LDS Church to replace teen BSA programs

On Thursday, leaders of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints announced that their sponsorship of scouting teen programs will soon be replaced. The church will continue its Cub Scout and Boy Scout programs for boys ages 8-13.

Scouting in the U.S. has a history that goes back to the turn of the 20th Century.

In the Treasure Valley, there's a troop, if not more than one, practically in every town. Some are sponsored by different churches, while others are non-denominational. Just take Boy Scout Troop #276 in Caldwell for example who are sponsored by the Elks Lodge.

If the LDS Church's announcement of replacing their teen programing in the U.S. and Canada with one of their own were to have any affect locally, Boy Scout Troop #276's Scout Master, Ron Manker, says it might only grow their numbers.

"When they become Life [ranking] Scouts, they need to be the ones teaching the younger boys how to lead," Manker said.

The LDS Church's announcement to discontinue its Varsity and Venturing Scouting programs goes into effect on Jan. 1, 2018.

"I wish to commend the BSA leaders who have been so supportive of the Church's decision to cease participating in the Varsity and Venturing programs," said Elder Jeffrey R. Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles in a news release. "They have been understanding, kind, and very professional. We are grateful for their interest in us, in our youth, and in our worldwide need.

Known out in the community for their service projects, the Boy Scout group was originally founded to teach survival skills.

"The Idaho Veterans Garden gets a lot of troops and packs throughout the valley that come down there and want to help and support them," Manker said. "So, the scouts group is, more or less, teaching the boys to do more things outside, camping. Some of these kids would never go camping and know what the outdoors is... and that's what Idaho, to me, is all about."

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