Major Changes for LDS Varsity Scouts and Venturers

scout-1

Kevin V. Hunt

Scouting Historian, Author, Blogger, Speaker, Scouting Veteran, and Camp Director

Well, the news today was rather shocking!  I got it just minutes after Deseret News published it as “Breaking News” and I saw it in an e-mail notification.   In a rare moment, I was able to get WIFI and news as I was about to begin my bus driving route in Mesa, Arizona for the morning. And there it was:  LDS Church to Drop Varsity and Venturing Programs.  Wow!

This really hit me hard because I have spent much of my life trying to promote the two programs through various roles.  And I have seen wonderful results as leaders have caught the vision and worked to implement the programs.

The official news came in the form of a First Presidency Letter from the First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.

Then on the LDS Church Newsroom I was able to read several questions and answers about the upcoming changes.

The “Deseret News” had additional links including Elder Holland comments as he discussed new LDS Scouting changes.   Another source of comments were from President Charles Dahlquist, former General Young Men President and currently the National Commissioner of the Boy Scouts of America. He said, “I see a loss, opportunity, ongoing relationship and irony.”   That kind of sums it up!

Hidden away – but attached to the First Presidency letter – in case you didn’t get that far in the article, were specific guidelines for future program activities for older young men in the United States and Canada.

Teacher and Priest Activity Program

May 11, 2017

“Building young men with strong testimonies in the Lord Jesus Christ, helping them magnify their priesthood duties and preparing to fulfill their divine roles is the purpose of the Young Men’s 14-18 activity program. Stake, ward, and quorum leaders should use Handbook 2: chapters 8 and 13, and counsel together on how to implement this activity program. Activities should provide opportunities to be with youth, connect them with heaven, and let them lead (see ymactivities.lds.org).

Principles:  Activities should:

• Provide belonging and support by strengthening quorum unity and building relationships with peers, leaders, and families (see Handbook 2, 13.1).

• Provide experiences that help young men fulfill their Aaronic Priesthood duties and their divine roles: − Accomplish the purposes of the Aaronic Priesthood (see Handbook 2, 8.1.3). − Develop temporal and spiritual self-reliance skills, such as time management, budgeting, and simple home and mechanical maintenance (see Handbook 2, 6.1.1). − Engage in becoming good citizens (see Handbook 2, 21.1.29).

• Be planned and executed by Aaronic Priesthood quorum leaders, with support from adult advisers (see Handbook 2, 13.2).

• Provide a balance of opportunities to serve others and to develop spiritually, socially, physically, and intellectually (see Luke 2:52; Handbook 2, 8.13.1; 13.2.6).

• Follow all Church safety and other policies and guidelines (see Handbook 2, 13.6). Activity Guidelines

• Develop an annual calendar to ensure a balance of purposeful spiritual, social, physical, and intellectual activities (see Handbook 2, 13.2.6). Ideas for meaningful quorum activities can be found at ymactivities.lds.org and in Handbook 2, 13.1.  (This is a really big thing – and probably the major key to success in former and new “programs”.  See below for more detail on the how and why … Kevin)

• Combined activities with young men and young women are particularly beneficial for youth ages 14 and older and could be held more frequently than once a month (see Handbook 2, 8.13.1).

• One youth conference or multiday high adventure activity should be held each year (see Handbook 2, 13.4). In addition, 2–3 overnight activities are also encouraged (see Handbook 2, 13.6.12)

And the good news is that boys (and leaders and parents) with self-motivated Scouting interest can still participate as Scouts and can earn their desired Eagle Scout Award.  Maybe we can wake up the sleeping giant known as the Troop Guide!  Wow!  Wouldn’t that be something.  I promise I’ll write more about this subject in future blog articles.

And in light of these principles, things really have not changed for the LDS Youth.  It’s all about Priesthood quorums, missionary preparation, quorum brotherhood, and creating a full year calendar of exciting and fun activities.  (I can help with some of those – Missionary in Training program for the home and family and program planning.  See my past blogs on this subject – now true they reference Varsity Scouting – but the underlying principles and processes are still true.  See

Planning the Annual Progam

Implementing the Planned Program

Having Fun with the Planned Program

Now, going forward, I guess it is up to each of us to use and create opportunities for growth, progress and testimony building.  As in the past, it is up to each of us to determine how we will move forward for the benefit of your youth ages 14-17.  So, what are you going to do about it?  That is the big question for all of us.

Best wishes along your Scouting Trails …  Kevinthescoutblogger

See this link for an introduction to Kevin the Scouting Trails Blogger.  Blogging articles have excerpts taken from Kevin’s many personal journals and Scouting Trails books including “MR. Scoutmaster!”, “Keys to Scouting Leadership,” “Gnubie to Eagle Scout”,  and others at his Scoutingtrails website.  Connect with Kevin and read his articles on Scouting blogsites such as The Boy ScoutThe Scouting Trail and the Voice of Scouting.  Feel free to comment on anything you read!  Find Kevin on Facebook at:  Scouting Trails Books and Blogs.

To explore or buy Kevin’s books on Amazon, go to: amazon.com/author/kevinhunt

Contact Kevin directly via email: kevin@scoutingtrails.com

@ 2017 Kevin V. Hunt

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Building young men with strong testimonies in the Lord Jesus Christ, helping them magnify their priesthood duties and preparing to fulfill their divine roles is the purpose of the Young Men’s 14-18 activity program. Stake, ward, and quorum leaders should use Handbook 2: chapters 8 and 13, and counsel together on how to implement this activity program. Activities should provide opportunities to be with youth, connect them with heaven, and let them lead (see ymactivities.lds.org). Principles Activities should: • Provide belonging and support by strengthening quorum unity and building relationships with peers, leaders, and families (see Handbook 2, 13.1). • Provide experiences that help young men fulfill their Aaronic Priesthood duties and their divine roles: − Accomplish the purposes of the Aaronic Priesthood (see Handbook 2, 8.1.3). − Develop temporal and spiritual self-reliance skills, such as time management, budgeting, and simple home and mechanical maintenance (see Handbook 2, 6.1.1). − Engage in becoming good citizens (see Handbook 2, 21.1.29). • Be planned and executed by Aaronic Priesthood quorum leaders, with support from adult advisers (see Handbook 2, 13.2). • Provide a balance of opportunities to serve others and to develop spiritually, socially, physically, and intellectually (see Luke 2:52; Handbook 2, 8.13.1; 13.2.6). • Follow all Church safety and other policies and guidelines (see Handbook 2, 13.6). Activity Guidelines • Develop an annual calendar to ensure a balance of purposeful spiritual, social, physical, and intellectual activities (see Handbook 2, 13.2.6). Ideas for meaningful quorum activities can be found at ymactivities.lds.org and in Handbook 2, 13.1. • Combined activities with young men and young women are particularly beneficial for youth ages 14 and older and could be held more frequently than once a month (see Handbook 2, 8.13.1). • One youth conference or multiday high adventure activity should be held each year (see Handbook 2, 13.4). In addition, 2–3 overnight activities are also encouraged (see Handbook 2, 13.6.12).

 

 

 

5 thoughts on “Major Changes for LDS Varsity Scouts and Venturers

    • Great article. Do you want me to add a link in my own blog? (But of course, that is published on Trapper Trails blogsite … let me know how I can help you. And you could probably find a way to publish my article if it is helpful to your council. But the red tape of such publication in The Boy Scout can be challenging!) Kevin

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  1. Pingback: LDS Varsity and Venturing Changes Underscore need for Missionary Training | Missionary in Training

    • Brother Aaron! Greetings! Thanks for writing me back. And thanks for reading my Missionaryintraining blogsite. I do actually want to write a blog specific to this subject and promise to do so in the next couple of weeks before I head to Scout Camp Thunder Ridge to work for the summer. But in a nutshell – and in real basic summary, the best answer is to have the boys serve in the leadership position of “Troop Guide”. Now you have probably not ever heard of this position because it really has not existed in the LDS church – because all of our boys move up to Varsity and Venturing at the specific ordination ages – and thus by-pass the Guide opportunity.

      The Troop Guide is a fabulous position but no one knows about it. The way it works, an older Scout is registered with the troop. And he is assigned a patrol – or serves at large in the troop to multiple patrols. He is an instructor. He is preassigned specific troop or patrol meetings to teach Scout Skills – or even merit badges. He does not have to attend every troop meeting but would be there at least once a month – but perhaps more. (If this is to occur, the troop meetings may need to be on a night other than the Teacher/Priest meetings so that he can go to both – or he would have to miss his Teacher/Priest meetings when assigned as an instructor. I find several job descriptions for the troop guide on-line. I believe that it is a flexible position that you can mold any way that you wish. Some of the core duties are: Troop Guide duties:
      • Create activities that are fun and interesting to the older boy patrols.
      • Work with ASM for the Older Boy Program in selecting merit badges to work on at weekend campouts.
      • Attend Patrol Leaders Council (PLC) meetings.
      • Prevent harassment of new Scouts by older Scouts.
      • Refresh older boy patrols in the basic Scout skills.
      • Regularly attends troop meetings, troop campouts, and troop events during his service period.
      • Set a good example.
      • Enthusiastically wear the Scout Uniform correctly.
      • Live by the Scout Oath and Law.
      • Show Scout spirit.
      Troop Guide – New Scout Patrol
      Job Description:
      To work actively with new Scouts in the Trail to First Class program. The Troop Guides introduce new Scouts to troop operations and helps them feel comfortable in the troop.

      So, the Guide would be a leader kind of between the Patrol Leader and the adult leaders. He could work specifically with the new Scout patrol – and in this role (kind of like a Den Chief – but to older Scouts) he would teach and train in specific Scout skills. He could do this with a group or with a couple of boys on their own. He could be perfect to work with two or three boys who are behind and need some individual attention. He could be preassigned to teach specific skills at troop meetings or campouts. If on a camp-out, he should not be there to goof off but again to teach specific skills, be the example, wear the uniform, etc. If you have a group of these kids, they could be their own patrol. If there are only a couple, let them cook and hang out with the adults when they are not teaching and training. Give them specific leadership tasks. Let me know if this helps. I do still plan to write a full blog on this subject in the next couple of weeks. I’ll for sure put it on thescoutingtrail.org but will try to remember to put it on missionaryintraiming.com as well. The Troop Guide is flexible enough for the troop to kind of custom design a role for each young man – with definite things that they should accomplish in their service – new Scout patrol, scout skills training at troop meetings and/or campouts, or individual assignment to specific Scouts.

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  2. Can you point me to any good information on how a scout pursuing an Eagle rank after turning 14 will be able to accomplish that? I know we could still register them in the troop as a scout, but how will they gain the required leadership time etc. Would they need to continue participating with the younger scouts? This question came up in our recent scout committee meeting.

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