By Darryl Alder
Dec 18, 2015

LDS/BSA Summit: Unified Alignment and Service Model

This is part 4 of an 8-part report. You can read the other posts here:

Tuesday December 8th Scouters and professional staff gathered at the Joseph Smith Building in Salt Lake City’s Temple Square (see our view from the meeting room windows to the left).

The meeting was convened to explore the key issues facing The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and the Boy Scouts of America. The gathering consisted mostly of Council Key 3s from through out BSA’s Western Region.

In an earlier post, we reported that participants divided into five groups of eight to ten to discuss ways to adapt and implement Scouting for LDS purposes. Today we report on:

Unified Alignment and Service Model

Before the meeting, Scout Executives from the inter-mountain area compiled these discussion topics:

  • Because church leaders and Scouting representatives are partners in delivering the Scouting program and its benefits to local youth, they will be most effective if they are unified.
  • This partnership is best facilitated through frequent, productive communication, improved customer service on the part of BSA councils, and positive interpersonal relationships between Scouting representatives and LDS volunteers.
  • The BSA should work to support priesthood-driven goals by conforming to the church service structure and language.

In their report, this discussion group concluded that the most important thing we could do would be to focus on LDS “Key” holders, not our traditional service model. This means that connecting with bishops and stake presidents is more important than connecting with the chartered organization representatives and counselors in stake presidencies. It is paramount that we focus more on communication with these leaders than our traditional unit leaders and committee chairs.

The second action item for this group was that we allow flexibility of program services within the BSA brand for all LDS Scouting consumers. That means that stakes that may want to run youth conference or an Aaronic Priesthood Encampment at our camps should not be constrained to use the camp program as it has traditionally run. It also means that we need to devote as much effort to Varsity Scouting and Venturing as we do to Cub Scouting and Boy Scouting; these programs should not be treated like a unwanted step child.

Third, we should not be afraid to offer training using Church nomenclature rather than BSA terms (see chart in Knowing and Service Your LDS Partners). Within the Language of Scouting there are hundreds of terms for Scouters to learn, LDS leadership expects to be served on their terms without having to learn this language.  Council staff and volunteers need to learn and use LDS nomenclature.

Fourth, stake presidents should receive monthly stake reports. To foster a bit of competition, these could be comparative with other stakes in that coordinating council.

Fifth, we need to offer direct help for Stake Primary Presidents. These women are too often left alone to figure out how to be commissioners for packs and how to access or operate camps for 11-year old Scouts. Councils and districts need to recognize the stewardship of these women and support them as they would other commissioners, while recognizing that new Scouts are not really part of the ward’s regular troop.

Stephen W. Owen Young Men General President

Stephen W. Owen, Young Men General President (right), with his Counselor and their spouses

These five action ideas were reported once to the on-site group and then again when 50 other participants joined us for an online summary. President Owens, Young Men General President, and one of his counselors joined us for these reports. He said to the group, “This is about working with one another—it is about relationships.” He explained that if we just see one boy and what is best for him our program will meet the needs of the Church much better. He said we are about “helping every boy be the best he can be.” He reminded the group that the Church is led by a living prophet, who holds keys. He asked if we represent his decision at this time to be fully engaged in Scouting. “Let’s move forward with those who hold keys to help boys to become the men they need to be,” He said. Then he thanked us all for our time, our mind and our heart.

Visit this blog site again Monday for a report on the next part of the meeting

Darryl head BW

Author: Darryl Alder | Director of Strategic Initiatives, Utah National Parks Council, BSA.


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2 thoughts on “LDS/BSA Summit: Unified Alignment and Service Model

  1. Pingback: Charles Dahlquist on why the Church sticks with Scouting, and so does he – Scouting in the OC

  2. Pingback: Charles Dahlquist on why the Church sticks with Scouting, and so does he – Scouting in the OC

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