By Maria Milligan
Oct 07, 2016

How to Use Program Features as LDS Youth-Serving Leaders

Being called as a Scout leader in your ward can be overwhelming, especially if you have little experience with the program. Knowing where to turn for ideas, resources, training, and help will make a big difference in how comfortable you are with your new calling and how prepared you are to help the young men in your stewardship.

You can take online training to get you started and find out what you need to do beforehand, but what about those weekly activities? How do you go about making sure these young men have a quality program to help them mature and grow?

One of your most valuable resources will be the Program Features for Troops, Teams, and Crews, available at your local Scout shop . PDFf samples are below:

 Volume 1  Volume 2,  Volume 3
Volume 1 Volume 2 Volume 3

These books offer weekly activity plans, sample agendas, and guidance for what an activity will look like and what it should accomplish.They will be an invaluable resource for you and your youth as you plan exciting, meaningful activities that will help the young men in your stewardship grow into men of God. The Program Features series provides 48 activity themes, from backpacking and rappelling to wilderness survival and technology. Each of these themes include detailed activity plans and suggestions for adapting to the needs of your quorum.

They are also split into three experience levels: green (beginner), blue (intermediate), and black diamond (advanced). If you are working with the deacons quorum, you can follow the green track to introduce your young men to new skills and hobbies while helping them advance on the trail to Eagle.

For teachers and priests, you will want to take a different approach. These older boys are often not as interested in advancement as the deacons. They are also emotionally and physically capable of facing more challenging obstacles and learning difficult skills. The blue and black diamond tracks will push them beyond their comfort zones while keeping them interested in healthy, productive activities. By using a variety of themes from this book, you can help your young men stay active and involved in church activities through a critical time in their growing years. Young men who actively participate in their quorum will be more likely to serve missions, receive the Melchizedek Priesthood, and become worthy husbands and fathers.

Here are some ideas for using these themes as part of your annual planning process:

Step one—Gather the following key information:

  • Key school dates, like holidays and exams
  • Community event dates, like school dances, graduation, etc.
  • Key church calendar dates such as youth conference or commemorative events
  • Personal dates that may affect the quorum’s activities, such as the advisor’s vacation
  • Key district and council activity dates
  • The team resources survey (see this adapted survey from Mat Greenfield),  Program Capability Inventory Information sheets (PCI), or Activity Interest Surveys
  • Last year’s annual plan, if you have one
  • Advancement records for quorum members

Step two—Meet with the quorum presidency to explain the planning process and help them lead. Share key information and make sure they are familiar with the program features. Discuss options for programs and activities and the quorum’s goals. Ask for input.

Step three—Set quorum goals and make a draft of the calendar with key dates

Step four—Invite the following people to attend the conference:

  • All quorum members
  • Scout committee members, Young Men presidency and advisors
  • Member of the bishopric
  • Unit commissioner
  • Anyone else who might be helpful, such as parents

Step five—Hold the conference. This should be led by the quorum president with support from his counselors. Adult leaders should mediate and mentor as necessary. Use the conference to create an annual calendar, assigning program feature topics to each month and scheduling courts of honor, the yearly long-term camp, service projects, leader meetings, and activity ideas. Follow these steps in annual planning:

  1. Discuss the quorum’s goals for the year, write them down and agree to the goals.
  2. Share a printed draft of the calendar with all important dates and scheduled activities so far. Discuss the content.
  3. The quorum presidency shares updates from members about what they want to do and brainstorms program feature themes and activities for the year. Be sure to refer back to the goals frequently. As the group agrees on program themes and activities, write them on a master calendar.
  4. Add quorum presidency meetings, boards of review, courts of honor, service projects, fundraisers, and any other important items to the calendar.
  5. Take a vote for approval of the calendar from the quorum members. Once they have approved it, it goes to the Scout committee for final approval. Make sure you reserve the space you need in church and at camp for the activities the youth have planned.

Step six—Share your annual plan with the family of each quorum member, the bishop, other quorums in the Young Men, and any other interested parties.

For more resources, click here.

Maria Milligan


Author: Maria Milligan | Grant Writer, Utah National Parks Council, BSA.


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