By Maloree Anderson
Jun 27, 2019

Why Church Members Should Use Scouting to Complement the New Youth Initiative

In May 2018, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints announced that they will be launching a new youth initiative in 2020. This means the Church will no longer be a chartered partner with the Boy Scouts of America. However, that doesn’t mean Church members can’t take advantage of the benefits of Scouting for their children and youth.

In fact, according to what we do know, Scouting can complement this inspired initiative. Let’s look at the facts:

FACT #1: Scouting Complements the Goals of the New Initiative

An article published in Church News quoted Elder Ronald A. Rasband of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles,

“This new initiative is not only going to point them all to our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, it’s going to give opportunities for large gatherings and personal development through goals and achievement of goals.”

To clarify, he mentions three points: 1) point youth to Jesus Christ, 2) gather together, and 3) personal development through goals. Sound familiar?

2019 Duty to God Buffalo Award
  1. The Scouting program has and continues to encourage its youth to practice their Duty to God. Through Scouting’s Duty to God program, Latter-day Saint Scouts will be pointed to their Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
  2. Next, the initiative will give “opportunities for large gatherings.” How does Scouting offer large gatherings? Well, if you look into the structure of units (i.e. packs and/or troops), part of Scouting is camping and participating in activities as a unit. Scouting encourages gathering Scouts together to build friendships and learn team work. Plus, the Council offers multiple exceptional camps that can host large gatherings.
  3. Last, youth will develop personally through goals. Did you know that merit badges are more than just earning awards? They’re a process in which a Scout personally develops through learning skills, building confidence, and achieving goals (or merit badges). That’s right, they’re not just patches on a uniform. They are individual goals set and achieved by Scouts.

FACT #2: Both Focus on the Family

The article continues, stating: The new initiative will allow local leaders and families to customize their weekday activities, service opportunities, camps and other outdoor activities to meet the needs of children and youth rather than prescribed requirements.

Notice how they mention families? Great news, the Boy Scouts of America is now serving the ENTIRE family. As of February 2019, the entire family (moms, dads, brothers, sisters, grandparents, everyone!) can participate in some aspect of Scouting. Plus, Scouting implements weekly activities which includes service, camping, and many outdoor activities. Scout Me In and join today!

FACT #3: Scouting Provides Outdoor Experiences

In May 2018, a New Initiative for Children and Youth Development FAQ came out about the new youth initiative. Since camping has played a huge role in the current youth programs, many people want to know, will youth still go camping?

Will camps and other outdoor activities be part of the new experience in 2020?

Yes. Camps and other outdoor activities will be an important part of gospel learning, building relationships, and strengthening faith in Jesus Christ. Children and youth may participate in Primary day camps, Young Women camps, Young Men camps, and high adventure activities. Local leaders, youth, and parents will identify and provide outdoor activities that invite spiritual experiences and meet the needs of their children and youth.

Click here to see the full list of FAQs.

This is great news for people who have seen the awesome spiritual and physical benefits of spending time in nature. And Scouting is all about being in the great outdoors! So, where can members of the Church and Scouts go camping?

If you don’t know already, Council camps are open year-round for all your Scouting needs. Take advantage of these unique and accessible camps as you do your annual planning. Every month, choose from multiple camps conveniently located throughout central and southern Utah.

So, put the
and go camping today!

FACT #4: Church Youth Can Choose Scouting to Meet Goals

The new initiative is being tested in locations around the world. A young woman who has been participating in the test, Maribelle, says “It kind of brings every aspect to be more spiritual and closer to Heavenly Father. We can bring school activities or other activities—sports, art classes, music—it kind of ties it all together.”

From what we understand, the new initiative takes different aspects of children and youth’s lives and teaches them how they can use that aspect to become closer to their Heavenly Father. If sports, music, and art classes can be considered an aspect or activity, why can’t Scouting?

“This is going to be an exciting, wonderful enhancement to everything we have done before,” said Elder Ronald A. Rasband of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles.

Partners to Friends

There is no doubt that the Church’s decision to organize and deliver an initiative that serves children and youth worldwide was divine.

“As the Church continues to grow and the world continues to change, the time is right for a simplified, personalized approach to helping children and youth.”

Elder Ronald A. Rasband of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles

Referring to the Worldwide Children and Youth Initiative on Track for 2020 article, it mentions that for years the Church has been preparing for a better way to universally “teach and provide leadership and development opportunities to all children and youth, to support families and to strengthen youth everywhere as they develop faith in the Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

Elder Holland at the 2017 Jamboree

Shortly after the historic announcement, Elder Holland spoke at the 2018 National Annual Meeting, “There has been considerable anguish at the highest levels of the Church as we have made this decision. But we hope there can be comfort and understanding as we move forward.” He continues with, “This isn’t a divorce. This is sending kids off to college, in Stockholm and Johannesburg and all around the world. Right now in the Church there are 4.5 million young people. We have a very large responsibility to a very large Church and it’s getting larger. That’s the arena and the growth that we’re facing. We are obligated for all the right reasons to intentionally reach them around the world.

The time has come that the Church must serve its entire youth around the world with a common curriculum. This is a good thing and Scouting can be a resource for this new plan.

The Utah National Parks Council wholeheartedly supports the Church’s forthcoming initiative for children and youth. Currently, the Council is planning how Scouting can complement this inspired initiative. As parents and leaders identify the wide range of needs among their children and youth, be assured that Scouting is ready to help them on their terms and to support them in what they want to accomplish.

The Church honors Scouting organizations for their continued goal to develop character and instill values in youth. The lives of hundreds of thousands of young men, along with their families and communities, have been blessed by Scouting organizations worldwide.

Church Announces Plan for Worldwide Initiative for Children and Youth

Read more about how Scouting can be be a resource for Members of the Church.

Author: Maloree Anderson | is a photographer, graphic designer, mom of one, friend of Scouting and Marketing Manager with the Utah National Parks Council, Boy Scouts of America.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

16 thoughts on “Why Church Members Should Use Scouting to Complement the New Youth Initiative

  1. AvatarMike Ball

    I love the concepts here, and I agree that Scouting compliments the new Youth Initiative.

    But, one big mistake in this article. You keep using the words ” new youth program”.
    The new initiative is not a program. The Church never calls it a program.
    Last week at Philmont I was able to visit with people who are piloting the new initiative. They were careful to correct us when we used the word “program” to describe the new initiative.
    When I got home, I checked the Church’s site, and sure enough, the Church never refers to it as a “program”.

    From what I was able to tell, the text and videos on that site pretty much describe the full initiative.
    It’s family centered, church supported.
    It’s goal focused. Whatever the youth wants to become.

    And Scouting is a great compliment to the new initiative!

    1. AvatarMaloree Anderson Post author

      Mike, thank you so much for informing us. You’re right. I went back through the Church’s resources and didn’t find the use of the word “program.” I have updated the article to reflect your suggestion.

    1. AvatarMaloree Anderson Post author

      You’re welcome! We work hard to continuously provide information for our friends in Scouting.

  2. AvatarGary S. Miller

    Why Church Members Should not Use Scouting as a Resource for the New Youth Initiative.

    Official Church Notice Dated December 14, 2018. States that :

    “The Church (including individual stakes, wards, or branches) will not be a sponsor for any newly formed packs or troops.”

    “Church leaders should not refer adults or recruit adults or youth at any time; neither should Church
    leaders distribute materials to those who might be interested in remaining in Scouting.”

    “Church buildings or grounds should not be used for any form of recruiting for community packs
    and troops. After December 31, 2019, the Church will no longer be an official charter partner with
    the BSA, and Church meetinghouses and properties should no longer be used for Scout meetings
    or activities.”

    1. AvatarMaloree Anderson Post author

      Gary, yes that is correct. However, those quotes are referring to the Church sponsoring units and Scouts. The article is explaining how Church members such as youth and families can do Scouting as an extracurricular activity like sports and/or arts. The new initiative supposedly teaches youth how to grow closer to their Lord and Savior through said activities.

    2. AvatarMarc Arnoldsen

      I think this just means the church is no longer officially sponsoring or requiring scouting for its youth and doesn’t want church leaders recruiting, making it look like the church is still an official sponsor. Church leaders, including Elder Holland, have said the church still loves and supports scouting for the great program that it is and is not discouraging its youth from being involved. I couldn’t agree more with the article’s conclusion that the scouting program will be a great (hard to beat) option for youth and their families, going forward, in the church’s family-centered, church-supported youth initiative. Where else will they find a well-rounded, full-featured, fun program whose mission is to instill the values of the Scout Oath and Law with character development, citizenship, fitness and leadership achievement as its aims and with its first duty our duty to God?

    3. AvatarMike McBride

      Exactly correct! The Mormon leaders is executing a divorce, without using the word divorce.

      They are physically divorcing themselves, by kicking Troops, Packs, Crews and Ships out of their facilities.
      They are financially divorcing themselves.
      They are socially divorcing themselves.
      They are spiritually divorcing themselves, because an absent parent cannot have an impact on their youth.

      They are too cowardly to admit that it is a divorce. I guess they’ll call it a “trial separation” or some such nonsense. The youth know what it is, and they have told us. Locally I have seen several Life Scouts move their membership to non-LDS organizations to complete their projects and Boards of Review. They chose not to have a Court of Honor in their meeting house, because it was frowned upon by local elders. They know it is a divorce. You cannot fool the kids. They can tell how much they are valued.

  3. AvatarKason Goodrich

    The large gatherings Elder Rasband is referring to are For the Strength of Youth Conferences. These conferences will be run by the Church and staffed by young single adults. I don’t think using Elder Rasband’s quote supports your stance for point number 2.

  4. AvatarMeleana

    I can’t help but wonder why there are members of the Church of Jesus Christ of latter-Day Saints who seem resistant to embrace the Boy Scouts of America for what it has to offer. A law that helps an individual to be trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean and reverent. An oath, by honor that an individual will do their best to do their duty to God & their country. To help other people at all times, live the law (stated above), to be physically fit, mentally awake & morally straight. To be with others who pledge allegiance to their country’s flag. In America, it’s to the Republic, for which it stands, One nation Under God, indivisible with liberty & justice for all. The Boy Scouts of America’s mission is to help youth to learn to be good citizens in their family, neighborhood & community. I don’t see the Boy Scouts of America as a religion, but a program, that it so encompassing.
    I’m perplexed over many views that are freely offered. Thank you for sharing your insight. I look forward to learning more of what the Church of Jesus Christ of latter-Day Saints will be doing with their members, particularly the youth, in the near future.

    1. AvatarMaloree Anderson Post author

      Meleana, I agree. And I too am excited to learn more about the Church’s new initiative.

  5. AvatarKim Cliften

    There’s definitely foresight in this from the prophet that we may not see yet… Just like when the family proclamation was stated in 1995 and many wondered why such basic principles of the family needed to be shared, and look today at how valuable it is with all the confusion of the world. My husband and I have loved the scouting program for our boys and are so grateful they have or will have their Eagle rank in the next couple months. However when the leaders of the Church of Jesus Christ spoke, I firmly believe it was the voice of a prophet, lead by God who knows the future and can direct future problems that may come about with the different views the Boy Scouts of America have made within the last couple years adopting a morally popular stance of the world. In my opinion the phrase morally straight has been defined many different ways and many will feel that they need to accommodate everyone’s views and we want them to have their freedom to do that without infringing on the principles of the Gospel and the commandments. There are other changes that really alter the traditions of combining genders on campouts etc. So although I’m grateful for the scouting program and thousands of leaders who have given so much of their time, it has fulfilled it’s purpose with the church and our young men.

    1. AvatarMaloree Anderson Post author

      Kim, great thoughts. I fully believe that the Scouting program had its purpose within the Church and I fully agree that what the leaders of the Church are doing now is divine revelation. Thank you for your perspective.

  6. AvatarR. A Maschek

    I am one of those that was saddened when the Church decided to stop sponsoring Scout Troops. At the same time, I fully support it. Being the “designated heir,” I have certificates of 3 generations of Silver Beaver awards. My great grandfather was affectionately, and official referred to as “Anonymous” by the District leader for years. I have been a registered scouter, as a scout and leader since 1975. Even laying the foundation for a BSA Council in Iraq, with other service members, in hopes that someday American families would be there, and it would already be established to support them. My brothers and I love/loved Scouting. I only have 2 nephews (my youngest brothers sons) who have not earned their Eagles (ages 9 & 12)
    My son was in a community Troop several times during his scouting career, because he was often one of only 2-3 scouts in our military ward. I, and my wife, have been reprimanded multiple times because we did not “pass off” our scouts when it was time for them to advance (we never even met one of our Webelos, but were told to pass him off for his Arrow of Light and Webelos badge, because he was about to turn 12. The excuse: he was too busy doing other activities to come to scouts!) It took my son an extra year to receive his Eagle, because I required him to make the phone calls himself, to set up the appointment for his board. His worst year of scout camp, was when he came home, having “earned” 13 merit badges in 4 days. 3 of which, I know require at least 3 months of record keeping. He got frustrated when I required him to earn more than “necessary” to compensate for those.
    I am sad/glad to see the Church leaving Scouting. I fully support those parents who will keep their kids in Scouting. I just hope that they are parents that see scouting as an accomplishment and not a “Rite of Passage” Too many Church Eagles have no idea what they did to “earn” it. In the end, I know that in the last 10 years, I have gotten away from the church’s traditional view of how scouting is done, and my boys love it. My biggest concern with official scouting, is how far away from Lord Baden Powell’s vision has it drifted, and how much does that conflict with what For the Strength of Youth teaches?

  7. AvatarBryan Wilson

    Scouting is dying. It is sad to watch as I grew up with scouting at the core of my youth. I am an Eagle Scout, was an Assistant Lodge Chief under the OA, I worked for the Council for many years at Camp Tracy and Cub Camps. It defined so much for me in my life. Sadly, I have watched much of that disappear in scandal and courtrooms. I have seen requirements be lowered for certain achievements, and bureaucracy increase for leaders.

    The BSA is no longer what it used to be. Where are the principles of Baden Powell? Would he recognize what Scouts BSA even is? Would he approve? I fought for many years to keep scouting alive with our youth but have finally reached a point where it is time to put it down. I do so with tears and much emotion but it is time.

    For those who wish to continue, I hope you still find ways of making it work for you. The framework of the program remains but the Spirit is just not the same, the meaning of the achievement lessened. Perhaps, as suggested, when used as a supplement to new initiatives offered by the Church there is still some hope. We will not be placing our kids in another community troop or pack unless we see benefit for it after the new initiative is fully implemented. I will cherish my time with the Boy Scouts of America. Perhaps some day my Grand kids will understand what it meant to me. I don’t think they will know what a Boy Scout is, was or should have been. I feel I have lost a dear friend.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.