By Darryl Alder
Dec 17, 2015

LDS/BSA Summit: Adapting and Implementing Scouting for LDS Purposes

LDS Scouting Summit

Larry Gibson, Western Region President, welcoming summit attendees

(This is part 3 of an 8 part report. You can read the other posts here:

Tuesday December 8th, eighty-nine Scouters and professional staff met at the Joseph Smith Memorial Building for a day-long summit in Salt Lake City.  Under the leadership of Larry Gibson, Western Region President, the meeting convened to explore what the key issues are facing The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and the Boy Scouts of America.

Participants divided into five groups of eight to ten to discuss how to help with these five subjects: ownership of Scouting within the LDS Church, service and communication, leadership training, technology and funding. In this post I will report on the first subject:

Adapting and Implementing Scouting for LDS Purposes

Before the meeting, Scout Executives from the intermountain area compiled these discussion topics:

  • LDS church leaders will, as always, select their own Scout leaders based on church standards.
  • BSA employees and volunteers are obligated to ensure Scouting helps stakes and wards meet their goals.
  • The best way to accomplish this is to facilitate open, productive communication between Scouting representatives and stake presidents and bishops.
  • Scouting representatives should listen to the specific needs expressed by stake and ward leaders as they share their vision for youth in local wards. The BSA should then assist the stake and ward with all available resources in adapting and implementing that vision.

In their report, this discussion group concluded that the single best way to help the BSA and the LDS Church is to let Church leadership take full ownership of Scouting. This begins with a strong connection between council leadership and the local Area Seventy. Then working through that Seventy’s coordinating council, actual stake presidents will govern Scouting services. But first and foremost Seventies need to take an active interest in Scouting. There should be some time at coordinating council meetings to discuss Scouting, even if it is only a moment or two on the agenda.

Councils need to establish an LDS Relationships Committee to represent all stake presidents within the council. Councils should offer training early on for new stake presidencies, stake primary presidencies and young men presidencies. It is paramount that Scouters help these leaders find a kind of conversion to Scouting as a tool to assist them in their youth programs, this rather than doing Scouting as a duty. 

At least annually a local Key 3 should visit with each stake presidency, asking what issues they might have and how Scouting can help them with their youth program needs. Working with the LDS-BSA Relationships office in Salt Lake, councils should assist every stake with an annual Little Philmont.

Since we want to ask chartered partners what they want, this needs to be a major task of councils with stakes and bishops. We need to know what parts and pieces of Scouting they need to accomplish their own objectives. Stakes need to count on and be able to ask for what they need—a stronger trust relationship needs to be established. 

Scouting needs to deliver facilities, expertise and manpower in a way that can meet the church’s needs for all of its youth and families. Things like camps, meeting facilities and training all need to be offered in ways the Church can use them. 

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.

Visit this blog site again tomorrow for a report on the group that discussed unified alignment, service and communication.

Darryl head BW


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


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