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Young men ages 14–18 in LDS Church will no longer participate in Boy Scouts of America

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Young men participate in a tribute to the Boy Scouts of America at the Provo City Center Temple Celebration in March 2016. (Photo by Rebecca Lane/UV360)

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is making changes to the Young Men program and its participation with the Boy Scouts of America, the church announced Thursday morning. Starting on Jan. 1, 2018, young men ages 14–18 will discontinue participation in the Varsity and Venturing programs.

While the young men have severed ties with BSA — which it has been a part of for more than a century — it will continue  its participation in Cub Scout and Boy Scout programs for boys and young men ages 8 through 13. BSA activities for young men ages 14–18 will continue through the end of 2017.

In a press release, the LDS Church said the changes are to focus on development for the young men in the church.

“Instead, Young Men activities will focus on spiritual, social, physical and intellectual goals outlined by the Church. These activities are designed to be fun and meaningful and provide opportunities for personal growth and development.”

While the BSA program has met the development needs of young men ages 8–13, the church said it decided to make the change for young men ages 14-18 after recognizing that the BSA program wasn’t meeting the needs of the youth.

“Instead, Young Men activities will focus on spiritual, social, physical and intellectual goals outlined by the Church. These activities are designed to be fun and meaningful and provide opportunities for personal growth and development.”

“In most congregations in the United States and Canada, young men ages 14–18 are not being served well by the Varsity or Venturing programs, which have historically been difficult to implement within the Church,” the church said. “This change will allow youth and leaders to implement a simplified program that meets local needs while providing activities that balance spiritual, social, physical and intellectual development goals for young men.”

As a worldwide church, the LDS Church stated they are continuing to organize a program that will serve all of the young men and young women around the world.

After a century of heavy participation from the LDS Church in BSA programs, the church said BSA’s reactions were positive.

“In every discussion with the Boy Scouts of America, they have expressed a shared desire to do what is best for young men,” the LDS Church wrote in a press release. “We are grateful for their continued support with this new change and look forward to continuing our strong relationship in the Cub Scout and Boy Scout programs.”

In January 2017, the LDS Church said it would re-evaluate its relationship with BSA after BSA announced it would allow transgender children to join the program. However, the church maintains that BSA has been supportive in allowing the church to operate its scouting program within the standards of the church.

“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 wrote in a press release. “This change is to address the needs of young men ages 14 to 18. The Church is always evaluating what is best for our youth and families, and will continue to do so.”

For more on the LDS Church’s decision, visit mormonnewsroom.com.

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One Response to "Young men ages 14–18 in LDS Church will no longer participate in Boy Scouts of America"

  1. Darryl Alder says:

    The Utah National Parks Council is and always will be committed to serving our community and chartered partners, including The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. We fully support the LDS Church and want to help them be successful in serving their youth. We are excited to provide activity support and outdoor facilities to youth of all ages.

    We offer programs and facilities that are geared toward helping LDS leaders “Be with [youth], connect them to heaven, and let them lead.” We do this for both girls and boys and have done for years. At our Cub Scout Camp in Hobble Creek Canyon, Activity Days Girls, attend right alongside boys, the same is true at our Beaver and Entrada High Adventure Bases.

    We will continue to expand our efforts to provide resources, including outdoor facilities that specifically serve older youth, to help local wards and stakes provide high quality programs for their youth classes and quorums.

    We look forward to providing Scout programs to all interested youth, including those age 14 and older who want to continue participating or are on the trail to Eagle. Of those who earn the Eagle Scout award in our council, 93% complete the requirements at age 14 or older and 67% attain the Eagle rank after age 16.

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