By Kimball Vaughn
Jan 04, 2018

Program Feature for LDS Youth: Technology

Better Living Through Technology & Innovation

Technology is all around us, from our homes to our schools to the great outdoors. While we tend to think of technology as the latest electronic gadget, any invention that makes our lives easier could be
considered an application of technology. The cellphone in your pocket is an example of technology, but so is the high-tech fabric of your pants—and so is the technology that allowed your pants to be mass-produced and shipped to your favorite store.

This article features the program module from Program Features for Troops, Teams and Crews Volume 1. (You can also read this article for more information on how to plan using the program resources).

Technology has produced incredible tools and devices that make our lives more interesting and fun. This month’s meetings and outings will focus on some that relate to your life in Scouting.

Volume 1 Volume 2 Volume 3

Meeting Plans & Ideas: Technology

This month’s activities should:

  • Define technology.
  • Allow youth to become familiar with technology used in the Church.
  • Teach youth to be safe while using technology.
  • Make youth better leaders in the use of technology.
  • Demonstrate how technology is developed and how it affects society.
  • Encourage youth to be better technology consumers.

As a leadership team, you may want to discuss the following items when choosing technology as your program feature during your planning meetings.

Troop Meeting Planning Form
Click above for fillable troop meeting planning form.
  • What areas of technology do we want to focus on?
  • Who do we know who could help facilitate this month’s meetings and activities?
  • Who in our unit has earned a Nova or Supernova award?
  • Do we want to focus on the Nova and Supernova awards this month?
  • Should we incorporate completion of the Cyber Chip into this month’s meetings?
  • What changes should we make to the sample meeting plans that would fit our needs better?




Preopening Ideas on Troop Program Resources

  • As youth arrive, have them watch a technology-related video that involves transportation or transportation technology.
  • Have early arrivers review the Cyber Chip requirements for their age group. See Have early arrivers review the Cyber Chip requirements for their age group.
  • As youth arrive, work with them to develop strong but memorable passwords they can use online. A good technique is to take a memorable sentence and convert it into a password. For example, “I had a blast at the 2013 Especially For Youth!” becomes Ihab@t2013EFY!.
  • Invite early arrivers to read the “Ask the Gear Guy” column from Boys’ Life magazine to learn more about technological advances in outdoor gear.


Opening Ideas on Troop Program Resources


Transportation and Energy

  • Define technology as inventions that aid daily life. Discuss how technology affects society and how society affects technology. Explain how new technology tends to replace old technology, and brainstorm where technology could go in the future.

Cyber Chip and GPS

  • Review how the Scout Law relates to cybersafety and cyberbullying.
  • Watch one or more videos from the NetSmartz® Workshop website about staying safe online.


  • Discuss the evolution of long-distance communication, including smoke signals, semaphore, telegraph, telephone, cellphone, and smartphone.
  • Discuss the safety risks of using smartphones (such as texting while driving or walking).

High-tech Camping

  • Have someone who has been camping for decades discuss how camping technology has evolved since he or she started camping.
  • If possible, share information from an early Boy Scout handbook, such as a reprint of the 1911 Handbook for Boys, to demonstrate the technology early youth used.


3 Categories

Transportation and Energy

  • ChallengingDesign and build a working model vehicle (not from a kit). For guidance, see the Boy Scout Nova module, “Start Your Engines”.

  • AdvancedList energy sources currently used in transportation technology.
  • Discuss alternative sources of energy.
  • Discuss the pros and cons of using alternative energy.

Cyber Chip and GPS

  • EssentialWith a GPS receiver for each participant, do the following:
    — Learn about global positioning satellites
    — Understand how latitude and longitude are represented in GPS devices
    — Explore the basic functions of the GPS receiver
    — Compare GPS usage to the usage of map and compass
    Note: Ideally, all GPS receivers should be the same model. If a variety of receivers is used, the instructor needs to be familiar with each model.

  • ChallengingReview the above information.
  • Learn how to program a route using multiple waypoints into a GPS receiver.

  • AdvancedReview the above information.
  • Learn the science behind personal locator beacons. Discuss the difference between latitude and longitude and the Universal Transverse Mercator (UTM) coordinate system. Discuss when each system is preferable.
  • Convert latitude and longitude coordinates into UTM coordinates.


  • EssentialExplore the evolution of the telephone.
  • If possible, show examples or pictures of the following devices: hand-crank telephone (using a switchboard), dial telephone, push-button phone, cordless phone, original cellphone (“brick phone”), flip phone, and smartphone.

  • ChallengingUsing a smartphone, demonstrate the basic functions of:
    — making a phone call
    — setting a calendar date
    — sending a text
    — finding an address
    — checking the weather
  • Share your favorite apps within the group.
    Note: Depending on the experience of the group, you may want to cover more advanced functions.

  • AdvancedLearn what it takes to develop an app, including how apps are coded and uploaded to an app store.
  • Brainstorm ideas of an app that would be useful to your group.

High-tech Camping

  • EssentialUse outdoor magazines, catalogs, and websites to research the technologies used in the Scout Basic Essentials and other basic camping gear.
  • Discuss when it’s appropriate to pay more for higher tech gear.

  • ChallengingLearn about the technology involved in camp stoves and camp lanterns.
  • Discuss the safety features required for gear that uses flammable materials.
  • Discuss when it’s appropriate to pay more for higher tech gear.

  • AdvancedUse outdoor magazines, catalogs, and websites to find the ultimate high-tech camping gear, such as extremely light sleeping bags or camp stoves with USB ports.
  • See who can come up with the most amazing (or ridiculous) application of technology for camping.
  • Discuss when it’s appropriate to pay more for higher tech gear.


Getting Ready for the Main Event

  • Menu Planning (if applicable)
  • Duty Roster Planning (if applicable)
  • Patrols discuss what special items they will need for the main event.

Preparation for the meeting’s game or challenge


Library of Games and Challenges on Troop Program Resources

  • Photo Scavenger Hunt
    – Materials: For each team, a smartphone and a computer with Internet access
    – Method: Teams go around the meeting place and photograph an assigned list of items (e.g., tree), actions (e.g., high five), and/or concepts (e.g., happy). They then upload their photos to an assigned multimedia website like Flickr, Instagram, or Facebook.
    – Scoring: The first team to upload its photos wins.
    Variation: Assign more subjects than teams have time to photograph. They will then have to manage their time in order to shoot and upload as many photos as possible. The most photos uploaded wins.
  • Find What They Hid
    – Materials: For each team, a GPS receiver and an object to hide
    – Method: Teams hide objects, noting the GPS coordinates. They then give those coordinates to other teams to find the hidden object.
    Scoring: Award points to teams that find objects, as well as to those who have their objects found.
    Note: To increase the challenge, don’t identify the objects. Instead, give GPS coordinates and clues or riddles that hint at what the objects are.
  • Tech Timeline
    – Materials: For each patrol, a set of 15 to 20 cards showing milestones in the history of technology (e.g., the first telephone call, the introduction of the Model T, the first personal computer
    – Method: Before the game, tape or pin each team’s cards in random order on one wall of the room. Teams line up relay style at the other end of the room. On signal, the first player on each team runs forward and relocates two cards to be in the correct order. He or she then runs back to tag the next player, who can also relocate two cards. Continue playing until one team declares it has put its cards in the right order. If they’re correct, they win.
    – Scoring: First team to put its cards in correct order wins.
    Note: An Internet search for “technology timeline” will turn up plenty of milestones to put on the cards.


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