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LDS BSA Relationship

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I was told the same at PD-L1 -- Varsity Scouting was created to support the middle ranks of the young men's program. That being said, I ran a report by award for my council in 2008, and not one boy in my council has a recorded Denali Award. It's a shame, really.


I should add that most LDS units in my district have 3-4 boys. To even get the units chartered with the minimum-with-signature from our SE, we had to ask for the MLS by age group for each ward. It was a pain to get, as the leaders of the church felt it wrong to release the personal data of church members to scouting.... as if we didn't need their DOB, parent information and address anyway.


This is why I stated in the other thread that an LDS church that recruits community members is thriving -- because there are more boys, and boys who are hungry for program and not just worrying about Mutual night, priesthood meetings and getting services planned for Sunday. It's added a new element to the troop and the Scoutmaster is rising to the occasion and feels honored to have so many community boys motivating the church members!

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NJCubScouter, "It is my understanding that EVERY LDS youth is enrolled in Scouting, whether they want to be or not. Is this true? Is there any consequence if, once enrolled, they do not participate? Or in other words, which sounds like a strange question, are you allowed to quit? In my troop we have the annual pre-charter exercise of going through the roster and picking out boys who have disappeared, haven't paid their dues, etc., contacting them, and then if they have quit or seem to have quit, crossing them off the charter. Does this same thing happen in LDS units?"


I would have to say "it depends" on the unit. In my unit we charter every young man on our church roster wither they are active in the church or not. This is do to the on going responsibility to try and activate the those who are in active in the unit. The reasoning is if we charter them and they decide to come to a meeting or on and outing at the least they are covered as a member of the unit for insurance purposes. Besides that the church pays the registration fee and we don't charge our youth dues in order to participate.

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In 2008, President Neider of the General YM Presidency instructed the church leaders here and all the pros that all youth members to age 17 will be registered in Scouting, active or not. 17-18 was optional, only if the boy was actively pursuing rank or wanted to be (Our stakes register them anyway). He said this was two-fold -- one to cover the youth if they did start to participate, and the second reason to fulfill the obligations to Scouting itself.


That was a great discussion with a great man with a passion for Scouting. I sure do miss him!

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Eagle92,"Now in reference to LDS changing the program due to financial contributions, I was told by several sources that the sole reason why Varsity Scouts were created was for LDS units."

I would not disagree with this at all. As the church at the time Varsity Scouts was created was looking for a program that would interest youth in the age range of 14-15 who are mostly interested in sports. Varsity Scouting is a sports/high adventure based program. Which also allows YM to still work toward their Eagle Award. Done properly the Varsity program teaches YM how to plan, carry out and conduct sport type actives.


And since the LDS church is the oldest and largest chartered organization in BSA. Why shouldn't they have input on the various BSA programs.


Eagle92,"And those sources consisted of pros at PDl-1 and an LDS pro I went through PDL-1 with."


What is PDL-1? I have never heard that term.

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jhankins, "That being said, I ran a report by award for my council in 2008, and not one boy in my council has a recorded Denali Award. It's a shame, really."


It is a shame and is generally is because program focus is more on BS advancement instead of the Varsity program. So much of the program is centered around advancement and obtaining the Eagle Scout Rank instead of providing a good program where advancement just happens.

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Originally Varsity was strictly sports, no HA activities. The HA activities came about b/c of the Venture Crews, now called Patrols, in the 1990s. Venture took the concept of the Varsity letter, renamed the Varsity/Venture letter, and instead of using the sports pins, had Venture Crew/Patrol members work on the HA pins. Eventually it was opened up to allow Varsity scouts to work on the HA pins as well, and Venture Crews/Patrols to work on the sports pins as well.


Now there is some discrepancy on whether current Venture Patrol members can earn the pins or not. Ther was an article in BL saying no they cannot, but the letter is still called "Varsity/Venture Letter" in the IG and none of the BSA literature address it now. Not that it really matter as in my experience no one was really interested int he letter and pins. I created a HA program at a summer camp incorporating the pin program, an there were no takers. Also in the 5 councils I've been in, I've never seen anyone with the V or pins at any of the ceremonies I've attended.

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the point of bringing up Varsity was to show that the LDS does have major influence in the BSA, to the point of having a program created specifically for their needs. While any CO can use it, it is used mostly by LDS churches, if they even use it, and has not been incorporated well into the rest of Scouting. This is seen with lots of complaints about how the Varsity program is supported and teh poor quality of literature on the program.


Now that may change since BSA has redone the training program, and I've read a new Varsity training manual is out there.

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Eagle92, and so it should be since the LDS is the oldest CO (1913), has the highest number of units, the largest number of members, and is the largest contributor of funds.


As far as the Varsity program. If you read the SM Handbook you will find that the Venture Patrol should be structured using the Varsity materials.


And where the Varsity Program was structured around what the LDS Church wanted for the age group 14-15, and is mostly used by the LDS Church. The program is available for any CO who chooses to use.


However, if a CO used the program as intended we would run in to the same problems we currently have between Troops and Venture programs. SM would be crying about the program taking away their youth. The whole purpose of the program is to offer something different for CO to use for their youth, which is what the LDS church wanted.



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"...and so it should be since the LDS is the oldest CO (1913), has the highest number of units, the largest number of members, and is the largest contributor of funds"



See, it's just that attitude of what some may call arrogance that turns off non-LDS scouters and allows misinformation to perist and morph into all sorts of wrong impressions.


So, because you (LDS) is the 800 pound gorilla sitting in the middle of the living room, you can't be ignored and get to do what you want because after all that is the reward for being the biggest and wealthiest contributor?


Can we make that the official LDS position on scouting, that of "we bought you guys so toe the line"?


This has been a rather respectful discussion so far, I would like to keep it that way and if I misunderstood, I your meaning I will apologize, but what did you mean by


"and so it should be since the LDS is the oldest CO (1913), has the highest number of units, the largest number of members, and is the largest contributor of funds"?

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In the Denver Area, the LDS have a pretty big influence on Scouting. Most of the LDS units are tiny, with only a handful of scouts. But there are a lot of units. One per ward from my understanding. In our small community we have two large non-LDS units and probably 10 LDS. But the total number of active non-LDS scouts is greater. Our unit has 80 scouts, the other is about 90.


The only interaction with LDS units we have is at camporees. The district designs the camporees around the LDS schedule and start on Friday night and break before sunset on Saturday. Non-LDS units usually hang around Saturday night and run their own program sometimes with other units.


The council reserves the summer camp exclusively for LDS the last two weeks of the summer so we never mix with them at summer camp. In all the high adventure trips we've done, we never crossed paths with an LDS unit either in the field or at base. And I ask every scouter who their charter org is at cracker barrels.


The LDS also have a large impact at the district level. Most volunteers at the district level are LDS and roundtables are typically held at LDS facilities. When we have an EBOR, the council/district representative is typically LDS. At one board, the LDS rep commented during our deliberation that he had just done a board for another unit where the scout had achieved the Triple Crown and over 100 nights camping and that he was impressed. I then made the comment to him that the candidate we just reviewed had the Triple Crown and most of our Eagles had done at least two national HAs and our unit logs at least 30 nights camping and a HA every year. He was floored at our outdoor program. I didn't think it was atypical, but perhaps it is. I'm not saying the LDS don't have a strong outdoor program, but I did find it strange that he thought our's was unusually active.


One thing that I am curious about is how an LDS unit employs the patrol method with the way they organize their troops. First off, they are typically small but then the age bands they utilize further diminish the size and age diversity of the patrols. Can you successfully utilize the patrol method?

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OldGreyEagle, I think you misunderstood what I was saying so lets look at it from a different point of view. Only take the LDS Church out of the picture, and answer the following questions.


In any organization who should have the most influence on what happens within the organization.


The person/organization who has been involved the longest, brings in the most membership, and provides the most financial support?




The person/organization who has been involved the least amount of time, brings in the least membership, and provides the least financial support?


Now lets look at your district committee. If ran properly each CO of the district has one vote. Every CO gets to give input. The exception is that due to the way one organization is structured they have a higher percent of COs.


If a situation comes up where the distric has to vote on an important issue pertaining to the distric which way do you think the vote will go? Don't forget each CO only has one vote on the committee?


The the organization that is structured with only one CO would like it to go?




The way the organization that is structured with multiple COs would like it to go?


Who do you think has the most influence on your council BOD. The OA Lodge Chief or the person/organization who has donated the most money? I'll give you a hint it's not the OA Lodge Chief even though he is the only youth on the BOD.


I hope I explained it well enough. If not ask questions and I'll try and explain it better.

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