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Changes in LDS Church Boy Scout Participation

The Church recently announced big changes in the activity programs for young men regarding participation in the Boy Scouts. Learn what those changes are and what they mean for the Church.

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On May 11, 2017, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints announced a significant change in the activity programs for young men between the ages of 14 and 18 in the United States and Canada. Starting January 1, 2018, these young men will no longer participate in the Venturing and Varsity Scouting programs offered by the Boy Scouts of America and Scouts Canada.

But why? According to the Mormon Newsroom press release “Questions and Answers about Changes to the Young Men Program,” the programs no longer meet the needs of the Church’s youth. Instead, young men in this age group and their leaders will plan and execute activities that “balance spiritual, social, physical and intellectual development goals for young men.”

The Church has made it clear that its decision to leave the Venturing and Varsity Scouting programs was not a result of the Boy Scouts of America’s treatment of LGBT issues: “The BSA has always allowed the Church to operate its programs in ways that are consistent with our standards and beliefs, and they have been very supportive. . . . The Church is always evaluating what is best for our youth and families, and will continue to do so.”

Although the Venturing and Varsity Scouting programs will no longer be used for the youth, the Church is not leaving the Boy Scouts organization altogether. Boys and young men between the ages of 8 and 13 in the United States and Canada will continue to participate in the Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts programs. Young men between the ages of 14 and 18 and their leaders should continue to carry out activities through the Boy Scouts until the beginning of 2018, in part to minimize the financial impact to the Boy Scouts organization. Eagle Scout and Queen Scout award completion is also still encouraged.

Because the Boy Scouts of America is not a global program, the Church is looking to create its own global program for young men and young women.

Read the entire series of questions and responses about the change for the Church and Boy Scouts of America in “Questions and Answers about Changes to the Young Men Program.”

Source: Mormon Newsroom

—Alyssa Gisseman Ball, Mormon Insights

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Find more insights

Read the official letter from the First Presidency that announced the changes in participation with Boy Scouts of America: “Discontinuation of Varsity and Venturing Programs in the Church.”

If you are having difficulty accepting changes in the Church, ponder the words from Elder Paul V. Johnson in his article “Responding Appropriately to Change.”

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