scouting works
By The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
Jul 02, 2015

A Closer Look at the New LDS Scouting Handbook—Part 1

ScreenHunter_51 Jul. 02 13.09

This post is part 1 in a series of 3. See part two here.

Tried and true, the LDS Scouting Handbook has helped church leaders know the policies and procedures for their faith in the use of Scouting for decades. From the Handbook itself: “This handbook outlines guidelines and policies relating to Scouting programs in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Bishoprics and Young Men, Primary, and Scouting leaders should be familiar with this information as they administer Scouting programs in the ward. …Differences between Church policy and BSA policy are noted in this handbook as needed. …This edition of the handbook includes revisions to policies in sections 3 and 8.

With the latest release on-line in May, the  cover looks the same, but don’t let that fool you, right from the first section, 1.1, there are changes. In this article we have grouped changes we found into a few categories:

SECTION 1:  Purpose of Scouting in the Aaronic Priesthood and Primary

Aaronic Priesthood ScoutRegarding the purpose of Scouting in the Aaronic Priesthood and Primary there is a word change from “can” to “should” stating that “Scouting should complement the efforts of Aaronic Priesthood quorums and Primary classes in building testimonies in young men and boys.”  That certainly changes the meaning, but it is further clarified with this added sentence: “Scouting activities should be planned to fulfill gospel-centered purposes.”

SECTION 3: The Stake and LDS Commissioner Service

In section 3.2  we also note a couple of important changes regarding the role of Stake High Councilors. Their title changed from “Stake Aaronic Priesthood Committee” to “Stake High Councilors,”  with these sentences added: “These high councilors register with the BSA as assistant district commissioners. They receive appropriate BSA training, participate in the monthly district commissioner meetings, and work closely with the district commissioner and unit commissioners in their stake.”

commissionersIn that same section 3.3 the Stake’s Young Men Presidency is tasked with meeting …regularly with unit leaders, create close relationships with them, help them with rechartering, and inform them of BSA district and council activities, training opportunities, policies, and health and safety issues. And in 3.4 the Stake Primary Presidency role to these assistant district commissioners is explained with a word change from “organizations” to “leaders”: “The high councilor assigned to the Primary informs the stake Primary presidency of training opportunities and helps them provide support and assistance to ward Primary leaders.”

In 3.5 the duties of LDS Unit Commissioners is explained with a word change from “opportunities” to “evaluation programs”: “Learn about Scout policies, procedures, and evaluation programs.” Then the position duties are further clarified with these added words: “Establish a close relationship with adult Scout leaders in wards, interact with them regularly, and report the condition of Scouting in the stake to the assistant district commissioner.” and “Inform Scouting units of training opportunities, charter renewal deadlines, health and safety issues, and activities in the stake and in the BSA local district and council.”

SECTION 4: COR (Chartered Organization Representative) Bishop’s Counselors and Scouting Committees

cub-to-missionary-high-resolutionIn 4.2.2 there is a singe word change regarding registering Venturing from “when” to “if”: “Young men ages 16 and 17 and their leaders should be registered if the ward sponsors a Venturing crew or if rank advancements are being pursued.” And in 4.3 about Scouting Committees where the word “quorums” is replaced with “young men”: “The bishopric organizes ward Scouting committees to ensure that Scouting functions properly as a supporting activity for Aaronic Priesthood young men and for boys ages 8 through 11.” Also changed is “chair” to “chairperson”: “One of the committee members is called to serve as the chairperson” and this rephrasing from “whether members of the Church or not” to “including those who are not members of the Church”: “Qualified adults, including those who are not members of the Church, may serve on these committees.” The entire paragraph dropped from 2014: “All committee members, whether members of the Church or not, should understand and be willing to maintain Church standards.”

SECTION 5: QUORUM ADVISORS AND YOUTH LEADERSHIP

Aaronic Priesthood Quorum Advisors (Ward Young Men Presidency) no longer have to attend all meetings: “5.1 …Both the adviser and the assistant adviser(s) attend [all] meetings of the quorum and the Scouting unit and must be registered with the BSA.” This may open the door to sharing some meetings among leaders when youth are not present (due to two deep leadership requirements, when youth are present two leaders are needed). And as for planning among youth leaders in 5.2 there is a word change from “at” to “in” that read is: “Planning for Scouting activities should be done in presidency meetings and in the Scouting unit leadership meetings.”

SECTION 6.0:  Scouting in Primarycub-scouts-488116-gallery

In the introductory paragraphs a sentence has been added: “Careful planning is necessary to ensure that activities accomplish gospel-centered purposes.” Further into the introduction a word was added: “Scouting activities and meetings for Primary-age boys are preferable held weekly in the daytime.”

For 11-year old Scouts, in 6.2 has changed a sentence about advancement to this: “They are encouraged to complete as many of the First Class rank requirements as possible before turning 12, with the exception of the requirements for six overnight camps.” The requirement for six overnights takes effect January 2016 as part of the 1st Class requirements and then this word change from “First” to “Second”: “Eleven-year-old Scouts may participate in three one-night camps a year, which meets the camping requirements for advancement to the rank of Second Class.” Also about those camps there is a change from “As” to “If” and dropped word: “If desired, these overnight camps [experiences] may be held with the ward’s Boy Scout troop.” And another dropped word: “The eleven-year-old Scout leader plans the [overnight] camps in consultation with the ward Primary presidency, the bishopric adviser to the Primary, and the ward Scouting committee.” Regarding fathers and sons camping these words were also dropped words: “Fathers are [invited and] encouraged to participate in [the] overnight camps [-ing experiences] with their sons and with boys whose fathers cannot attend.”

6.3 explains a Stake or Ward’s role in Day Camps; words that were dropped: “If the BSA local council does not provide day camps or if they are not held within a reasonable travel distance [for Church members], a member of the ward or stake Primary presidency directs the organization of day camps.” To help plan these when a Ward or Stake chooses to run a day camp the planning guide
“(31374) is available at Church distribution centers” is no longer for sale but  “is available online at LDS.org”: “A Day Camp Guide for Eleven-Year-Old Scouts is available online at LDS.org.”

The Assistant Scoutmaster or Leader of the Patrol of Eleven-Year-Old Scouts, as explained in 6.4, should, according to this additional wording “Register with the BSA as the eleven-year-old Scout leader.” Also these words were dropped: “[Encourage and] Help each boy achieve the Faith in God Award and advance in Scouting,” implying that all boys should be on track to get the Award.

Lastly in 6.5 Ward Primary Presidency has an added duty with these added words: “Coordinate Scouting with the Faith in God program to maintain a gospel focus.”

SECTION 7.0 Awards and Recognition

CubsIn the previous edition it states: “Faith in God Award. Cub Scouts and Webelos Scouts can earn the Faith in God Award by completing the requirements contained in the Faith in God for Boys guidebook. Boys of other faiths may also earn the award by completing the requirements.” This is fully revised with this publication: “Faith in God Award. Primary boys and boys of other faiths, ages 8 through 10, can earn the BSA Religious Square Knot Award by completing the requirements in the Faith in God for Boys guidebook marked by the square knot icon.

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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5 thoughts on “A Closer Look at the New LDS Scouting Handbook—Part 1

  1. Robert Ault

    Are there any articles about traveling to camp on Sunday and why are we are limiting the number of camp outs that an eleven year-old scout can attend?

    Our troop is located in an area where summer camps are located more than four hours from our town. We have been traveling up on Saturday and attending Church near where the camp is located. Is there an issue at being at the summer camp on Sunday?

    Reply
    1. Darryl AlderDarryl Alder

      Robert
      The LDS Scouting Handbook states: “6.2 Scouting for 11-Year-Olds

      Latter-day Saint boys become Boy Scouts when they turn 11. Although they are part of the ward Scout troop, they function in their own patrol and operate under the direction of the ward Primary presidency. They can participate with the ward Boy Scout troop in occasional daytime activities meet separately from the Aaronic Priesthood–age Scouts because they are …not yet part of a quorum. …Eleven-year-old Scouts participate in rank advancement. They are encouraged to complete as many of the First Class rank requirements as possible before turning 12, with the exception of the requirement for six overnight camps.

      Eleven-year-old Scouts may participate in three one-night camps a year, which meets the camping requirements for advancement to the rank of Second Class. If desired, these overnight camps may be held with the ward’s Boy Scout troop. The eleven-year-old Scout leader plans the camps in consultation with the ward Primary presidency, the bishopric adviser to the Primary, and the ward Scouting committee. No other Scout-sponsored overnight camping should be planned for eleven year-old Scouts.”

      Going to a long term camp seems like violation of this stated policy, but troops that are in close proximity to a long term camp, may enjoy several days of day camping with one stay-over during the week. Having been an 11 year old scout leader for many years, I can tell you I would not want to use up the three days all at once, but spread them over the year to keep the boys excited.

      “8.12 Camping and Sabbath Day Observance
      Keeping the Sabbath day holy is a commandment of the Lord and the practice of the Church. The Church does not approve of hiking and camping trips on Sunday. Scout groups should not travel to or from camps on Sunday. Plans for outings should ensure that Aaronic Priesthood brethren and other members can fulfill their regular Church assignments.

      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. Members who attend such events are not to participate in activities that are inappropriate for the Sabbath. Scout uniforms may be worn during sacrament services at these events.

      Sacrament meetings are not to be held—and the sacrament is not to be administered—outside the boundaries of the ward or stake where the priesthood leaders preside. Any exceptions must be approved by a member of the Presidency of the Seventy.

      Scouting events (except approved long-term camps) are not held on Monday evening, the night designated for family home evening.”

      None of our camps are in a position to police LDS Church policy, so if your chartered organization allows it we can make arrangements for early arrival, however we offer very limited service on Saturday afternoon and Sundays we keep the sabbath.

      We will work with you, but hope your Bishop has given the nod to stay over Sunday. We cannot offer your unit a sacrament service; our camp staffs staying at camp travel to town for those services.

      Reply
  2. Dan Brown

    Is it acceptable for 11 year old scouts to attend summer camp if their fathers are staying overnight at the camp as well?

    Reply
    1. Denise M.

      “Eleven-year-old Scouts may participate in three one-night camps a year”. Summer camp is not a one-night camp. Having dad along does not make it a family camp out; summer camp is a BSA-sponsored, troop-centered camping experience. This question comes up regularly in our stake; as a commissioner, I’ve had to deliver this “bad news” several times. Individuals can always choose not to follow the church’s policies (and some do), but the policy is what it is.

      Reply
      1. Darryl AlderDarryl Alder

        Denise
        Please see the comment above to Robert’s query. You are right that “Eleven-year-old Scouts may participate in three one-night camps a year” and that “Summer camp is not a one-night camp.” However it can a series of day camps with one overnighter. The LDS Scouting Handbooks states: “6.2 Scouting for 11-Year-Olds.

        Eleven-year-old Scouts may participate in three one-night camps a year, which meets the camping requirements for advancement to the rank of Second Class. If desired, these overnight camps may be held with the ward’s Boy Scout troop.” It’s the last part of that quote that presents the problem.

        If the 11 year old patrol came to summer camp each day during the week, they might stay overnight as a group one night using one of the three nights. Furthermore, none of our employees are in a position to police or send someone home.

        One year several women stayed overnight with their Scouts at Adventure Park even though the handbooks says they cannot. They said they did not have Priesthood support so I backed away from sending their boys back home.

        It seems for every rule in the handbook, someone tries to find and exception. An 11 year old father and son campout during summer camp is problematic, since their boys are not part of the quorum and the father and son do not constitute a patrol. There really is no place for them there, we do however run provisional camps for individual boys attend to camp without thier troop

        Reply

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