LDS Boy Scouting

Training for LDS Boy Scout Leaders


Scouting in the Church

LDS Scouting

Scouting in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints follows guidelines from Church Headquarters in Salt Lake City. The 1997 Scouting Handbook printed by the Church describes the Church’s relationship to Cub Scouting and how to use the program as the youth program for boys 810 years old. It also explains the Boy Scouting program for boys 1118. The most significant difference between the BSA program and the Church program are: the Church Packs do not participate in Tiger Cubs and the Cub Scout Pack does not support overnight camping even for Webelos. A Ward Father and Son campout or an all day hike will meet the requirement for Arrow of Light.

LDS Purpose

The Scouting activities provide boys with the opportunity to put into practice the gospel principles they have learned at home and at Church.

Scouting within the Primary and Young Men

Cub Scouting (including the program for Webelos Scouts), and Boy Scouting for eleven-year-old Scouts (forming a separate patrol of the Boy Scout troop) are under the supervision of the Primary. The Boy Scout troop, Varsity Scout Team, and Venturing Crew are associated with the deacons, teachers, and priests quorums, respectively.

Focus for Eight- and Nine-year-old Cub Scouts

Cub Scouting is centered on family activity, and in LDS Scouting it is the program for eight- and nine-year-olds. In Cub Scout dens, the boys, their families, and the leaders work together with an emphasis on home-centered and family activities. The purpose of Cub Scouting is to provide boys with an effective educational program designed to build desirable qualities of moral strength and character, to develop fitness, and to train the boys in the responsibilities of active citizenship. Boys work on the Faith in God Award along with doing Cub Scout activities in their den and pack meetings. Many of the activities can fulfill requirements for the Faith in God Award. Completion of all designated activities in the Faith in God for Boys guidebook (while a Cub Scout or Webelos Scout) qualifies a boy for the Scouting religious emblem square knot.

Focus for Ten-year-old Webelos Scouts

In the Webelos program (the second part of Cub Scouting, which in the Church is for ten-year-old boys) the emphasis starts to shift from the boys’ family to the boys’ peers. It is a transitional program, preparing the boys to become Boy Scouts (and to hold the priesthood). The emphasis begins to shift from home-centered activities to group-centered activities similar to those they will encounter in Boy Scouting. The Webelos den leader passes the Webelos Scouts on their requirements as parents play a less active, more supportive role in advancement. Webelos Scouts complete the Scout Faith in God requirements if not done previously (and continue to work on the Church Faith in God Award) as part of their Webelos activities.

Focus for Eleven-year-old Boy Scouts

An eleven-year-old Scout learns individual roles of a group through practicing basic Scouting skills. This is where they first learn about patrols. Working together, patrol members share the responsibility for the patrol’s success.

They gain confidence by serving in positions of patrol leadership. All patrol members enjoy the friendship, sense of belonging, and achievements of the patrol and of each of its members. While they are eleven-year-old Scouts, working on Tenderfoot, Second Class, and First Class Scout requirements, they learn the basic camping skills as they learn to function together. The bishopric meets with all eleven-year-old boys and their parents in the Priesthood Preview to help them understand the importance of the priesthood and strengthen their commitment to prepare to receive it. Boys should complete the Church Faith in God Award as part of their eleven-year-old Scout activities.

Teaching 11-year-old Scouts is a great responsibility. They are out of Cub Scouts and excited to be a Boy Scout and are teachable at this age.

It is vital that they have a functioning program. If you lose them during their first year, it will be very difficult to activate them in the twelve year old program. It is the eleven year old Scout Leader’s responsibility to have them up to First Class by the time they turn twelve. If you have a functioning program and do something every week, this is no problem.

Eleven year old boys camp three times per year with their fathers. The eleven year old Scout is part of the Troop and the leader is an Assistant Scoutmaster. The Church provides an EYOS Leader patch that can be purchased with other Primary materials. They should also use the Troop Committee to help them with their program.

However, it is recommended that they meet separately most of the time. They are still part of Primary and the Primary President is over their program. The Primary President attends basic training to have a better understanding of their role with Scouting.

One benefit of being an eleven year old Scout Leader is that you repeat the program every year. So once you’ve got a calendar for a year, you just do it over again, while improving how you do it.

It is recommended that you have a Troop Guide involved with the younger boys. A Troop Guide is an older Scout (Deacon, Teacher, or Priest) who has attained the rank of at least first class. It is a leadership position for Star, Life, and Eagle ranks. They can assist in the work and teach the boys the skills they learned. Boys love to learn from older boys and can look up to them as role models. They also see that someone else has actually learned and been successful. The Troop Guide also has a built in ability to relate to the younger boys on their own level.

It is important to keep good records. Make sure each boy has a Scout Handbook and uses it each week. Sign-off requirements in the book and keep an additional record! Records are vital in completing their Eagle applications.

Focus for Deacon-age Boy Scouts

The deacons’ development focus is teamwork. They plan activities and camp together as patrols. They earn merit badges and provide service, usually as a group. They are recognized as they earn each rank leading to Eagle. “Duty to God” goals encourage deacons to work with their families, particularly their parents, and contribute to their personal and family success. Scouts also contribute to the success of their quorums through fulfilling their priesthood responsibilities regarding collecting fast offerings, passing the sacrament, and participating in quorum service projects.

Focus for Teacher-age Varsity Scouts

A teacher’s development focus is leadership. Teachers have typically developed their basic team skills and perfected their camping skills to the point that they can learn to plan and execute programs independently. Outside peer pressure increases and they are often required to stand up personally for their values. Teacher Duty to God goals encourage them to strengthen those values and exercise leadership by setting the example for others and planning activities. Goals for spiritual, physical, educational/career, and social development expand and enhance basic personal skills. Planning and executing activities help them develop greater confidence in being leaders.

The Varsity Scout letter encourages discipline and preparation for the game as well as a deeper understanding of the rules. The Denali Award recognizes their planning skills and their contributions to successful team leadership. Teacher-age young men start to think about and look for answers about adult life and careers. They should be encouraged to seek patriarchal blessings and other guidance from the Lord.

Focus for Priest-age Venturers

A priest’s development focus is service and teaching others. With each level of Duty to God, goals are more outwardly focused, culminating in applying teamwork and leadership skills for the benefit of others. “Duty to God” goals for priests are missionary- and service-focused. Priests become comfortable not only standing up for what they believe, but also putting into practice programs and activities that support those values. Priests should be regular contributors to family and quorum responsibilities, taking the initiative to suggest and carry out fun and righteous activities. They can recognize important elements needed for families of their own. Experiences set the tone for their own family organization as well as teaching others, especially new members, the joy of a family unit. Spiritual, physical, educational/career, and social development goals prepare them to teach others as well as set an appropriate example. Several Venturing awards recognize their participation and leadership in service projects, volunteer efforts in the community and school, church activities at the stake and ward levels, and teaching others in various settings.

Aaronic Priesthood Leaders Support for EYOS

  • Insist that there be two-deep leadership associated with all 11-year-old Scouting activities. Provide back-up if needed.
  • If the leader of the 11-year-old Scout Patrol is a woman, arrange for males to supervise overnight camping experiences for these young men.
  • Encourage Scout training for the EYOS Leaders (Fast Start, Essentials, Position Specific, Outdoor Training, Wood Badge, and Round-table.)
  • Set the goal that the boys advance to First Class before age 12.
  • Encourage leaders to introduce merit badges, by pursuing a limited number of merit badges (perhaps 2 or 3 per year) in their meetings or activities.
  • Provide training to their Patrol Leaders.
  • Promote the full uniform for boys of their Patrol.
  • Assist EYOS Leaders to develop their own program plan and calendar by adapting Troop Planning Program Planning methodologies.
  • For months where the 11-year-old Scouts are not camping, encourage the calendaring of a monthly day camp or an outdoor activity such as a hike.
  • Invite EYOS Leaders to Troop Committee Meetings to report their plans and needs. Consider their needs for support equally with the 12-13 year program.
  • Encourage weekly meetings of the 11-year-old Patrol, to keep up Scouting momentum in the year between Cubs and Young Men.
  • Include needs of the EYOS program in Troop fund-raising.
  • Invite the Scoutmaster to attend 11-year-old Patrol Meetings to get acquainted with these young men and encourage them in Scouting.
  • Set standards for advancement record-keeping for the EYOS (preferably use the Individual Scout Record form and keep an accurate record of over-night camps, service hours, and positions held by each boy).
  • Schedule Boards of Review when needed for advancement by EYOS.
  • The EYOS Leader holds Scoutmaster Conferences for advancement, introduces the Scouts to Boards of Review, and presents awards.
  • EYOS Scouts should participate equally in Courts of Honor as part of the Troop. A rank requirement is to participate in a flag ceremony.

Summary of LDS Methods

LDS Scouting is more the same than different:

  • Cub Scout meetings should be held in the daytime at the meetinghouse, in a home, or in an outdoor setting.
  • All Scout meetings and activities should open and close with prayer.
  • Boys enter and advance in Scout Programs by age.
  • The Cub Scout Program in the Church begins at age 8; therefore, it does not include a Tiger Cub Program.
  • The LDS Webelos Program is one year with a focus on achieving the Webelos Rank and Arrow of Light. A day hike rather than an over-night campout meets the Arrow of Light requirement.
  • LDS boys are not recruited. Their membership in Cub Scouts is automatic. The Church considers Scouting a Church activity and makes it available to all LDS boys age 818. The goal is 100% participation. Boys who are not LDS are welcome to register with the Ward’s Pack.
  • The Church does not sponsor Scouting for girls or young women.
  • Qualified adults, whether members of the Church or not, may hold Scouting positions. All must maintain the Church standards.
  • Leaders are not recruited; however, families and parents are always welcome to volunteer in many supportive roles.
  • Members are set apart by a member of the Bishopric.
  • Other leaders can receive a blessing from the Bishopric.
  • Where leadership is limited, one committee may be called to service all Scouting needs.
  • Men or women can serve in Scout positions for Primary age boys (Cub Scouting and Eleven-Year-Old Scouts) but only men are called to Aaronic Priesthood positions.
  • No Scout-sponsored over-night camping should be planned for boys under eleven years old.
  • Cub Scouts should participate in the Council Day Camp Program.
  • The Ward should not observe Scout Sunday during a Sacrament Meeting.
  • No hiking or camping on Sunday. Cub Scouts should not travel to or from camps on Sunday. Sunday is the Sabbath day for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and is considered a day of rest.
  • Faith In God is the Cub Scout Religious Award.
  • Leaders should follow the guidelines contained in the Budget Allowance Guidelines to finance their Scouting Program. It is important to turn in all receipts.
  • Registration and unit chartering expenses are paid from the Stake general checking account.
  • Boys’ Life is paid by the parents or Ward budget.
  • Awards/activities come from the Ward budget allowance.
  • Dues are not collected. All Programs are paid out of the Ward budget.
  • The Church encourages the participation in one Annual Day Camp. It should be funded by the Ward budget. If the Ward does not have funds, then the participant’s parents may be asked to pay for part or all of the camp.
  • Lack of personal funds should not prohibit participation.
  • One fund raiser per year is permitted to purchase capital equipment and pay for long-term camping.
  • Tour permits should be filed with both the BSA Council office as well as the Bishop for meetings held away from the regular meeting place.
  • No activities on Monday evenings. The Church sets aside Monday evening for Family Home Evening. This is an activity that the family does together and is intended to strengthen the family unit.
  • Adult Scouters should not participate in training on Sunday, nor when over-night camping involves mixed groups of men and women. (Special arrangements can be made to accommodate women who attend overnight training and ensure observing the sabath.)
  • No caffeinated drinks or alcoholic beverages at activities nor smoking on Church property (including the parking lot).
  • To prevent fire hazards and follow Church practices, the use of candles in Pack ceremonies is prohibited.


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