Young Men Program Guidelines – What to do Now?


Kevin V. Hunt

Scouting Historian, Author, Blogger, Speaker, Scouting Veteran, and Camp Director

Well, the LDS Church recently announced that it will no longer support Varsity Scouting and Venturing for our church older youth.  So, what are you going to do with that news?  What to do now?

Recent changes are coming for Varsity and Venturing youth in the LDS Church.  See my blog of last week entitled:  Major Changes for LDS Varsity Scouts and Venturers.  In that blog, I quoted the Church’s published Teacher and Priest Guidelines which accompanied the First Presidency Letter which announced the changes.  That document provides many basic guidelines for Priest and Teacher activities.  Those guidelines can be the basis for all of your activities and programs for the older boy – now and after January 1, 2018 when the changes become effective.

The “new program” is very simple.  The General Young Men Presidency has given some basic principles to guide our program planning.  They say (on LDS.Org) at that as adult leaders and advisers of young men, our purpose may be summarized as:

[To] Help young men become converted to the gospel of Jesus Christ, magnify their priesthood duties, and prepare to fulfill their divine roles.  

So, that is our goal or objective.  Then to achieve that purpose, Young Men leaders are invited to focus on three principles:

  1. Be with them.
  2. Connect them with heaven.
  3. Let them lead.

The General Young Men Presidency then said, “As we apply these principles in our Young Men activities, we will strengthen the young men of the Church.”

If we are going to accomplish these purposes and principles, then we need to plan and implement effective activities for the Young Men.   And that brings us right back to program planning.  It always seems to come back to this.  In order to achieve the stated goals and objectives with our youth, we need to plan activities and events so that we can be with the youth, help connect them with heaven and to let them lead. So, with this in mind, we can’t hit the program planning function hard enough.  It really is the crux of the whole youth program – whether for boys or for girls – or for whatever age.  Program planning is simply the KEY to success.

Also in last week’s blog, I shared some links for program planning.  I again invite you to peruse those.  And as an aide to your program planning, this week, I introduce a simple YOUTH PROGRAM PLANNING WORKSHEET.  (Click on the link and the PDF Excel spreadsheet will open up.) Again, this is quite a simple form.  It is designed to get you through a quarter of the calendar year.   (You can have a quarterly planning meeting – but a better idea would be to stage an Annual Program Planning Conference.   And if you’re planning quarterly, a “rolling” quarter plan is best:  Always be working on three months – this month, next month and the one after that.

To use the form, list the dates (Mutual nights, other nights, and weekends) within the quarter that you want to stage events or activities.  Then define a purpose for the gathering.  Next, choose an activity to be done.  Then put some people in charge of planning and motivating the rest of the group.  And finally, list the best resource for each event.  This could be the Scout Handbook, a merit badge book, the “Faith in God” booklet, the YW “Personal Progress” booklet, or the Youth Activities section at @LDS.ORG.

If you train and motivate and inspire your youth (and the youth leaders of each quorum or group – not the advisers), you can easily plan a full activity program that will be fun and exciting while meeting the program guidelines and objectives as outlined by the church.  And you really don’t have to have a “new program”.  All you need to do is to implement what you already have at your fingertips.  Just start planning and some great things will happen with you and your young men (and/or young ladies).  And in the process, you will have many opportunities to BE WITH THEM, to CONNECT THEM WITH HEAVEN and to LET THEM LEAD.  That’s what it’s all about!  Get planning to do it!

Best wishes along your Scouting Trails …  Kevinthescoutblogger

See this link for an introduction to Kevin the Scouting Trails Blogger.  Blogging articles have excerpts taken from Kevin’s many personal journals and Scouting Trails books including “MR. Scoutmaster!”, “Keys to Scouting Leadership,” “Gnubie to Eagle Scout”,  and others at his Scoutingtrails website.  Connect with Kevin and read his articles on Scouting blogsites such as The Boy ScoutThe Scouting Trail and the Voice of Scouting.  Feel free to comment on anything you read!  Find Kevin on Facebook at:  Scouting Trails Books and Blogs.

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@ 2017 Kevin V. Hunt





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