PROVO, UT – It has been a week since Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints announced that they are no longer participating in a few Boy Scouts of America programs, sparking speculation on the decision.
On May 11, 2017, the LDS Church shared that they were discontinuing their participation in the BSA Varsity and Venturing programs, which actually originated within the Church, and have since been adopted into the BSA organization. The programs are designed for 14 to 18-year-old scouts, and aim to help young teens build team unity and leadership experience.
BSA Director of Support Services John Gailey stated that the BSA supports the Church’s decision, and is even giving them ideas to create a new youth program.. “We encourage our partners to use whatever programs make the most sense,” he said. “A lot of people forget that all that the Boy Scout program is is a tool to use to accomplish your objectives.”
Although there has been speculation that the readjustment is a response to the BSA’s new policies regarding the inclusion of gay and transgender scouts and leadership, both have officially stated that this is not the case. Rather, the Church claims complications behind running the scouting programs on a local level as motivation for the decision.
The name for the LDS Church’s new program has not yet been released, but Gailey says that it is very similar to the original Varsity and Venturing programs. More information is available on the official BSA website and Mormon Newsroom.
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