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
“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?
- 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.
- 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.
- 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
OUTING in SCOUTING
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?
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.“
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.