill, hobby, or career.

Stake or ward Scout camps that involve more than two units and that exceed three consecutive nights for Venturers and five consecutive nights for Boy Scouts and Varsity Scouts cannot be advertised as “Scout” camps unless they follow the BSA national camp standards and are authorized by the local council. If long-term camps do not qualify as authorized Scout camps, they will not be covered by BSA liability insurance. For long-term camping, use of BSA facilities is strongly recommended.

This is a large policy change that means more Stakes will be using Council camps for Stake Aaronic Priesthood/Scouting Encampments.

LDS LogoAuthor: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints | Scouting Handbook for Church Units in the United States, Revised May 2015

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4 thoughts on “A Closer Look at the New LDS Scouting Handbook—Part 2

  1. AvatarMark

    What do you do if your ward leaders continually ignore the policy about Scout Leaders being registered and completing YPT before being sustained and working with the youth? We have had adult leaders serving with the youth for 9 months without being registered with BSA.

    1. Melany GardnerMelany Gardner

      I would recommend speaking with the Stake Young Men president, or the counselor in the Stake presidency that is over Scouting. They should be able to kindly direct your ward leaders in this Church policy.

  2. AvatarDenise McIntire

    Can you recommend how to encourage ward adult scout leaders to more diligently observe the Guide to Safe Scouting guidelines? We are at a point that we are no longer comfortable with some of the activities being done and how they are carried out (I can’t say planned, because lack of planning is part of the problem – cliff jumping is one example of a recent activity that happened on a “high adventure”). My husband and I have a fair amount of scouting experience and serve on the committee – we are scouting advocates, but our concerns are pretty much brushed aside or just ignored (after being “listened to” and verbally acknowledged, nothing changes).

    Also, second question, are adult leaders responsible for informing parents of upcoming activities (nature of the activity, time and place for pickup/dropoff, preparation/assignments needed) or is this solely the responsibility of the youth-age leaders to inform the other youth, who then are responsible for informing parents (as we are being told)? My observation is that “it’s supposed to be a boy led program” is widely used to abdicate adult responsibility.

    We want to be supportive, but it is hard when we feel torn between a desire to support the YM program and leaders and concerns for the safety of our sons and the feeling of not being welcomed or included (we frequently don’t know about the location or timing or nature of activities or find out at the very last minute, leading to our sons missing activities, being late, scrambling at the last minute to make arrangements, etc.).

    1. Darryl AlderDarryl Alder

      You asked: “Can you recommend how to encourage ward adult scout leaders to more diligently observe the Guide to Safe Scouting guidelines?” the best thing I know is to educate people, read them the First Presidency Safety letter at and have them read the statements there that say follow the Guide to Safe Scouting. THe Council’s risk management chairman is also the LDS Church’s GLobal Safety Manager. In a pinch he can help when leaders are maverick.

      You asked: “are adult leaders responsible for informing parents of upcoming activities (nature of the activity, time and place for pickup/dropoff, preparation/assignments needed).” Common sense and BSA training on ScoutParents would suggest the unit have a Facebook group with listed activities, but at they suggest using the Parental or Guardian Permission and Medical Release ( which would insure you knew what was going on.


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