LDS Church affirms camping, outdoor activities will be part of new youth programs

When news broke in May that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was breaking ties with the Boy Scouts of America, one of the biggest questions on the minds of members was what activities the new proposed programs for youth would entail.

The new programs will be designed to meet the needs of a worldwide church and not just for those who live in the United States and Canada where Scouting has been entwined with the youth programs. 

Friday, the church released information based on two frequently asked questions about the upcoming programs — particularly dealing with activities that will be included. President M. Russell Ballard has emphasized the need to find new ways to bless the children and youth of the church.

“We have been considering for many years how we can best meet the needs of a worldwide church,” Ballard said in the church statement. “Our children and youth in every part of the world are so precious to us. We have a deep desire to help them strengthen faith in the Savior Jesus Christ and feel of His love.”

The new youth programs announced in May will be for youth aged 8 to 18, and will start in January 2020. It will replace activity programs for those previously in the Cub and Boy Scouts programs, Activity Days program and Young Women programs.

The church on Friday addressed the question of how camping and other outdoor activities will be included in the new programs.

“Camps and other outdoor activities will continue to be an important part of gospel learning, building relationships, and strengthening faith in Jesus Christ,” the church statement read. “Children and youth may participate in Primary day camps, Young Women camps, Young Men camps, and high adventure activities.”

According to the statement, leaders will provide outdoor activities for the groups that will meet the needs of the children in youth in their area.

The church also addressed the question of what other kinds of activities will be included as a part of the new programs, emphasizing that activities will be planned based on needs rather than requirements.

“Weekday activities, outdoor adventures, and youth conferences, including For the Strength of Youth conferences, will continue as a vital part of helping children and youth learn, develop friendships, serve, and strengthen faith in Jesus Christ,” the statement read.


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