SALT LAKE CITY — The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints released information about the “Children and Youth” program, which will replace the Boy Scouts and Personal Progress programs churchwide in 2020.
The announcement comes just over a year after the church’s First Presidency announced the development of the initiative, replacing existing children and youth programs in the church.
“For years, church leaders have been preparing a new initiative to teach and provide leadership and development opportunities to all children and youth, to support families, and to strengthen youth everywhere as they develop faith in our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ,” said the First Presidency in the May announcement.
The introduction to Children and Youth said the program is designed to help youths in the church develop integrity and deepen their conversion through gospel learning, service, activities, and personal development.
The church said principles and roles outlined in the introduction, which was emailed to local congregation leaders on Monday, are adaptable to congregations’ needs and experiences.
Children and Youth programs will be home-centered and church-supported, according to the introduction.
“This is going to be an exciting, wonderful enhancement to everything we have done before,” said Elder Ronald A. Rasband of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. “This new initiative is not only going to point them all to our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, it’s going to give opportunities for large gatherings and personal development through goals and achievement of goals.”
Guidelines for church leaders and parents are included in the introduction and the church said an official announcement for local congregations will be made on September 29.
The Boy Scouts of America released the following statement:
“The Boy Scouts of America (BSA) deeply appreciates the long-standing relationship we’ve had with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints as a chartered organization, and we wish it all the best as it pursues programming to serve its increasingly global membership.
“There are many religiously-affiliated programs that are offered alongside Scouting, and we anticipate that many youth/families from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints will want to continue to participate in Scouting. For Latter-day Saints families who want to continue the tradition of Scouting, the BSA will ensure a smooth transition to community-sponsored units that will welcome youth previously served by Church sponsored units. We have been in regular communication with those families and have had many successful informational events about how they can continue their participation in Scouting, including by forming new units or joining existing community units.
“We believe our organization is more empowered to serve families in our communities today than ever before, and we are confident that our decision to be responsive to our families and welcome boys and girls into our programs will attract even more families and youth to Scouting.”