LDS Scouting leader sees a loss, opportunity, ongoing relationship and irony

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  • Dame Salt Lake City, UT
    May 15, 2017 7:48 a.m.

    I have worked in many the stages of the scouting program from Cub Scouts to Varsity scouts for many years. I have seen first hand the blessings of the scouting program. It helped my son prepare for his mission better than Duty to God or Mission Preparation Classes. It helped him prepare for College better than Duty to God. I have seen missionary opportunities that will now be lost. I have former scouts that have been helped in their careers and the military because of receiving their Eagle. Very few scouts get their Eagle by age 14, even though they will register older scouts that want to continue in scouting it will be much harder for boys to achieve rank advancement. The scouting program works if it is done right. Changing the program will not change the leaders. The young men I have talked to who have reviewed the new program are not excited at all. There is so much good that can not be matched by the new program. My heart is so sad.

  • ulvegaard Medical Lake, Washington
    May 14, 2017 8:25 p.m.

    I think that we can spend the next many years discussing our theories on they why's and where-fores. Such time might be entertaining, but what we have before us is opportunity and as always, choices.

    Whether or not scouting is dissolving in the church because of people not stepping up and running the program as outlined (i.e. negligence in their callings), or wishing to stear clear of the gay issues, youth having other interests after age 14. Perhaps certain of these possibilities rings true for different people.

    The church constantly re-evaluates itself and how effective it is in its primary mission and as the reality of latter-day events and challenges increase with greater speed and intensity the church will continue to streamline its efforts and focus its attention and budget on items that will bring us closer to Christ and not necessarily closer to world-wide acceptance. I for one am willing to faithfully follow the Brethren as my heart directs me to do.

  • UtahDad1 Springville, UT
    May 12, 2017 10:56 a.m.

    I believe a lot of the 14-18 yr old boys will still be registered in the Boy Scout Troop, if they have a chance at achieving the Eagle rank. In fact, they will have to be registered in the troop if they are still working on Eagle.

    It may provide a good opportunity for older boy leadership in the troop. Most non-LDS troops have older boy leaders. Interesting thing to see work itself out.

  • mominthetrenches South Jordan, UT
    May 12, 2017 10:54 a.m.

    @Woodworker, amen! Everything about Scouting has become way too complicated, expensive and tedious for the average leaders (who want to enjoy their son) to maintain.

    From an LDS Church perspective, I think it is incredibly lopsided and fiscally irresponsible for the Church to be spending millions of dollars in all the fees with just as many hours to meet the required training meetings of this program, with nothing to show for the YW and all of the other thousands of YM/YW who live outside of the "promised land." I don't see how the Church can even continue to justify maintaining such a program when there are so many other ways we should be ministering and training/strengthening ALL our youth to minister as the Savior does. That goes for Cub Scouting and 11 year-old Scouts, too. I attended my local Round Table last night, and to expect the training of leaders for a den with 1-5 boys in it is beyond ridiculous.

  • toosmartforyou Kaysville, UT
    May 12, 2017 12:07 a.m.

    Either you support the First Presidency or you don't.

  • morpunkt Glendora, CA
    May 11, 2017 11:13 p.m.

    Thank you! You nailed it!

  • Woodworker Highland, UT
    May 11, 2017 6:36 p.m.

    I became a Life Scout as a youth, a Varsity Coach, Venture Leader, and held many positions in the BS Troop program. The values and principles taught in Scouting, i.e., citizenship, character building, duty to God, etc. are timeless and valuable. One overwhelming problem with the BSA is how complex it has become. What man has the job and money that allow him to camp 6-12 weekends a year, plus a week of summer camp, and attend weekly Scout mtgs. and monthly Round Tables? As a young married father, I chose to quit the Varsity program because I couldn't afford the books, uniforms, and even the extra gas. That was just a fact. I'm sad that the BSA did not simplify its program and make it possible for more youth and adults to use it successfully. Do you want to have a successful program - in anything? Then simplify and make it possible for anyone who puts in the effort. Let's not run faster than we have strength.

  • UteTrog Phoenix, AZ
    May 11, 2017 4:55 p.m.

    "I am willing to at least see what the Church is going to implement in absence of the Venturing/Varsity program, but if it is anything like the current Duty to God program, then my family is not going to be too excited about it."

    I'm not waiting around for the Church to teach or entertain my children. I will see to that. I don't care what or if the church institutes any kind of program. My children are sealed to me and my wife, not the YM president or the Scoutmaster. The programs of the church need to be seen in the light for which they are intended, to assist the family on it's ultimate goal of exaltation. That responsibility lies with me and my wonderful wife. No one else.

  • Rick for Truth Provo, UT
    May 11, 2017 2:22 p.m.

    I remember when scouting was optional and separate form the young men's program. They met on a different night. It wasn't until the mid 80's sometime between Nov 85 and Mar of 86 that it became the only activity and merged with the YM program. I remember the scout master of many years losing his job and program. I remember many YM being forced into scouting. Now that the national BSA organization has embraced the natural man, a break with the LDS Church was only a matter of time and inevitable.

  • Hubble65 Sandy, UT
    May 11, 2017 2:14 p.m.

    My son grew up with scouts in the Church, got to Life but never got his Eagle. Not important to him. To be honest, he went on scouting outings because we made him and later because he wanted to for the fun of it but he by-passed the Venture activities because of work, school and by then he was doing his own thing. No they need a program that increases spiritual preparedness, increase community service opportunities, and thus get the youth off of the "me first" viewpoint of selfishness that seems to dominate our culture and a more selfless viewpoint. Times change, so do the needs of our youth. Good move by the Church.

  • skeptic Phoenix, AZ
    May 11, 2017 1:59 p.m.

    It seems the wrong time for Mormons to be building walls, but perhaps the church has caught the Trump fever. There is no one to love so much as ones self, but some how we are all still some how supposed to be god's children. Strange fruit indeed.

    May 11, 2017 1:21 p.m.

    Excellent move by the LDS church. So many factors have been leading to this decision. I wish it was taken farther and eliminated the Cub and Boy Scout programs too. Already having difficulty with younger aged boys being too busy with after school sports and activities. I think if a boy wants to attend scouting he can make that decision with his family and attend a non-LDS based scouting group where they can do their thing with other scout leaders. LDS church doesn't need the liability or the costs incurred by being part of the deteriorating BSA system. A system that pays their full-time "leaders" enormous, non-deserving, salaries. Take the money we spend and split it between the YW and YM. Never liked just teaching boys First Aid and Emergency Prep but not really addressing it with the girls. Maybe if we put them together then the boys will become comfortable with the girls and actually ask them out on dates...might be a nice collateral benefit.

  • misanthrope sl, UT
    May 11, 2017 1:19 p.m.

    I called this move the day after the bsa decided to allow gay leaders. It took longer than I thought, but a program along the lines of the yw program is more appropriate anyway.

  • David Centerville, UT
    May 11, 2017 12:42 p.m.

    As a Varsity Coach I felt we ran a very good Varsity program. But Venturing has been tough, especially since the change in mission age to 18. After the mission age change the boys focused even more intently on jobs and school--earning money for their missions and preparing for college immediately after the mission.

    I love Scouting, but agree that there should be a change, especially with the disproportianate amount of money spent on North American LDS boys compared to LDS boys internationally, and to LDS girls everywhere. Hopefully a new program will be better suited for 14-18 year old boys. Venturing has been a tough one.

  • byugraduate Las Vegas, NV
    May 11, 2017 12:38 p.m.

    The gravy train for the Boy Scouts is ending. The paid Scouters never helped any of the troops in our wards so this is their reward.

  • SameJersey Kaysville, UT
    May 11, 2017 11:33 a.m.


    I agree with what you said, but I also wanted to clarify a few points. First, that discipleship and fellowship with the Lord does not look the same for everyone. Moreover, I think families can decide for themselves which programs are best for their youth.

    I am willing to at least see what the Church is going to implement in absence of the Venturing/Varsity program, but if it is anything like the current Duty to God program, then my family is not going to be too excited about it. I agree with you on the loss and the missed opportunity with the varsity and venturing programs. I am also interested to see what opportunities the Church may have in mind with a new program.

    However, I also see new community venture crews popping up on the Wasatch front not being knee-jerk reactions. As we all know, Venturing is already a fantastic program. I, as a parent, need to recognize our most important limited resource in our family...time. If my options lie between a fantastic community venturing program and a sub-par or luke-warm, entertainment-oriented new young men's program, I know where we will be spending our time and efforts. Just saying.

  • Johnny Triumph Lahaina, HI
    May 11, 2017 11:14 a.m.

    @taatmk - I'm glad you're excited for more Spiritual and less Scouting. It was always awkward trying to introduce a campfire testimony mtg with the boys...possible but awkward. It's time we shift that thinking!

    I'm also glad this is happening because of the equality of resources where the Young Women are concerned. I know that the past 20 years have seen significant increases in spend on YW but this will only help that divide decrease. BSA will probably feel a large pinch as the money from registering all YM stops coming in.

  • taatmk West Jordan, UT
    May 11, 2017 11:02 a.m.

    Young men callings just got more attractive!

  • Richie Saint George, UT
    May 11, 2017 10:42 a.m.

    Charles Dahlquist and President Monson both are fantastic scouters so any hope of retaining scouting as it was 50 years ago is lost. I loved the program but forces outside the LDS Church have been trying to destroy it ever since then.

  • Johnny Triumph Lahaina, HI
    May 11, 2017 9:53 a.m.

    It's rare to find any LDS Ward with a functioning Varsity or Venture program. I worked to implement a full Varsity program about 10 years ago but it never took hold. It's not worthwhile for the LDS Church to continue to register all 14+ boys that are not Eagle rank, it's expensive for something that is not used currently.

    Also, a program that was created in 1978 is clearly outdated today, especially considering the lowering of the Mission age for the Young Men. As soon as age was lowered it was clear that we needed a better program to prepare boys to be Mission ready at age 18, and the Varsity program was only pulling precious time away from other Duty to God things.

  • mominthetrenches South Jordan, UT
    May 11, 2017 9:54 a.m.

    Less is more. I've been in as a Unit Commissioner for several years now and can see it makes sense the LDS Church will not part ways until it had something else, more specific to its beliefs, ready to go in place I agree with all the comments, except about following in blind faith, which implies I can't think for myself. No one should be doing that, but can you enjoy your journey and choose to embrace something new because the old way was clearly in need of an overhaul? Yes. I have 4 teenagers and in today's world, the kids and leaders aren't homophobic-they are busy, as stated above. Parents are pushing the younger boys through the hoops to get their Eagle (check it off the list), so they can actually enjoy the benefits of the high adventure camps. Well, in theory, I guess that works, but I'm glad the leaders are recognizing the difference between theory and reality. Kids are so busy with the demands of school and life, in general, they need programs that will support them and build their faith. I fully support the new shift in emphasis and think it is long overdue!

  • AZ Ute Scottsdale, AZ
    May 11, 2017 9:46 a.m.

    Varsity and Venturing never had a chance against two powerful fragrances: perfume and gasoline.

  • LivinLarge Bountiful, UT
    May 11, 2017 9:33 a.m.

    Scouting is and was good for the cub scouts and scouts through age 13. However, many young men involved in extracurricular activities in sports, academics, student government, community service were easily bored with scouting. Good decision by the Church to discontinue for 14 and older. Now, if we could just get the Church to rollback the "monthly" teacher training meetings! Disruptive to the entire ward and boring beyond belief...I'm thinking one time every other year.

  • Common-Tator Saint Paul, MN
    May 11, 2017 9:23 a.m.

    "So many people told me I had to just blindly follow the leaders with the scouting program."

    Perhaps therein lies the crux of the problem ... not that leaders actually said to blindly follow (I know of no Scout Leader who ever advocated a "blind" approach, whether LDS or not), but rather that there were so many people who assumed that to be the case, and then approached scouting with a chip on their folder.

    I did not grow-up in scouting, but came to understand its virtues as an adult. Having moved all too regularly with the military, but invariably being called to work in scouting assignments over several decades, I came to see many troops/teams/crews (chartered by Wards) who worked for the boys, exceedingly well. And I saw others where the leaders kept the troop up through age 17, ignoring the other programs. Those where the programs were fully enacted tended to prosper, with the associated growth. Those where a smorgasbord approach was taken tended to flounder.

    Like so many things in life, people get out what they put in, and usually to the degree with which they adhere to proper principles. I think the "Bountiful Guy" has the right approach.

  • james d. morrison Sandy, UT
    May 11, 2017 9:22 a.m.

    Part of the problem is that they call people as scout leaders who aren't gung-ho for scouts. They called people like me instead of people who wanted to do it.
    Part of the issue is that if most of the kids in the ward have already earned their eagle by 14, then you can't have scout activities to work on merit badges for those who haven't or else the others will get bored and not come. So then you other kinds of activities that may be either educational or recreational but don't really distinguish themselves as scout activities, more as just ward activities. Plus, kids will have outgrown their uniforms and aren't going to spend money on new ones or the varsity or venturing outfits. So then it looks less and less like scouts. The church is just officially killing what is already dead.

  • Bountiful Guy Bountiful, UT
    May 11, 2017 9:03 a.m.

    I'm good with people using their agency to react how they choose. I believe that we can follow church leaders AND embrace other good activities. The Church's statement does not condemn anyone who chooses to enroll their children in scouting units over age 13. Nor does it condemn the many other optional programs for youth.

  • Dan Smith Phoenix, AZ
    May 11, 2017 8:36 a.m.

    "Expecting some “knee-jerk reactions” from LDS families and individuals with strong Scouting backgrounds and involvement, Dahlquist said he anticipates some community-chartered Venturing crews cropping up along the Wasatch Front in the absence of LDS-sponsored programs."

    So many people told me I had to just blindly follow the leaders with the scouting program. Are these same people going to justify starting a new scouting venturing and not "just blindly follow" the leaders into this new (and better) program?