Youth Programs – You Make the Call

You have recently been called to a position in the ward that requires your attendance at ward council.  You just moved in six months ago, and one of the things you noticed right away and really like is how people in the ward magnify their callings and go the extra mile in assuring that the work of the church goes smoothly.  Your fellow council members are not only very talented people, they are also models of commitment and dedication.  This is, hands down, the best ward you have ever lived in.

 This Sunday the bishop has asked all auxiliaries to present a short overview of their planned activities for the year, as well as a ballpark budget number.  It is no surprise that everyone is well prepared, with PowerPoint presentations and spreadsheets ready to hand out to the members of the council.  The sheet from the Young Men’s president catches your eye because it contains some very big numbers.  When it is his turn, he explains that plans are underway to take the young men of the ward to Philmont Scout ranch in New Mexico next Summer.  Because of the distance, they plan to fly there, and it is a 12 day program, at $50 per day per participant.  In round figures, the activity calls for about $33,000 to cover expenses for 22 boys and their adult advisors, or over $1,000 per head.

The young men’s president assures the council that plans are well underway to raise all the money privately, and you believe him.  You have a regularly scheduled PPI with the bishop immediately after church today.  Will you say anything about the planned YM activity?  Why or why not?  If your answer is yes, what will you say?


  1. Steve Evans says:

    Shut it down. Shut it down now! An obscene waste of money.

  2. Ardis Parshall says:

    Oh, I just know I’ll be saying *something,* but what I say depends both on what my own calling is and whether I have children and what their sexes are (yes, I know everybody else here would say “genders”) and how old they are and whether it’s Fast Sunday and whether I had a nap before church.

  3. This kind of thing really did happen once–youth trips to Hawaii, etc. But I thought it all came to a strict halt when ward budgets changed to be based on attendance at Sacrament Meeting rather than on donations. I’m really nervous that Mark B is not making this up. If this is a real thing, and the ward is rich enough to sustain such excesses, how can you know the Bishop will understand how inappropriate it is? $33,000. could provide a bunch of scholarships and humanitarian service. If these young people are going to become servants rather than spoiled brats with a huge sense of entitlement, such an activity must not happen. If the bishop is unresponsive, take it to the SP and then to the area authority. Somebody will get it.

  4. Eric Russell says:

    Philmont is the single greatest experience of my life before my mission. Worth every second of the many months I spent selling coupon books door to door.

  5. aren’t all other boy scouts that are not LDS that go to Philmont either required to pay for it themselves or else they have to fundraise?

    Just cuz they’re Mormon boy scouts doesn’t mean they shouldn’t have to beg or scrounge their own money.

  6. Someone may correct me if I am wrong, but my understanding is that the YM/YW programs are the only auxiliaries allowed to raise funds outside of the budgets which are allocated by sacrament attendance.

    $50/day for Philmont? How many s’mores can 22 kids eat?

  7. Sam Kitterman says:

    I join in with #4. Though we traveled by VW bus given the small size of our group (I and another being the only LDS boys in the group) it was an adventure I remember some forty years later and was worth every dollar I earned by car washes and cleaning windows and mowing yards, etc…

    Philmont is no “dude”ranch. It represents one of the best scouting experiences in the outdoors that one can have whether scout or leader. We hiked some 50 miles over the course of 8 days, camping at the top of one of the highest peaks in New Mexico or next to a mountain river stream.

    As for the general question put in this blog my response is this: if my calling has absolutely nothing to do with the YM program, then its simply not my call nor my duty to tell the Bishop how to respond. That’s his stewardship.

  8. Mark IV says:

    I’m really nervous that Mark B is not making this up.

    You are correct, Margaret. This is a real-world example, and the numbers are not ficticious.

  9. Steve Evans says:

    The YW leader should get equal funding at the very least. This really is abhorrent.

  10. Steve, where would you suggest the YW take their trip to?

  11. This reminds me of our yearly ward ski trip. No joke–

  12. To some extent, I guess, it depends on what “raise the funds privately” means. Back when I was that young, we took a trip somewhere for which we had to raise our own money. Some of the money came from our Priest Quorum advisor paying us to clean up at a construction site where he was constructing (or some such thing). If the private fundraising involves doing things that Scouts do to raise funds (and doesn’t involve calling the members of the ward), I don’t see any significant problem. Scouting is, after all (irrespective of the degree to which it’s been adopted) not part of our liturgy and sometimes Scout camps are far away and expensive. If they’re hitting up members and using ward funds, it’s not acceptable.

    I don’t know precisely what the draw to Fillmore would be, but the Scout camps I went to were fun.

  13. Steve Evans says:

    Margaret, I dunno – does the Niagara Spray Ironing Starch Factory give tours? Otherwise, perhaps a trip to the Janome or Singer HQs. Y’know, something practical.

    I don’t know where the YW should go with that kind of money, but I’d recommend a climb up to Carnarvon Lake.

  14. Mark IV says:

    Some additional details:

    1. The fundraising plan calls for ward members to employ the young men to mow their lawns ($30/week) and do other odd jobs, and to enroll in a service that involves the boys of the ward coming by on eight patriotic holidays and placing a flag in your yard so you don’t have to do it yourself. The service costs $120/year, or $15/event.

    2. The current guidelines say that youth activities shouldn’t extend over a weekend, and that we shouldn’t sponsor events that require the youth to be gone from the ward over the Sabbath.

  15. As the Bishop I enthusiastically approve knowing the Stake President will scotch the idea

  16. Darrell says:

    I am surprised that this got under the radar screen. There are definite instructions from Church HQ that extravagant trips such as this be limited. However, last year a stake adjacent to ours in Oregon had planned to fly their youth (YM/YW) to SLC then bus them to Martin’s Cove where they would participate in a handcart trek. The budget approached over 100K. There was an uprising among the parents and the stake finally sent their youth to a handcart trek about 20 miles from the stake center. I was told that the experience offered them memories of a lifetime with a fraction of the cost.

  17. I think a trip to the Singer HQ which included two weeks of intensive sewing for orphans in Africa would be nice.

    I do NOT have a testimony of scouting. I have never pressured my sons to get their Eagles. Only one of my four brothers has his. Bruce considers that his really belongs to his mother. My uncle once said that scouting was harder to get out of the Church than crabgrass was to get out of a lawn.
    That’s where I am.

  18. Eric Russell says:

    Margaret, as long as they raise the money privately, as the young men are doing, they can go anywhere they want to.

  19. Randy B. says:

    I’m generally in favor of this sort of thing, with some qualifications.

    The church ought to do more to encourage individual initiative at the local level rather than try to squelch it. Indeed, without new thinking and novel approaches, I see little chance that YW will a rewarding experience for my girls. So, assuming that these sorts of unique events and activities are available to both the YM and YW, I’m all in favor.

    The cost is admittedly something of a concern. In some wards, it would create real problems. In the ward I currently live in, though, it would not be an issue. (In fact, last year, the YM all went scuba diving in Florida.) I certainly have sympathy for Margaret’s concern, but I don’t see how bringing down the ecclesiastical hammer on events such as this will do anything to solve the problem.

    So, assuming that this is privately funded, that is will not create individual hardships, and that similar activities are made available to both boys and girls, let ’em have at it! In fact, I see nothing that should stop these folks from going even if the bishop is opposed. In that case, they should instead just go as a group of friends and parents rather than as youth in a particular ward.

  20. Fifteen dollars for the placement of a flag? I would speak privately with the YM leader first.

  21. I’m less jazzed about the social pressure that may come to bear on ward members to so employ the boys. Still, if they’re raising the money privately, there doesn’t seem to be anything per se wrong about it, or at least not anything so per se wrong that I’d bother objecting. I would probably choose not to employ the boys’ various services but, not having either a lawn to mow or a yard in which to place a patriotic flag, that issue’s fairly moot with me right now.

  22. Randy B. says:

    Amen to #18.

  23. Mark IV says:

    Eric, I think you are getting at the source of friction between how BSA operates and how scouting in the church operates.

    It is my understanding (and I ought to know, I’ve sat through enough monthly roundtables) that scout troops are run by the boys, with adults providing what is called shadow leadership. The adults see themselves as facilitators of the boys plans.

    Do you really think that bishops and stake presidents have no say in what the boys plan, as long as they pay for it themselves? How do you deal with the published guidelines regarding travel, expense, etc.?

  24. Eric Russell says:

    Good point, Randy B. It sounds like coordinating with the ward is just a hassle. The individuals taking the lead on this should just coordinate privately with fathers and their sons, then no one can complain about anything.

  25. #9 Ditto!!

    Every year it’s the boys that get to do ‘fun’ stuff (High Adventure, raft trip, etc.) and all the girls get is a week at girls camp.

    I guess we have to do this to help more young men stay active, so that more young men can go on missions, so that more people will convert, so that more tithes and offerings will come in, so that we can spend more on the boys activities… 8-(

  26. If church funds are not involved, take the kids to the space station orbiting the earth!

  27. Mark (23),
    But now you’re asking a different question–I’m not sure how I’d react as Bishop. But as un-YM-related attender of Ward conference, I don’t see where the private comment to the Bishop fits in.

  28. My older boys had a wonderful experience at Philmont. They both paid for it themselves and they did not go with a LDS Troop. I wish all the youth (girls can go to Philmont) who wanted the experience of Philmont would get it. However part of the experience is the joy and satisfaction of planning for and funding the trip themselves. I am all for humanitarian aid. This is also a big part of growing a good kid, but meaningful memories are good too.

  29. Eric–if they can go anywhere they’d like to, I’m sure they’ll want to go to American Idol. That’s quite a message and a metaphor.

    I’m sorry this is such an issue for me, but it is. I am a firm believer in doing things like taking my kids to Guatemala for a summer, living without furniture except for meager beds, eating tortillas and beans, and trying to learn Cakchiquel. I was raised that way. (Dad did it to us Blair kids, and most of us have never recovered, nor do we intend to.) I’m certain that some camps bring great bonding etc., but our profligate spending cannot be pleasing to the One who told the rich man to give away all he had and follow Him. There is such need in this world. $33,000. can do so much.

    And it now time for me to take my son to his guitar lessons. I am hoping he’ll become a rock star.

  30. Randy B. says:

    “How do you deal with the published guidelines regarding travel, expense, etc.”

    You hope you have open-minded leaders open to local variation. If you don’t, you take the initiative on your own and do it outside the official structure of the church. When faced with that dilemma, I suspect some may become more flexible.

    To be frank, I have no intention of allowing church bureaucracy to unduly limit what sort of activities my kids get to do. If I can’t do it in the system, I’ll go to plan B.

  31. When I was a scout we had one big camp — we went to Camp Cherry Valley on Catalina Island. It was drivable from our ward in southern utah (except for the last 50 miles across the water from Long Beach, of course…). It was truly memorable, and surely my best scouting experience.



    C’mon. I have to think that for a fraction of the price of 22 plane tickets you could come up with something just as meaningful and memorable, and a bit closer to home.

    Of course, the question here isn’t really “Is this an obscene amount of money for a church activity?,” which it clearly is, but “Is it my business to say something to the bishop?”

    It would be very hard for me not to. Perhaps an appropriate way to phrase it would be “Bishop, I know this falls outside of my direct church stewardship, but I feel that I would be remiss if I didn’t voice my personal opinion that spending that amount on a Scout activity is really excessive.”

    And can you imagine how knowledge of such a trip would be received elsewhere in the church? Imagine one of these scouts years later telling his Guatemalan or Ghanaian mission companion about what HIS quorum did for summer camp.

  32. Steve Evans says:

    Will this $33,000 result in higher activity rates amongst them as young adults? Where are the tangible gains here? This is just a silly waste of money.

  33. sister blah 2 says:

    If church funds are not involved, take the kids to the space station orbiting the earth!

    I would amen this big time, if ONLY there were a similar extra-church-funds mechanism for getting girls to do fun things too. Believe me, as a young woman looking at the bulletin boards in the church building with pictures of rock climbing, skiing, etc, etc (while we were doing cross-stitch or some such), I didn’t magically feel less jealous simply because of there mere technicality that it wasn’t church funds. “Church funds” is just Enron accounting tricks as far as the YM/YW lack of equality is concerned.

    I echo big concern about ward members feeling social pressure to subscribe to $15 flags and whatnot. Again, blurring the “it’s not church funds!!” line of defense.

  34. 1. The fundraising plan calls for ward members to employ the young men to mow their lawns ($30/week) and do other odd jobs, and to enroll in a service that involves the boys of the ward coming by on eight patriotic holidays and placing a flag in your yard so you don’t have to do it yourself. The service costs $120/year, or $15/event.

    $15 to stick a flag in someone yard? That’s not fundraising, that is emotional extortion by guilt/obligation. That’s a worse lesson than just footing the bill in entirety and then reminding the boys at every possible opportunity how thankful for and humbled they should be at other’s generosity.

    At least that way they might remember to say thank you to the members who feed them when they are on their missions.

  35. Also, the fact remains that you’re “calling on” members of the ward to support all this fundraising. Maybe it’s a 100% well-to-do ward, but if not, there might be people for whom it will hurt to have someone else mow their lawn for $120/mo. Also, that’s a pretty steep price for the flag service, if you ask me (wards I’ve been in before have done it for much less). And if you’re in a Utah ward where there are lots of members on every street, there’s a certain amount of social pressure to shell out for the flags. In my stake, our SP insisted that if scouts did the flag service, they offer it to EVERYBODY in the ward without a fee, and then collect donations, because he didn’t want a star-bellied-sneech thing going on.

    My point is, sure you can say the money is being raised “privately,” but it’s still coming from somewhere, mostly members of the ward — whether they need a lawn boy or flag service or not.

  36. Randy B. says:

    “Where are the tangible gains here? This is just a silly waste of money.”

    I don’t know anything about Philmont. So as to this particular activity, I can’t say. Others seem to have found it enormously valuable.

    I will say that if I as a parent were as convinced about the value of a given activity as those folks are about Philmont, I would not hesistate to pursue it, even if it came with a fairly significant price tag, and even if the bishop was opposed.

    That said, I’m all in favor of making reasoned judgments and examining opportunity costs. If there were a comparable though perhaps not quite as nice alternative at a lower costs, I would be happy to consider it. But if I determine that there is unique value in a given activity, no bishop is going to stop me.

    Any other approach would leave me despondent about the YW activities our girls will likely be left with then they become teenagers.

  37. Hey, if the church doesn’t want to sponsor scouting, then contact the local Rotary club and they will be happy to sponsor you. It isn’t the church’s money, and all of the leaders are doing right by the scouting organization. Raising their own funds is not taking any money from other activities, so why cry over money that is earned?

    It may seem excessive to some how much we spend on buildings such as chapels and temples when we could be doing so much more for humanitarian programs.

  38. Darrell says:

    Randy (30), there are legitimate reasons for the Church guidelines and I respect them–they come from long, hard, sometimes disasterous experience. Plan B is certianly an option for a family (as illustrated by Magraret (29). Just don’t expect everyone to be subjected to plan A if is against Church Policy.

  39. I have signifigant exp with philmont and large long expensive trips in YM’s. They are worth it. I will return and report on this after dinner.

  40. Randy B. says:

    “I would amen this big time, if ONLY there were a similar extra-church-funds mechanism for getting girls to do fun things too.”

    Individual initiative goes a long way in the church. How far you can go will depend to some degree on local leadership. But if YW leaders took the initiative, with nothing more than the support of their husbands and the parents of the YW, they could do far more than they do now. Inertia and low expectations seem to be the primary obstacles. But it doesn’t have to be that way.

  41. Eric Russell says:

    If there are guidelines against over-the-weekend activities, no knows about it. There’s a whole branch at Philmont that supports its participants.

  42. Just for the record, girls _do_ have the same opportunities to raise funds as boys do, and are welcome to go to camps besides girls camp. In the last ward we lived in, the Nonny Spouse and I were both in the Youth program. The young men helped the young women put the flags in the yard every flag-day, and got the lion’s share of the money.

    There _are_ limits on the types and kinds of fundraising they can do, but they’re welcome to raise as much non-tithing money as they can, I believe.

    The fundraising plan as disclosed does sound a bit “pie-in-the-sky” and manipulative to me. That being said, Philmont is the kind of experience that Margaret described here:

    “I am a firm believer in doing things like taking my kids to Guatemala for a summer, living without furniture except for meager beds, eating tortillas and beans, and trying to learn Cakchiquel.”

    except without Guatemala and Cakchiquel. And that you carry everything in with you on your back for your 50-120 mile hike over 10 days in the wilderness. This isn’t just some regular ol’ scout camp, it’s like the über-scout camp of all scout camps.

    All that being said, though I’m currently involved as a scout leader, I don’t have much of a testimony of scouting, honestly. However, at a recent scout activity I was talking with a boy’s inactive father who’s trying to turn his life around after getting involved in drugs and partying and general not keeping his head on straight, even though he and his wife had a few kids. He talked about how great his couple of trips to Philmont were, and it was pretty clear that his scouting experience was something that he thought of as being foundational in pointing him in “the right way.” I guess what I’m trying to say is even though scouting doesn’t do much for me, there are some people that it really helps out and that really like it. Everybody’s gotta find those things that help point them in the right direction, I suppose.

    $30,000 seems like a lot, but it’s akin to $1,000 a person, given the numbers above. It seems like that’s probably akin to what somebody might pay for a year of guitar lessons here in Utah County if they were taking one lesson a week at around $20 a lesson, which is what I paid my beginning guitar teacher.

    I personally, as a leader, would try and duck out of this one. And I, personally, as a leader, would try and find cheaper, better experiences closer to home. But, if somebody’s that gung-ho about it and thinks they can raise the funds, then they’re welcome to do it, as long as it’s within the guidelines.


    “2. The current guidelines say that youth activities shouldn’t extend over a weekend, and that we shouldn’t sponsor events that require the youth to be gone from the ward over the Sabbath.”

    I don’t know of any scout camp outside of utah the intermountain west that might meet that requirement. We regularly had to camp over sunday at every scout camp I ever went to growing up in “the mission field.”

    So, if that’s really a guideline, then I’d kibosh the activity as a leader.

  43. Randy B. says:

    “Just don’t expect everyone to be subjected to plan A if is against Church Policy.”

    I don’t expect anyone to be “subjected” to any plan. If someone doesn’t want to participate in plan A, whether that’s going to Philmont or something else, they shouldn’t.

    Church guidelines often make sense in one situation but not in another. SPs and even Bishops are given a fair amount of authority to make local adjustments and grant exceptions to general guidelines like those at issue here. These guildelines are not infalliable nor are they impervious to change.

  44. I lived in a stake where there were two clearly rich wards, and clearly poor ward (geographical boundaries do that sometimes). The very wealthy former stake president used to fly the priests from his ward in his plane to a nearby city to buy Krispy Kremes as a midweek activity. I was good friends with one of those priests and he told me about it. They loved it, they had a great time, grew in friendship, respect for each other, and observed a great male role model (the former stake president was a very kind generous man). All of those things are fabulous benefits, but at what cost? I’m sure you can imagine how the other boys, especially the ones from the poorer wards felt when those priests casually spoke those adventures in seminary.

    These sorts of extravagant gestures can be really great for the people who benefit from them, I’m not discounting that. They do, however, illustrate the stark differences between the haves, and the have-nots, whether the have-nots are the YW from the same ward, the poor kids from the other side of town, or even the inactive boy who just never heard about it.

    I’d also like to point out that, from the point of view of a youth, the line between ward-funded, and self-funded is irrelevant, if it can be called a ‘teacher’s quorum activity’ (or similar) then it is ‘church sponsored.’

  45. Right there in ward council I would say:

    “Ha! Hand out the pamphlets to the families and if they think it would be great for their kids, let them figure out how to raise the money. This is a ward budget meeting and if you think this is going to be privately funded, discuss it at scouts, not here. Also, find a comprable experience for the YW and arrange for their private funds, too!”

    And that, my friends, is why I am not invited to ward council.

    If this got past one ward coucil, I would meet with the bishop and give him information on how and where to donate this money to pay tution for African students. $100 pays for one African kid to school for one year. How many years of school could you pay for with the money allotted for air fare? Surely the obscenity would sink in….

  46. Steve Evans says:

    Word up ESO.

  47. Not to be too snarky, Nonny Mouse, but in my mind an endorsement from a guy who, though he had a profound experience at a particular scout camp, nonetheless got involved in drugs and partying, serves to generally call into question whether the profundity of such experience translates reliably into lifestyle choices…

  48. Sigh, so much Boy Scout hate.

    First of all Boy Scout Camp is a traditional experience and very worthwhile. It’s usually around a week long, occasionally going over Sunday (if it’s close you can come back Saturday) and that seems fine, and I don’t think the guidelines were meant to end Boy Scout Camp- otherwise why does the Church sponsor Boy Scout troops?

    Philmont should certainly not be an common thing, as there are plenty of good local Boy Scout Camps.

    However, Philmont can provide a once in a lifetime experience, and if the money is raised outside of the church in a proper manner, and if the trip is planned with wise frugality then I think such an activity should be allowed.

    That said, the price is a little worrisome to me. Is it necessary to fly? Are there any other, cheaper yet still safe means of transportation?

    The fund raising method worries me even more. This seems to be organized directly around raising money from the ward. Although this may be driven by the fact that it’s in Utah and so everybody is in the Ward- are non-members also solicited for the flag service?

    When I was a Boy Scout in Washington State, our yearly fundraiser was for us to go around collecting people’s Christmas Trees on the 1st Saturday in January.

    We’d advertise through out our assigned area (assigned by the Boy Scout Counsel) the week before Christmas. Then on the selected day we’d all get together at the Scoutmaster’s house along with everybody who had a pickup truck that we could strong arm into coming. We’d drive around all day, loading up with Christmas trees (people were asked to donate with a check attached to the tree- we suggested 5 dollars a tree), when we got the truck full we’d take them back to the Scoutmaster’s where they got feed into the chipper. We then sold the mulch for 50 cents or something a bag. The vast majority of our donations came from non-members who wanted somebody to haul their tree away.

    How many hours each boy worked was recorded. After the deductions for renting the chipper, and 10% that went to the general Troop fund (often used to help less prosperous families out), the rest was divided among each boy proportionate to the number of hours he worked and then held in trust by the Troop for expenditures on Boy Scout stuff- including Scout Camp (that was the big one) but also to buy sleeping bags and Backpacks, and tents, and stoves, and other scouting equipment.

    Now is there anybody here who would object to that kind of system?

    I swear, Utah must be giving Boy Scouts a bad name or something, cause real Boy Scouts is great.

    As for the young women- are you saying they aren’t allowed to do private fund raising? That’s crazy! Why aren’t they? I mean, I guess it’s harder cause they don’t have a non-Church affiliated organization to draw on like they would if the Girl Scouts were the YW program or something. (Both my sisters did girl scouts, and my mother used to be real into it- but she tells me she thinks now that the Church was wise to stay out it- she prefers the Church YW program). I mean Boy Scout Counsels often have an already established method of fund raising- with the YW I guess you’d have to come up with something that the Bishop will feel comfortable agreeing to.

    With Boy Scouts it’s a little easier on the Bishop because he’s just accepting an already establish means of fund raising that has the Boy Scout stamp of approval already, but for YW fund raising the responsibility falls entirely on him.

    Still, I’d hope that if the YW had something planned that they wanted to do that required a fund raiser that the Bishop would work with them to find and acceptable method. If a Bishop isn’t then I think that’s grounds to talk to the Stake President.

  49. BTW, this thread would have to veer in a certain direction only a few degrees before I would feel empowered to launch into a tirade against wards quasi-endorsing sending kids to EFY… :)

  50. Lulubelle says:

    Maybe I don’t understand how ward budgets work but if they are going to raise the funds themselves, and even the kids whose parents can’t afford it, can go, too, then what’s the problem? Why do you have to ask permission of the bishop? As long as its not coming from tithing funds or negatively affecting the funds for another activity, what’s wrong with it? And if the YWs wants to do something equally pricey but they fund it themselves, what’s wrong with that?

  51. Steve, why so antagonistic on this subject? Did you miss out on the class trip to Disneyland? ;)

    (Your comment #1 reminds me of JDC – BAN HIM! BAN HIM!)

  52. Eric Russell says:

    Actually, Jeremy, that’s not a bad idea, even if you’re against it. I think the discussion would be a little less slanted if gender weren’t involved.

    EFY, youth conferences, pageants, pioneer treks. The church spends a lot of money and sponsors programs that cost a lot of money in order to provide activities for the youth. Should the church scrap it all and send the money to Africa? I don’t know.

  53. Steve Evans says:

    LOL, FHL. It’s not real antagonism, per se. It’s just a sense that this is a colossal waste of money, and if people have that kind of disposable income to throw around, there are probably a hundred other uses that would be more socially beneficial. This just smacks of conspicuous consumerism wrapped in the guise of the BSA, whose favored status within the Church is already something that barely passes the sniff test.

  54. Darrell says:

    Randy, I would say that in such cases as this that there are those who are “subjected” to the plan A. There are the parents who cannot afford to cough up the money. There are the kids who feel the pressure to go, even though the activity really does not interest them (there are lots of YM who go to Mutual every week and hate it because they aren’t into scouting). There are the ward members who are “hit up” to make donations and feel the pressure to contribute because it is a “church” activity. Last, but not least, there is the bishop who should not be put into the uncomfortable position of wanting to stick to policy and may recognize that this is way overboard but also doesn’t want to be the bad guy.

    In my opinion if these activities take place there should be a clear deliniation between the activity and the Church–an impossibility most of the time.

  55. My exp. I would say yes. Any Bishop worth his salt will support these kinds of activities. These trips go on all the time and are a part of our LDS culture

    Any ward and stake with a functioning YM program goes on HA trips. Wards and stakes that do not are doing their YM a disservice and to be honest I would not live there. These trips are a key part of retaining YM in my EXP.

    I have done 4 trips. 2 to Philmont and 2 to then Rockies for HA.

    Usually they run about $750 out the door per person. Our current trip to Colorado will run $52,500 for 70 people. I think the $1100 cost is inflated by the airfare. I have never seen ward funds used for these trips. They are paid for by the families and by fundraisers.


    Have you ever worked in YM? Does your ward even have a YM program? $750 a a person for a week in the Rockies is dirt cheap.

    I think there is some bias against males being exhibited in this thread. Why do male posters never bash the YW program in the bloggernaccle but many both male and esp female posters feel so free to bash the YM program? Remember that according to the Pew study the active members as adults are 56-44 female.

  56. Thomas Parkin says:

    Please, Tom, don’t say anything. please please please …



  57. Margaret, I’m well enough off that I can send my kids on expensive educational trips to Europe. Will that turn them into spoiled, entitled brats? Do I need to stop doing that and have them spend all their free time sewing clothes for orphans? I think service is important, but I don’t think limiting the youth activities to service projects only is necessary or healthy.

  58. bbell's bishop says:

    bbell, I will not support this kind of activity. Apparently that means you don’t think I’m “worth my salt.” Please come see me on Sunday, and bring your temple recommend.

  59. bbell said: “These trips go on all the time and are a part of our LDS culture.”

    You could say the same thing for many, many things in our church that I have little enthusiasm for.

  60. My stake does the exact same high adventure trip in alternate years for YM and YW. It includes hiking 22 miles, white water rafting, and it costs $150 per person and includes travel to another country (Canada), but we are on the border.

    This year, Girls camp costs $60 and Boy Scout Camp costs $275. As per church guidelines, the youth participated in the allowed ONE fundraiser–YW and YM working together. Did the YM work 4 times harder than the girls to get so much more of the money, do you suppose?

  61. I’m against the activity, but for different reasons than some here.

    To those who say it’s unfair to the YW, I say, why can’t they plan a similar activity? Why should the YM suffer because of the YW leaders lack of creativity? Aren’t the just as capable of fund-raising and manual labor?

    To those who say it’s a waste of money, maybe so, but it’s the young men’s money to choose to do with as they see fit.

    But, my concern is that members would feel obligated to pay for the over-priced services since it was sanctioned by the ward. If they are truly earning the money on the free-market, then good for them. But I don’t think they should be playing on the, “I’m a boy from your ward and this is what the ward is doing” line. So for that reason I’d be opposed to it, although whether I’d say something to the bishop depends on my position.

    Or, if I were the bishop and were cruel, I’d say, “Yeah, sounds like a great idea” and then once they’ve earned the money, we’d have a fireside about how some many of our brothers and sisters are suffering all over the world, and then let them choose what to do with the money. But I wouldn’t be that cruel.

  62. At least the flag program run by the scouts in my ward is only $25 for the year. I now feel like I’m getting a serious bargain. (Hopefully no one in my stake will read this thread and raise the rate…)

  63. sister blah 2 says:

    To those who say it’s unfair to the YW, I say, why can’t they plan a similar activity? Why should the YM suffer because of the YW leaders lack of creativity? Aren’t the just as capable of fund-raising and manual labor?

    Mike, it’s banned. No fund raising for church activities. Boys get away with it by saying it isn’t church, it’s scouts.

    But if YW leaders took the initiative, with nothing more than the support of their husbands and the parents of the YW, they could do far more than they do now.

    Well, if takes money, then no, they can’t. When I was in YW we were told the handbook said parents can’t be asked to pay, there can’t be any fund raising, and you have to do it off the church funds, which are very limited. Maybe some don’t follow the handbook, or it’s changed?

  64. Darrell says:

    sister blah 2: The Handbook discourages fundraising (other than for camps) but leaves it in the hands of the bishop and stake president.

  65. Mike, it’s banned. No fund raising for church activities. Boys get away with it by saying it isn’t church, it’s scouts.

    Sorry, I’m not familiar with all the rules involved. I thought someone said earlier that both the YM and YM could raise money. My bad. But even so, then it’s the rules you have a problem with, not the activity. And if the rules make a distinction between scouts and church, then this certainly seems like it falls on the scouts side of the line, and therefore is within the rules. If this is unfair to the young women, then the rules should change. But my point is that we shouldn’t punish the young men because the rules restrict the young women from doing the same, whether those rules are good or not.

    And, although I don’t know if the rules are good or not, I also want to point out that the young women can participate in activities through girl scouts or other organizations outside of church, and are free to raise money with their own over-priced services. The difference is that the church and boy scouts are affiliated, but as I said, I’m against the scouting program trying to use the influence of the ward to make members feel obligated to support an activity.

  66. Mike L–I suggest that boys in boy scout uniforms actually are at a DISTINCT advantage in raising money over the girls from some local church in t-shirts who want to camp.

    People give money to scouts they wouldn’t give to non-scouts. Nostalgia, patriotism, elderly disorientation, I don’t know, but I think the difference is real.

  67. sister blah 2 says:

    Mike–no need to say Sorry :-). Sounds like Darrell #64 has clarified the actual language from the handbook isn’t an outright ban for camps.

  68. As a YM president, I can say that high adventure activities can be done on the cheap. We traveled 600 miles to Tennessee from Indiana last year for a 6 day 5 night whitewater rafting/hiking trip for $200 bucks a kid.

    Even if we did eat a ton of hot dogs the kids had a blast and it stayed within budget with each of the boys contributing half of the cost.

    $1000 a pop for a summer activity is so unnecessary especially when the money save could go towards the boys’ mission funds or on a trip like Margaret describes – One can get a round trip ticket to Mexico or Central America pretty cheap these days.

  69. If you are invited to ward council and have a concern about something presented at ward council perhaps the appropriate place to bring it up is, oh I don’t known, ward council. Why make the bishop the referee right out of the gate?

    On a side note, I call upon all those who would rather see the money go to Africa or some such similar place to immediately make a meaningful sacrifice in terms of their lifestyle and donate the money to a meaningful cause (I’m looking at you Steve Evans). Please then allow the rest of us and our kids to enjoy life a little despite the obvious moral deficiency that arises due to not spending summers living in the bush.

  70. “Private funding” is technically not allowed. *Approved* fundraising is (and the CHI has rules about fundraisers).

    Just because it is of good report and praiseworthy means that it needs to be part of the YW program…

  71. Steve Evans says:

    Mathew, I’m donating all my money to raising my family. Or is that cause not meaningful in your eyes?

  72. bbell – There are plenty of men who criticize the YW program, and the Activity Day program for girls. The percentages may show more women staying active, but for many fathers of YW, that statistic seems to be *in spite of* the YW program.

    What are the girls in your ward doing while your boys are going to Colorado? Having a wedding dress fitting session?

  73. I really dislike the idea of having families finance this out of their own pockets rather than having the boys work together to raise the money. Working together towards a significant goal is miles better than the individualistic every-boy-for-himself approach. The youth need more projects that require long-term group planning and goal setting, not less.

  74. Actually, in writing #65 I think I convinced myself to change my mind. I realized that this is the most important question: Why should the scout troop be restricted from doing something any other scout troop would be free to do, just because they are affiliated with the ward? (With the exception of any pre-understood rules such as no Sabbath stays). The young men shouldn’t be punished because they belong to a troop that is affiliated with the ward instead of another troop, and I say that as someone who chose to belong to a different troop than the one my ward sponsored, since the ward troop was lame at the time.

    But as a bishop I’d give instruction that the scouts should not target the members’ homes, but the community in general, and that they should present themselves as scouts, not as the young men of the ward.

    ESO, girl scouts have uniforms too, and tasty cookies. If the people in your community are more willing to support the boy scouts than the girl scouts, that’s an issue you should take up with your community, and not punish the boy scouts.

  75. Steve,

    Think of the children in Africa!

    Then tell me if your family really needs all that household income you and your wife pull down.

  76. Matthew, so should we all give away all that we have until there is no one less fortunate than ourselves? That’s something I’ve pondered, but to avoid a threadjack I’ll just link to my post on the subject.

  77. Steve Evans says:

    Mathew, I see that nuance is not lost on you. Let’s not get into who is the breadwinner and all that. It’s irrelevant.

  78. Mike L,

    The point I really want to make is that if someone has a beef, they should bring it up in the ward council to which they were invited. Otherwise bishops might as well that meeting entirely as it obviously is failing to serve its purpose.

    As for giving up all your worldly goods, if you think you should I won’t stand in your way. But keep it on the DL. Personally I try to do things so that my right hand doesn’t know what my left is doing. Of course that makes both typing and sex awkward.

  79. Kevin Barney says:

    I’m not a scouter, but we did go to Philmont when I was a boy, and it was wonderful. But we went by bus, and I don’t think we spent a tenth of the per person cost of this trip.

    One of the boys bought a copy of The Godfather at the bus station, and I read maybe the first hundred pages on the trip. That was an education in and of itself!

  80. Steve Evans says:

    Mat, from what I’ve heard of the results obtained, your explanation re: left/right hands seems to fit.

  81. StillConfused says:

    As someone who is StillConfused, what is the problem with this situation? Is it because private funds are being used? I can see it is a large amount of money but I am not sure why that is a bad thing, unless of course, the money is not available.

  82. hy should the scout troop be restricted from doing something any other scout troop would be free to do, just because they are affiliated with the ward? (With the exception of any pre-understood rules such as no Sabbath stays). The young men shouldn’t be punished because they belong to a troop that is affiliated with the ward instead of another troop, and I say that as someone who chose to belong to a different troop than the one my ward sponsored, since the ward troop was lame at the time.

    There’s no reason LDS wards can’t be like the rest … except that the sponsoring institution (the Church) has special and specific rules in place.

    If your sons belonged to the ward troop, you’d understand…

  83. StillConfused,

    The problem is that a lot of money is being spent, and some are opposed to the spending of money on principle. Never mind that the money will go to feed the families of pilots, flight attendants, airport personnel, Philmont employees, manufacturers and distributors of camping equipment, etc, and that in return for this payment the boys will have the experience of a lifetime. Spending money is evil. Period.

  84. It never ceases to amaze me that those who are adamantly in favor of forced redistribution of wealth throw fits when the redistribution is voluntary and mutually beneficial.

  85. Our stake spends Saturday night on the lawn of a LDS Chapel in NM, attends church there on Sunday and go on our way to CO.

    Really these trips are non-controversial and highly anticipated by boys and dads.

  86. The youth in our ward seem to have a lot of trips they can go on, and it seems like a lot of them part of the cost has to be covered by the family. The cost of the next trip coming up is $250, which we might do for one kid. But we have three teenagers. Not gonna happen.

  87. The Gipper says:

    Rob G, your trickle-down theory of lavish vacations is heartwarming. The Gipper is pleased.

  88. #57–I recommend you rephrase, modifying your tone and deleting any mention of your high income. In a way, your sarcasm boils down the essential problem of the whole situation Mark B. is offering up for discussion. It’s really not about whether or not scouting is good, or whether that particular camp is good [it appears to be wonderful for many], but whether or not one set of kids should have particular privileges VIA THE CHURCH which another set will not have because they don’t have the same access to money. A lot of it is in the attitude. Certainly, pointing out with any measure of pride that one ward has more than another and hence can be more privileged than another is problematic. I believe we have made covenants which imply we will try to be more egalitarian than that.

    I support educational trips to Europe, btw. Been there, done that, plan on doing that again in two years.

  89. For what it’s worth:

    CHI, book 2, 1998, pp.279: Sabbath day observance – No Church-sponsored events such as games, practices, or travel or camping or hiking are to be scheduled on Sunday or travel to or from camps or youth conferences.

    CHI, book 1, 2006, pp 160 – 161: a SP or bishop may authorize group fund-raising activities only when necessary to help pay for annual camps and equipment.

    The fund-raising guidelines cover 2 pages which I won’t try to reproduce.

  90. I happen to be the scoutmaster of a poor ward outside of Nashville, where the troop is combined with the hispanic branch. For our outings, I insist that the boys raise their own money from non-church sources. As was mentioned earlier, there are many established pathways for scout fundraising. I don’t allow parents to fund their boys for two reasons: First, those who can’t afford it are conspicuously left out; and second, it is tremendously important for the boys to have the experience of raising their own money to fund their trips. We have regular fund-raising activities in the community, which is very supportive, and we keep track of which boys earn what. Those who don’t participate in the fundraising don’t go to camp. We use the ward scouting budget for food and gas, and usually we don’t have much left over. The ward has never complained at the system we’ve implemented, and it has served us well.

  91. live one says:

    Comment by Mathew — April 8, 2008 @ 7:38 pm

    “Private funding” is technically not allowed. *Approved* fundraising is (and the CHI has rules about fundraisers).

    As a Branch President with a new scouting program the YM’s Pres. and other local leaders opted to organize the troop outside of the church program. There were 12 non-members and 3 church members in the troop and our reasoning was not to limit the program or tie financial donations by non-member parents to the Church budget.

    Our Stake Pres. gave us a choice and in retrospect our combined decision was heavily influenced by the YM’s Pres. who had great fund raising skills.

    The troop flourished for a while but when the YM Pres. moved, there was no accounting for the money which was raised. No one to this day knows who received the money once the troop was disbanded. I’m not sure why the Boy Scouts of America allow local leaders to run off with the funds instead of keeping them with the troop. In the financial world this is clearly embezzlement. There are no such issues with Church sponsored troops as all funds are held in a Church account.

    If local Church leaders can be prosecuted and face disciplinary action and/or arrest for ward accounting irregularities and fraud then local LDS Scout leaders should be held to the same standard.

  92. Just starting to read the comments, but Ardis . . . Your comment in #2 (“whether I had a nap before church”) is priceless – and far too true far too often.

  93. live one (#93),

    I didn’t make the comment which you attribute to me.

  94. The details in #14 just changed the whole nature of the discussion for me. I’ll keep reading and see if there is more info coming.

  95. Jennifer in GA says:

    In my opinion, this should have never been brought up in ward council to begin with. If 12 scouts decide they want to go to Philmont, then they need to each talk to their parents about how to make it happen. No money should come out of the ward fund whatsoever.

    Philmont isn’t really like a regular scount camp where the whole troup goes. It’s not a troup activity. It should all be handled individually.

  96. Matt W. says:

    They said they are rasing the money privately, why would this have anything to do with the YW? that means the money is not coming from the Church Budget. I wouldn’t get involved. I say if the YM president has the money, or can get the money, rock on.

  97. #82: I understand that there may be specific, pre-defined rules in place for LDS church-sponsored boy scout troops, such as the rule for no trips on Sunday. From what I’ve read it doesn’t seem like there are rules preventing fundraising by the troop to pay for a camping trip (even an expensive one).

    But as for sabbath camping, you might be right. I must have missed the 12-day detail in the original post. Still, based on some of the comments it seems they would feel the same way even if the trip excluded the Sabbath, based only on the cost. That viewpoint is mainly what I’m responding to.

    #78: I agree that the ward council itself would have been the better place to bring it up. And for the record, I didn’t say I wanted to give up all my stuff, just that I’ve pondered the issue.

    #90: I agree with your approach completely.

  98. I think that the Young Women should be able to raise money too. I propose the following activity: At about mid-day on each patriotic holiday, visit the homes that were visited by the scouts that morning, knock on the door and say something like, “That’s a real nice flag you got there on your lawn. It would be a shame if something were to, you know, happen to it. You should consider hiring some of us girls in the ward to watch it for you. Otherwise, you never know what kind of desecration might occur. And you wouldn’t want that, would you?”

  99. I am adamantly opposed to the financing of this trip – not to the trip itself. I don’t like the cost at all, for the same reason Margaret and others have given. The cost is exorbitant and spending it in this way is selfish. That’s just my take.

    However, it is the financing plan that kills it for me. The guidelines are CRYSTAL CLEAR on one thing that nobody has mentioned yet: The ward roster is NOT to used for ANY purpose other than to have contact info for members when needed. This is a clear case where members are being targeted for money *specifically* because they are members. In my Ohio ward, this plan would necessitate taking a ward roster and contacting members directly from that roster to make the solicitations.

    In my mind, there is no gray whatsoever in this policy – and it is an absolutely necessary and critical policy. Perhaps it gets butchered regularly, but that doesn’t change its genius and importance.

    If they can raise the funds as outlined by Rob G. in #92 (which I think is brilliant), all I can say is, “That’s their choice, even if I feel it is extravagant.” As planned, ain’t no way I’d support it, and I certainly would express my concerns to the YM Pres. and Bishop privately – or in open Ward Council if asked or if discussion was requested by the Bishop.

  100. Man, I misreferenced another comment. I meant Rob’s #90.

  101. Ray… this Flag thing is obviously in Utah (I see it all the time when I’m down there on July 4th).

    That means that the Ward boundaries and membership is essentially the same as the Scout Troop Fundraising boundaries.

    I feel the same way you do, but I also recognize that being in Utah in a heavily Mormon neighborhood can make differentiating between ward membership lists and neighborhood boundaries largely theoretical.

    It just makes me glad I wasn’t in Utah for my Scouting experience.

    By the way, I still have gotten a response to the real life fundraising program I experienced in Boy Scouts (Post #48). I’d really like to know if people here would have problems with that form of fundraising?

    Is it really the method of fundraising that has people worried (like Ray) or are most people just of the opinion that Boy Scouts isn’t worth the money?

  102. Alternative ways that these scouts could raise the money:

    Cook and distribute meth (One upside is that it presumably doesn’t involve selling to members. Also, they earn the Chemistry merit badge.)

    As long as you have a van and you’re in New Mexico, pick up some illegals in the desert and give them a lift to Albuquerque for $500 a head.

    Don your uniforms and work the security detail for the local mildly retarded rap impressario (if you’re in Provo, this guy).

    I’m just trying to think outside of the box (while still respecting the box).

  103. gst, are you gunning for another Niblet nomination already? That’s brilliant.

  104. Latter-day Guy says:

    I’m not much of a scouter… I think I might have been a tenderfoot once. In a past life. However, I don’t see what the big deal is. if the boys can raise it, then the money should be theirs to use as they see fit. If YW groups aren’t allowed fund-raisers than there is certainly an inequitable situation. However, putting the kibosh on the YM’s activity for that reason is like trying to solve discrimination against the blind by putting out everyone’s eyes.

  105. Ray, it’s not about the recognition or the money. I do it for the love of the game.

  106. This discussion has gotten a little bit silly in its polarity: two choices, spend $33k to save our boys from the streets, or give all our money to starving kids in Africa.

    Here’s the thing: a few people have spoken fervently about having formative experiences at Philmont. But just because some people have those experiences at those places, I’m not convinced that the youth couldn’t have just as meaningful experiences elsewhere for less than $33k. And by “meaningful” I’m not limiting myself to the caricatures given here. It’s possible to be wary of the $33K pricetag without insisting that the same amount be raised at sent to an orphanage somewhere. C’mon people.

    And another thing. Think about it: some of you are saying “why don’t the YW just do a huge fundraiser, too?” In the scenario give here, that fundraising is happening primarily within the ward (and here in Utah, that’s more or less what you’re stuck with, because EVERY ward has YM doing fundraisers). If you’re saying it would be no big deal for the people in your ward to come up with $66,000 in a year, even if they’re getting mowed lawns and flags on the curb in exchange, you live in a very different kind of ward than I do.

  107. “whether or not one set of kids should have particular privileges VIA THE CHURCH which another set will not have because they don’t have the same access to money.”


    There is a certain irony in a BYU faculty member writing this. How can you justify the church’s second biggest expenditure if it disporportionally benefits those with access to money?

  108. Thomas Parkin says:

    “if the boys can raise it, then the money should be theirs to use as they see fit.”

    I’m with ya there.

    $33k could buy something like 100 Xbox 360s, or 1500 lap dances.

    *kind nudge*

    (Iow – there is naturally some limit on what they choose to spend there money on, and the question revolves around where that limit is.)


  109. Steve Evans says:

    Mat, that’s cheap obfuscation. This is a “you make the call” about a given scenario, not about an entirely different scenario regarding BYU. The church’s expenditures at BYU may indeed pose certain problems, but why should Margaret, of all people, be required to solve your cooked and entirely alien hypothetical in order to give an answer to the questions posed in the post? Ridiculous.

  110. A few random thoughts:

    I, Mark B., am not Mark Brown, although my great-grandmother’s maiden name was Brown.

    Ardis is not the only person on this blog who uses “sex” when describing persons and “gender” when talking about grammar. I’m sick to death of people who are afraid to say “sex.”

    Sex Sex Sex Sex Sex

    Finally, I don’t see any correlation (or causation) between lots of “circuses” for the youth and meaningful activity in the church as adults. Until someone shows me some causal links, I’d say spend the time and money elsewhere.

  111. Mathew said:

    “There is a certain irony in a BYU faculty member writing this. How can you justify the church’s second biggest expenditure if it disporportionally benefits those with access to money?”

    This comparison would make sense if the poor kids that have really good fire-starting skills get scholarships to Philmont.

    Also, there’s a certain irony in the fact that what these boys are spending for a week at scout camp would pay for about 75% of one semester of full-time tuition at BYU…

    Indeed, the reason BYU is the church’s second biggest expenditure is precisely because its tuition costs are outrageously low in comparison to other colleges.

  112. Well, since women don’t have “regularly scheduled PPI’s”, the whole speak-with-it-with-the-bishop-after-church-in-a-PPI thing is impossible/irrelevant.

    And, being just 6-months-new in the ward, I would certainly want to know (a) if this is something that happens every year, every other year, every four years, etc., and whether the budget numbers are realistic based on past experience; and (b) whether the YW have ever had the opportunity to do something similar (including, but not limited to, letting them know that a Philmont experience is available to them if they don’t do it as part of an LDS troop and/or no current YW leaders are interested in outdoor high adventure activities).

    Oh, and I suppose I’d also want to know what activities the Scouts are planning to do in order to prepare themselves for the wilderness camping/hiking experience. You don’t just jump up from the Wii and run out to the desert the next day. Surely, there will be weekend hiking, camping, rafting, first aid and other survival training experiences prior to the big NM trip. How will those be paid for?

  113. Scout camp is cool. It’s not $33,000 worth of cool.

    Our stake is very clear about the YM only having one fundraiser a year, regardless of its success. (The YW are limited to one as well.) That would have to be one heck of a single fundraiser.

  114. Latter-day Guy says:


    Fair point about the XBoxes. (Lap dances for most scouts would be felonious.) :)

    Honestly, if the boys wanted to use the money to go to Disney World, I wouldn’t have a problem either. I just hope that such a situation would not devolve into an experience from my childhood, in which my mom said, “Well, I can’t make you all happy, but I can make you all equally unhappy! I do think that something should be done about YW’s funding opportunities, but I don’t think that the issue is solved by penalizing the YM group.

  115. Latter-day Guy says:

    (Umm… close quotes after ‘unhappy’.)

  116. Steve,

    Margaret obviously isn’t required to reply to my (valid) question, but I hope she will because she is a smart person who makes interesting points–which makes me want to know if she sees a meaningful distinction.

    The question itself is perfectly valid as Margaret herself framed the question as “not about whether scouting is good . . . but whether or not one set of kids should have particular privileges VIA THE CHURCH which another set will not have because they don’t have the same access to money.” I’m obviously skeptical of that claim and think it might, in fact, really be about whether scouting, or whatever other program you are personally hostile towards, is good. I applaud, however, the general sentiment behind Margaret’s statement (despite being a BYU grad myself(where I had an outstanding Shakespeare course taught by Margaret’s husband)and being one of those disproportionally benefited by church programs thanks largely to geography and access to money).

  117. This is one of those conversations that highlights the differences between the church in the USA and other places. We have no church scouting, thank goodness, and it’s unthinkable that we would have such an expensive church youth activity. And no, our youth are not languishing in inactivity at any higher rate than anyone else.
    And the flag raising thing blows my mind. Boy Scouts charging money to put up a flag? What do they charge for helping old ladies cross the street? Maybe the EQ could raise money by charging an annual fee for going to members’ homes once a month with a message and helping them with anything they need.

  118. I’m from a corner of Zion where that price tag would cause jaws to drop. (At least it did mine.) I am another who doesn’t have a testimony of scouting or of camping, for that matter, so I’m going to set that issue completely aside. The issue that troubles me more is the pressure on ward members to pitch in on the fundraiser. It’s a little misleading to call that “raising the money privately.” (I hate to use the word “extortion,” but you know.)

    BTW and FWIW, in my ward, the flag thing is $25 for the whole year; the YM and YW share equally in the proceeds and in the setup/take-down responsibilities.

  119. #12. Sam B, I agree. I’ve driven through Fillmore, and it sure wasn’t worth $33,000.

    Private jets for Krispy Kremes, $25 flag service. Starfoxy and Kinza, do we all live in the same stake in sauerkraut city?

  120. What Norbert says about international youth rings true to me. We had many great father-and-son’s camps when I was a kid. Total cost for the whole group: $100. I suggest the bishop shows the Fasting Offering receipts to the YM leaders to demonstrate what an obscene amount of money they are intending to spend.

    Minor threadjack:

    What happens to my standing in the neighbourhood if a) I tell the Scouts to get lost, I can stick my own flag in the lawn, or b) I don’t fly a flag at all?

  121. John Deacon says:

    Why is it now that every fun activity has to cost money? I remember the best YM activities were extremely low budget but very high in imagination, organisation and fun! There is absolutely no need to spend $33,000 dollars on this.

    Even if this is private money I would deem it unreliable and getting kids’ hopes up! The whole travel to a different country thing in our “health and safety” era is a bomb waiting to explode if you want to take youth to a different country!

  122. Peter LLC says:

    Given all the mountains and rivers on public land in the US, why pay to hike/sleep next to one?

    With YM leaders ready to pay $33,000 to go camping as it is, I say they should challenge the soft bigotry of low expectations by chipping in a few bucks and going for Everest. Now that would be a big-ticket life-changing experience to crow about for ages while simultaneously lifting the sherpas out of their third world misery, however briefly.

    Clearly, the quadrature of the circle is to be found in my solution.

  123. A few points:

    1. The boys could have a similar experience for less money–it would just take a lot more planning by the leaders and boys themselves.

    2. There are local camps in every council just to give all scouts good camping experiences. I know that they are not equal to Philmont, but I wonder if the extra money is worth the extra experience.

    3. There is nothing keeping any local boy from going to Philmont on his own or his parents’ dime.

    4. As a former counselor at a high-priced scout camp, I was appalled at the way that this camp was looked upon as money maker for the local council. We were instructed to try and get as many boys to participate in the money-making high adventure activities as possible. I know that Philmont is different–it is a money maker for scout headquarters. I believe in the scouting program, I just don’t have much of a testimony of professional scouting. I don’t think that these expensive camps are essential for all young men’s formative progression.

    5. I think that this type of activity sets a precedent for boys that great experiences must cost a lot of money. What about provident living? If we can only keep kids active through high-priced activities like this, then we have serious problems in the church.

    –gets off his soap-box and exhales.

  124. benjamin o says:

    As a non-eagle scout, but Order of the Arrow inductee (I never did a darn thing with after being inducted…), let me just say this: I don’ think scouting is all that and a bag of chips.

    I had fun, yes. I learned a lot, yes. But the YM can learn most of the skills just as well without the official BSA program if the church wants to just make the Duty to God program a bit larger. They could expand it for Young Women as well. I know we’ll likely never see campouts for both YM/YW at the same time (and with good reason, I rather suspect–I know what I would have done on those campouts! You’d have to keep the locations of the two camps very much secret from both parties, and good luck with that!), but identical programs is not such a stretch. Besides, it would probably be a good idea for the young men to lean how to sew and do knitting and cross-stitch (wait a minute..).

    In fact I’d rather see that than anything else, but the church certainly won’t see a weakening of ties with the BSA under President Monson! We could see, however, a rather strong expansion of the YW program’s similarity to the scouting program (which I would rather like, even though I don’t have any daughters). If there is anything I think that young women need more, its self-respect and a strong sense of self-identity and a sense that they are loved and respected by their fathers and Heavenly Father. Activities outside the normal where they get to learn some of the more interesting stuff are probably some of the best things that we as a culture could offer them. I wish I had a daughter to teach these things to. Alas, I have but four sons…

    …and my wife, she wishes we had a daughter too! We love our boys, don’t get me wrong, but there are times when a little girl would be very nice. Oh well.

    Oh well.

  125. We do need to note there are separate budget lines for YM and Scouts. They come from different “pots”. I don’t see what the big deal is if the scouts are able to raise the money or pay for the trip themselves.

    I will say the Church and Scouts seem to be at odds with fundraising. The Church sees fundraising as an opportunity for service regardless of how much money is made. Scouts only real concern with fundraising is how much money you bring in.

    By the way, how much does EFY cost these days?

  126. Looks like EFY runs between $400 and $500.

  127. Mike L–we are talking about the Church Youth program, not boy scouts Vs. Girl Scouts. This is Boy Scouts essentially competing for the same pot of money as girls in street clothes who want to go to some no name camp. The Boy Scouts would obviously get much more support door to door, not to mention from institutions, such as roatry, etc. That is why they continue to have extravagant activities as compared to YW.

    Why is it that we only teach modesty of dress? This trip is in no way MODEST.

  128. lamonte says:

    I’m sorry if this comment was made previously, I haven’t read every post but…if the funding for this trip will come from private fundraisers why is it even part of the presentation to the council? Certainly the activity should be pulblicized but the ward will have nothing to do with the funding, so why bring it up? Unless, of course, the YM president is setting the stage for a last minute bail-out, which would never happen. If the activity and its relative funding vehicle do not conflict with church policy then let it happen.

  129. ESO,

    The YW in our ward consistently out fundraise our scouts year in and year out. If they want to make money for a trip there is absolutely nothing stopping them.

    I believe the Church discourages (forbids?) door-to-door sales for fundraising. They want it to be service-oriented.

  130. Left Field says:

    Maybe I missed it, but I don’t think you said where this scout troop is located. Unless they’re in Alaska or New England, I don’t understand why the idea of air travel would even come up, except as a deliberate extravagance. Even if they’re coming from Boston, I would look long and hard at a charted bus before I would even think about flying.

  131. Things cost money, and in some well-off, few-child communities they cost more than in others. This week I’m turning in $130 per boy for 5 days of cub scout day camp. When I lived in Michigan, where three- and four-child families were common enough, day camp cost half that. There, the ward budget paid for day camp. Here, families are to pay for their own boys, and if they can’t afford it, then they will be helped from the ward budget. No one ever asks for that help, though; they just choose to do without.

    Looking at the ward budget in ward council a couple months ago, I was astonished at how low it was; the tithing of any two people in the room would have covered it. The “send the money to Africa” thing is already being done by every tithe-payer in our ward.

    I don’t have any good answers. Even in a mostly well-off ward, there are people who struggle financially and are excluded by expensive activities. Yet, something also seems out of balance if church activities are always impoverished compared to everything else in most ward members’ lives.

  132. Ronan #120: You’d be viewed as a cheap bastard.

    And an unpatriotic one, at that.

    The big fundraiser in our stake used to be lawn aeration. My lawn is fine, thank you, but you were still pressured to pay $40 for them to leave muddy plugs that look like goose droppings all over your lawn.

  133. Tim–kudos to your YW. There actually is something stopping them from raising money for a trip: Church guidelines are that fundraising can ONLY be done for one annual camp. That is Girls Camp for the YW.

  134. I have been in a ward where the dollar amounts suggested are a drop in the bucket and activities like this were encouraged for the youth. I have also been in a ward where it would be a joke to even think of a trip like this. This inequality in wards in the church is astounding depending on where you live.

  135. ESO, I am unfamiliar with such a guideline.

  136. I have been upset with scouts ever since I was a little girl and my Mom was the cub scout leader. I asked her when I got to join cub scouts, and I was told it was only for boys. I asked her why, then, she was in charge. Women could teach and be in charge of something they were never allowed to participate in? It made no sense to my five year old brain, and almost 25 years later, still does not make sense. I also think this trip is excessive, even if it was for both sexes. Not just because there are starving children in Africa, but that there are starving children just across town. Besides, the church lately has told us we overschedule our children, and I would say that 12 days is an “overschedule”. Plus, I am sure that as a parent I would be expected to “contribute” to the fundraising. I would rather use my money to have a family trip, and give all my kids a learning experience.

  137. Mark IV says:

    Sorry, I haven’t been able to keep up with all the comments, but here are my reactions.

    Maybe it was unfair to set this up as a scout activity, and we could have achieved a little more clarity if it had been the YW who had proposed spending this amount on a Caribbean cruise or trip to Hawaii. However, in real life that would never happen, and in real life, this was a scout activity.

    The idea that the fundraising that is proposed is anything but a thinly-veiled rip-off of the ward members is absolutely ludicrous. If people want to pay someone else 30 bucks to mow their lawns, they are already doing it, and it is paid to a legitimate company which brings its own equipment and carries liability insurance and workman’s comp on its employees. Let’s face the facts, people: a 14 year-old boy’s time isn’t worth 30 dollars an hour. Most of them have a hard time holding down a minimum wage job working the deep fat fryer at the Burger King. It would be one thing if they wanted to save the money out of their regular part-time earnings after tithing, F.O., mission savings, etc., but it is safe to say that there isn’t one boy in a thousand who wants it that badly, so we have to come up with these phony schemes and pretend that they are “earning” their way. That is a big load of bull-oney. Fundraising of this sort fleeces church members just as much as fraudulent inventments run by white collar criminals, and the result is young men who soon develop an inflated sense of their own entitlement. What is sold as a once in lifetime event becomes expected every year as an integral part of the church program (see comment 55). I think trips like this illustrate quite well what Elder Bednar meant when he said that too much is done in the church for too few, and also what Elder Maxwell meant when he said that we do so much for our youth that they are almost done in.

    It continues to interest me that we will bend the rules for scouts, but not for anything else. People who would rather die than let their daughter get two ear piercings have no problem at all setting aside church guidelines for scout activities. Apparently, we perceive a lot of value in BSA activities which makes the rule-bending worthwhile. For my part personally, I have seen LDS bashing done by non-LDS scouters that reminds me of the DAMU. Our bishops and SPs are regularly described as clueless, and as out-of-touch guys who “just don’t get it”, and the frugality the church enforces is a topic of derision.

    Since this is a real life example, and it is in the past, I can tell you what actually happened and how the bishop handled it.

    Several members of the council came to the bishop privately and voiced their concern about the activity’s extravagance. The bishop shared that concern, and invited the YM president to prepare a document showing the balance in the young men’s mission savings accounts. At that point, the pretense was over. He also disclosed (as Ronan very perceptively suggested) that the ward’s entire total for fast offering and PEF donations for the year amounted to less than the YM were proposing to spend on their two week activity. He told the YM president that if he, the bishop, allowed 30 people to spend more on an activity than the entire ward donated in an entire year to F.O and PEF, then he would deserve and expect to rot in hell forever.

  138. Well, the method of fundraising is a bit odd, to be honest, but I think that reflexive opposition to this kind of a trip is a bad idea.

    Philmont is very much a significant experience in many peoples’ lives, and it’s not just a matter of the days there, but the philmont experience is about more than just the week and a half there. It’s also about the preparation–physical, mental, and indeed finacial.

    Moreover, the lead-up time for Philmont is so long that there should a variety of ways to organize fundraising and individual contributions (through kinds summer jobs, etc.) Just to get a troop signed up for Philmont is an accomplishment…generally one that happens more than a year in advance of the actual trip.

  139. Ahhh the self-righteous bloggernacle. Can’t get enough.

  140. Mark IV says:

    Tim J:

    I am unfamiliar with such a guideline.

    Even though you are unfamiliar with such a guideline, it is nonetheless a guideline. See comment 89.

  141. Amen, Mark IV.

  142. #137 – Amen.

    When you sit in a position to have this discussion in your office, followed immediately by talking with a father of 6 who is coming to you for help feeding his family – and you know you will have to draw money from SLC to do so because your ward’s Fast Offering funds don’t cover the needs of the ward – it changes your perspective more than a little.

  143. Here in TX we have been doing the flag raiser for about 8 years now.

    For $35 you get a flag on major holidays. The ward troop raises about 2K this way.

    Last time we went to Philmont the left over money from the previous year combined with the current year was about 50% of the cost to go to Philmont for 8 days.

  144. I got to this late, and it really hit a nerve with me. So much has been said that I would have said, but I’ll just say that I have seen similar kinds of things myself.

    Mark, it sounds like it got handled effectively. Church fundraising for scouts is only allowed for one summer activity and camping equipment, and the $1,000 per boy is outrageous.

    Philmont might be great, but how do you explain to the poor wards in a stake that the Stately Heights ward gets to fly their boys to Philmont, while Struggly Bottoms branch fights to get their boys to the local scout camp at $175 per boy?

    And don’t get me started on the disparity issues between YM/Scouts and YW funding. The budget guidelines are supposed to eliminate these kind of issues. When I served as bishop, we set aside some funds out of the budget and YW fundraising for a short, High Adventure activity for our girls. Last time I did a High Adventure for the boys as YM president, we took a day, and included the YW in sort of an urban Amazing Race activity. The girls loved it, and the boys were better behaved that day. A good time was had by all.

    Glad this got quashed, Mark.

  145. #140, The handbook leaves much of the decision to the Bishop and SP.

  146. ***
    My ward has a slush fund with over $750,000 in it.

    I know of several other slush funds in other wards.

    – Just thought I would throw that out.

  147. After reading Mike L’s comment #74 I have to jump down and comment.

    Why should the scout troop be restricted from doing something any other scout troop would be free to do, just because they are affiliated with the ward?…The young men shouldn’t be punished because they belong to a troop that is affiliated with the ward instead of another troop

    The sorry fact is that LDS scouts are restricted from doing many thing that other scout troops are free to do, and that means that LDS scouts are punished because they belong to a troop affiliated with a ward instead of something else.

    Scouting, as taught in official BSA training, is founded on the independent troop, run by boys with adult supervision. The independent troop can dream big and then, with whatever work it takes, make those dreams happen. LDS troops are about as independent as a Primary class, as evidenced by the citations of official LDS policy on this thread, and by the rancorous attitudes of those who disagree with big plans being accomplished in a church setting.

    At my BSA training we had a number of non-LDS scout leaders. One of them offhandedly commented that his boys really wanted to get to know scouts from another country. They investigated possibilities and signed up to attend a Swiss scout camp in the Alps. They raised the money and they went to Switzerland. I’m not going to comment on whether that decision was right or wrong; whatever the morality of this decision the boys decided on a big goal and, with the help of adults, they realized that goal. It’s a rare LDS troop that will ever experience something similar.

  148. Mat (#116)–I think you raise important points, but they’re for a different discussion. I did get a solid impression from something President Samuelson said he thinks our new Humanities building is a excessive (though it was privately funded). BYU does have scholarship programs like SOAR, and we have programs for students to do cultural studies/work outside the USA, but there are ironies. If this were a different discussion, we could talk about how far the Perpetual Education Fund could reach, how schools like Benemerito in Mexico could be enlarged to benefit more people, how Church schools like the Liahona in Tonga function, how BYU and other Church schools could work in various inner cities and bring students from underprivileged backgrounds to our universities, etc.–and how they could be helped to thrive after arrival. But this is not that discussion.

    I’m thrilled you enjoyed Bruce’s class. He’s a really hard teacher, isn’t he. But he is so good. Why don’t you e-mail me personally and let me pass on that compliment. He is having a hard time this week.

  149. Whoops, I got my block quote messed up. The second paragraph is quoted from Mike L. The block quote is my own.

  150. Binky, slush funds are verboten under current church budget guidelines. The twice yearly audits specifically ask about any other accounts outside the regular church accounts. The infamous “Other” account is notorious for abuses, and are normally monitored to prevent such funds from accumulating. Even your scout troop is not supposed to have a separate checking account, but all expenditures are to go through the regular church accounts.

    $750,000 sounds like an excommunicable offense!:)

  151. Emoticons are now failing me. Should read “…excommunicable offense.: :)

  152. Sorry for three comments in a row, but KLC, Scouting should be in service to the priesthood purposes of the church, not the church in service to the purposes of the BSA.

    I suspect the day will come when the church does abandon the BSA program, and I for one, in spite of being a former scoutmaster, and father of five boys, will not shed a tear.

  153. Ditto that, Kevin.

    I think that one of the main problems with LDS scouting is that it’s “required”, whereas outside the Church most people involved in scouting (including the leaders) are there because they want to be.

    In the Church, the scout leaders are there because it’s a calling, in other words, a “divine obligation”… Thus, more than occasionally, this affects the quality of the programs we have in our LDS troops.

  154. Amen Kevin & Eddie,

    Having tried to run a decent scouting program in a struggling ward with no funds and little interest from the boys or parents, I am of the opinion that the Church should get out of scouting and let those who still desire to participate join a real troop. At the very least, outside of the Mormon Corridor scouting should be done on a stake level, where numbers would be high enough to form a decent-sized troop (non-LDS troops usually have at least 50), and where there is far more likelihood of finding a dedicated and enthusiastic leader. And the stake scoutmaster should be a long-term calling. My ward has put a lot of time and money into training ward scout leaders just to have them move or get released.

  155. Kevinf, I think you misread me if you have the impression that I’m a gung ho scouter. I was in that training under duress of my temple covenenants. My comment was just an illustration of the conflicts and compromises that we as a church have created by letting an external organization serve as the official program for YM.

    And your initial couplet summarizes why scouting is disfunctional in the church. How can a national organization like BSA be in service to the priesthood purposes of a single denomination? That is an impossible and pointless goal. The BSA has no interest in our priesthood and scouting in the church began its long decline when we decided to shoehorn it into that priesthood.

    Outsourcing any program with priesthood puposes is doomed to failure.

  156. Kevinf

    suspect the day will come when the church does abandon the BSA program, and I for one, in spite of being a former scoutmaster, and father of five boys, will not shed a tear.

    As a Bishop, neither will I. I can safely say that most of my administrative headaches seem to funnel through the scouting program. I wish that we could concentrate on the Duty to God program with out the added trappings and funding issues that go with scouting.

  157. Researcher says:

    Woo-hoo. Sounds like the trolls keep three-quarters of a million floating around to help send the little trolls to scout camp…

  158. Everyone that has ever gone to Philmont will tell you it is a life changing experience. However, the cost does seem excessive and really if there are that many YM in the ward that want to go, this does not have to be a church sponsored activity. For all the women bellyaching about the “fun” that boys get to have and the “girls” don’t…what are you doing to change this. You are not limited to activities through the church only. If you want to go camping with other YW, do it. I have served in the YW organization and heard these complaints before but find that when the YW are challenged to plan activities to do themselves, nothing ever happens. And they still can’t cook, sew, or any of the other useful tasks they might learn because no one is teaching them at home. So, as YW leaders we continue to try and foster these skills as best we can.

  159. KLC, # 155,

    I was in that training under duress of my temple covenenants.

    That pretty much sums up my call as scoutmaster. I spent thirty minutes explaining my beef with the BSA, and outlining what kind of troop I would likely run. I got called anyway.

    I hated the BSA sponsored-camps, such as camporees, or the BSA summer camps. It puts LDS troops with budget limitations and reduced numbers of boys in direct competition with non-LDS troops with three times the number of boys, five times the number of adult leaders, and unheard of levels of financing. Those kinds of camps generally were less fun for our boys, but did produce more merit badges.

    Our best outings involved camping and hiking on our own, with heavy doses of scripture study, prayer, church hymns, and some unstructered time.

    Scouting is a good program, and earning an Eagle is a worthwhile goal, but don’t ever forget the priesthood purposes of the YM program, and spend more time doing things related to Duty to God, with a focus on mission prep. All of that can be done within the church budget guidelines.

  160. hey, I did plenty of fun things out side of the church as a girl. However, it does kind of suck that I had to go outside to find my fun and adventure. But my main point was that my own mother-a woman- was called to be in charge of the fun, but as a child, she could not participate, or officially have her daughter participate (I did anyway, because there was no one to baby sit me, but the idea still upset me.)

  161. Woah- wait a minute….

    PEF and Fast offerings were less than $33,000 a year!!!

    That ward has problems!

    Assuming 100 ward families paying $40 a month to fast offerings… that should easily make $48,000 a year. For a comfortably middle class Utah ward those numbers shouldn’t be too far off…

    I mean… I remember when my parents made $30,000 a year, and they usually payed about $50 a month.

    I mean I try for between ten and twenty dollars a month on $10,000 a year and I feel guilty that I’m not doing more.

    That changes everything in my opinion.

    Good for the Bishop shooting this down.

  162. #128 is the only comment I’ve seen that addresses the real problem: why is it being brought up in Ward Council? Of course, because the troop is affiliated with the ward and the YM program. If it was a non-church affiliated troop raising the funds privately, I’d have no problem with it.

    But if it’s a church-affiliated troop, then the privilege of having buildings to use for meetings, people to be called to staff the program, and money from the YM budget to help with activities comes with certain consequences and restrictions, one of which is that church guidelines regarding fundraising must be observed.

    “In most areas, Scout registration and chartering expenses are paid from the stake general checking account. Expenses for Scout activities and awards come from the ward budget allowance” (187)

    “Stake or ward budget allowance funds should be used to pay for all Young Men activities, programs, and supplies, including Scouting and youth conferences (one annual exception may be made as explained below). Members should not pay fees to participate. Nor should they provide materials, rental or admission fees, or long-distance transportation at their own expense. … Activities should be simple and have little or no cost. They should not involve travel that could impose a hardship. This may require a reduction in some activities that stakes and wards are accustomed to having.” (189)

    “If there are not sufficient stake and ward budget funds, leaders may ask participants to pay for part or all of one annual camp or similar activity by individually earning their own money. If funds from participants are insufficient, the stake president or bishop my authorize group fund-raising activities that comply with the guidelines on p. 324 … In no case, however, should the expenses or travel for this camp or activity be excessive. Nor should the lack of personal funds prohibit a young man from participating.” (189)

    I see no way in which this activity complies with these guidelines. If the troop wished to de-affiliate with the church, find a new place to meet and people to be leaders, great. If not, this activity is not appropriate, no matter how great the experience may be.

    Oh, and FWIW, the financial guidelines for the YW are essentially word-for-word the same (the references to Scouts are deleted). They, too, can raise funds, but only for one annual camp. Since the program requires Girls Camp, that’s the camp. Girls Camp could be re-envisioned of course …

  163. I didn’t mean to imply the others comments weren’t also interesting and instructive in #162—sorry.

    My husband works with the YM/scouts, I’m in YW, our ward does the flag fundraiser, and we’ve never participated. They still won’t release us.

  164. A sidenote: I was very proud of my mother, normally not one prone to political activism or even rocking the boat, when she canceled her ward’s scout flag service because they wouldn’t put her flag up on MLK day. :)

  165. Jenny (162) that is the root of it all – the difference between Church-sponsored BSA troops and non-church ones is that the church pays all the dues, registrations, training fees, etc. which can get very expensive. BECAUSE the church pays those fees, the church does run the scouting program very differently.

    And, IMHO, that is one reason that if it is a “boyscout” activity, it should follow the guidelines prescribed by the church and the local leaders. If they want to go – great for them, but it should be open to anyone (scouts or not) who want to go and should be organized, discussed and planned not on “scouting” or “church” time and not using church resources (ie members) to solicit donations, time or fundraising.

    And this is why:

    These sorts of extravagant gestures can be really great for the people who benefit from them, I’m not discounting that. They do, however, illustrate the stark differences between the haves, and the have-nots, whether the have-nots are the YW from the same ward, the poor kids from the other side of town, or even the inactive boy who just never heard about it.

    I’ve been there (as a youth and a leader) – in affluent wards/stakes to not affluent at all. As a youth and a leader it is very hard to explain how one ward/state can do something and another cannot and yet they are part of the same church.

    And too often I’ve seen wards/stakes sanction HUGELY expensive “boyscout” endeavors while telling the YW that they had to make the 8-hour round-trip drive to the temple in the same day so as not to spend budget funds on hotels when they went to do baptisms for the dead, for example.

    Perfect equality isn’t possible, but something like this at the tune of $30k, shouldn’t be a “church” activity and therefore not an official “scouting” one since the troop is funded by the church.

  166. I’m getting an education in how LDS-sponsored scout troops are run differently. I never knew this before, and now I understand why growing up my ward could never seem to get a functioning scout troop going. With this in mind I wouldn’t mind seeing the LDS and BSA part ways. It seems to me the benefit to both organizations has passed.

    But after 165 comments there’s still one thing not clear to me. Many have expressed disgust at the expense of the trip, but I would think that for most, if it were not church-affiliated it would be fine, just as it would be fine for my family to decide to take a vacation to a foreign country or something. I understand that it’s arguably against the fundraising rules of the church to do the trip, but putting that aside, what is it that makes the expense so wrong? If it’s just because it’s wrong to spend so much money when there are people in need, then is my family’s vacation to a foreign country wrong for the same reason? If so, is saving for my child’s education wrong? Or sending them to a private high school? Where do we draw the line?

    I realize my questions aren’t entirely on-topic, and I apologize for that, but I’m curious as to the root motive of the knee-jerk rejection of the expense. I admit that I had the same immediate reaction at first.

  167. Mike,

    Most wards could not raise $33,000 for a scout trip, but there are always a couple of more affluent wards in each stake that can, and so they often, with all good intentions, want to do the best for their youth as they can. It extends to things like someone donating an extra week at their time share condo at the beach for the YW.

    Suffice it to say that the church frowns on this kind of activity, and it often gets uncovered in audits. Our SP generally has had the attitude that if a ward can raise an extra $10,000 for their youth, they ought to, and donate it to the missionary fund to help pay for the missionaries from poorer countries.

    Also, something about bearing one another’s burdens, mourning with those that mourn, etc.

  168. Mike L.,

    Also, as others here have said, regardless of how the fundraising is pitched the ward bears the financial burden (by overpaying 14 yr olds for services they may or may not even need). That’s my biggest problem. If the ward can support that kind of fundraising, it seems to me it could put that collective effort to something else.

    If individuals want to pony up to do something like that on their own (or in a non-church troop), who am I to criticize.

  169. Sam Kitterman says:

    As one who earned his Eagle in the late 60’s and who became involved as a father in scouting with his son, I, too, am of the belief the Church needs to discontinue its involvement with scouting.

    And it has far far more to do with the fact there are few and far between leaders who actually have a clue as to run a troop and get boys involved in scouting and what scouting is really about.
    Admittedl, I have never served in a “calling”involving scouting but I always went with my son because I was supporting his involvement. In fact, I told the first counselor when he wanted to call me to be an “assistant” that he didn’t need to call me since I was going with my son all the time anyways. Yet,what I observed during those camp-outs and other activities gave me downright chills because most of the camp-outs turned out to be little more than let the boys run around and the fathers would sit around the fire/stove/latern to chit-chat. Those were a far far cry from what I remembered of my camp-outs as a young man.
    I have served as a merit badge counselor and likewise find the use of “merit badge clinics” where groups of boys are run through various badges like an assembly plant disembowels what a scout is supposed to reallly do in earning merit badges. I can recall that as a young man meeting with my Nature merit badge counselor at his home and he going over the requirements at the beginning and several months later he then testing me, that including my examining several casts of paw prints and figuring out what kind of animal made them. Assembly plant merit badge clinics do little more than churn the boys out so they can get their Eagle before they even turn 15 which to me is a total mockery of what it should mean to reach the Eagle rank.
    As for fundraising and use of ward lists, what about the annual fundraiser, “Friends of Scouting”. In my ward and stake that has been brought up every year in sacrament meeting and priesthood since I can remember. If that’s not using the Church connection to fund scouting, then what is?

    For all of these reasons and more, let the Church focus on Church & Priesthood responsibilties and let the BSA run scouting.

    Sorry about the length….But the experiences I saw my son have with scouting as part of the Church has left a very very bad taste in my mouth and a dark stain upon my soul….

  170. Sigh… still no comment on the fundraising scheme in #48

  171. Clearly this is an obscene waste of money. Someone has to stand up and say something. Even if you don’t look popular or are given evil glances in the chapel.

  172. Steve Evans says:

    don’t hold your breath, Cicero.

  173. Kendall Smith says:


    OK, I’ll comment on it–why should I pay you to pick up my old Christmas tree when the garbage man will do it for no extra charge? And good luck getting pickup truck drivers to ‘volunteer’ with gas at $3.50 a gallon.

    The only way you’d be able to make it work is if you used Genovese crime family tactics that other ward did that had people paying $15 every holiday for a 25-cent flag and $30 grass-mowings. “Pay me $10 to make sure your old Christmas tree doesn’t spontaneously combust and launch itself through your front window.” “$15 doesn’t just buy you a flag, it buys you security from any xenophobic nitwits who might trash the landscaping of ‘furriners'”.

  174. Steve Evans says:

    dangit, Kendall!!

  175. #167 and #168.

    I agree that a concern with this approach is the burden on the ward. In #74 I explained that I would support the program with the caveat that members not be targeted. If this is in an area that is mostly members, so be it, but still the ward list should not be used and the kids should go door-to-door without regard to membership in the ward.

    What I’m trying to get at is if we take the ward out of the equation, why is the expense itself so repugnant to some? Or is it? I think I’m getting off track from the discussion so you’d probably be best to ignore me.

  176. And Cicero, your plan sounds fine to me. Kendall might have some good points regarding it being free to take away a tree in most places, but even so, if you people are willing to pay it (without resorting to mob tactics), then so be it. Some people are willing to support the scouts even if it’s not the best deal they could get (ie. $5 vs. free). And the scouts are learning about work, so there’s no harm in that.

  177. Kendall Smith says:

    All kidding aside, it isn’t a bad idea. A little late for this scenario, but something to consider next December.

  178. Cicero,
    Our ward made $850 for fourteen boys. About ten hours per boy. Didn’t even come close to meeting the camp fees.

  179. Kendall Smith, you are one of the heroes of the thread–good sense and good humor. Teaching youth to prey upon relationships and sentiment to sell exorbitantly teaches them the worst of work. (Has it been too long since the last nasty Mormon Ponzi scandal?) Teach them to charge a fair price for a valuable good or service or ask for a donation. Anything else is dishonest. ($33,000!!!? With a straight face?!)

  180. Thanks Kendell- although in my home town the garbage men charge extra to deal with “yard waste”.

    Obviously a lot depends on were you are.

    Not sure where Jamie is, but we usually earned 2 to 3 times that in a sparse year, more in a good year (when we got the nice wealthy Protestant neighborhood that regularly gave 20 to 30 dollars a tree.) Covering the Original Post scenario would be hard, but then I think that idea was way too costly).

    Of course in the Pacific Northwest fake tress are considered an abomination and most people have a real tree- some have two or three. (The flocked trees were a nightmare though, glad they went out of style).

    In Utah, fake trees are more common, areas are smaller (limited to ward boundaries means less in a place were only 5% are Mormon).

    So I can see that this probably would not work in Utah.

    I’m just wanted some feed back on whether all Scout fundraising was unacceptable, or if if was just the specific method being adopted by this troop.

    I feel fulfilled know that I got some feed back. Thank you!

  181. Ugh.. so many typos… I need to go to bed.

  182. Cicero, I am so glad that you feel fulfilled.

    We used to (before my time) bring in about three times as much as we do now. It’s been steadily going down for years. A few years back the non-LDS troops decided to join us in the Christmas tree pickup.

    The powers that be distribute the areas and then the boys pass out fliers/envelopes in our assigned area. The two weekends following Christmas the pick up occurs. We only pick up on Saturdays. The non-LDS troops pick up on Sundays in our area (which is already just a portion of our ward).

    People have been known to come and pick up the checks but not the trees. (What has the world come to?) Our boys take the trees with or without a donation as it is only a suggested donation.

    I also think the number of fake trees increases every year which decreases the amount of trees that need to be picked up.

    Bottom line: Christmas tree pick up is not working out so well around here.

  183. Reading these comments, the sheer antipathy of most of them to scouting, properly done, is to me the best reason I’ve ever seen for ending mandated scout troops. This antipathy is a good part of why scouting works so poorly in the church.

    (And let me say that when I ran a scout camp, the only leader who ever outright lied to me was LDS, and the matter that he lied about was serious enough that the stake presidency later took it up. Between the acts he had allowed to occur and the fact that he lied about it both to scout authorities and to others in the stake lead to a disciplinary council.)

  184. If it wasn’t obvious, I think there’s a relationship between the two.

  185. sheer antipathy of most of them to scouting, properly done


    Is it your position that the scenario presented in the original post is “scouting, properly done”? As I read the comments, the antipathy arises because of the exploitation of the ward relationships for fundraising and what is perceived as the exorbitant cost. Nobody is saying the troop shouldn’t go to summer camp.

    Sam K. makes a good point about mreit badge clinics – they really do churn out the rank advancements. I wnat to make it clear however, that this is not just an LDS scout troop phenomenon. I’ve lived in the mid-Atlantic states and the Midwest for almost 20 years and served in YM callings for most of that time, and the BSA councils sponsor clinics every Spring and Fall at a local high school on Saturdays. People complain about the devaluation of the Eagle rank and attempt to attribute it to the influence of LDS troops, but I don’t believe it. Our LDS eagle scouts don’t need to take a back seat to anybody. I don’t question the veracity of your anecdote about the LDS leader who lied about something at scout camp, but I do wonder why you brought it up, if not to take a swipe at the church. It is inflammatory, and would be like me stating the fact that serial killers Mark Hoffman, John Edward Robinson, and Charles Whitman were all eagle scouts.

    And why is it that when questions arise about how the church and scouting interact, the question must always be resolved in favor of the BSA? We can disregard the church’s published guidelines, but we must never diss the Sacred Scout Program.

  186. TMD, the problem is that most members don’t have a clue about what properly done scouting is since all they know is LDS scouting. I know I didn’t until I went to BSA training. Ironically, the stake was hoping to jump start our scouting enthusiasm with this training but it had the opposite effect on me.

    For the first time I understood what properly done scouting is all about and I realized that LDS scouting is, for the most part, improperly done scouting, and that the chances of it changing are almost nil since it is the LDS system that is responsible for its watered down existence.

  187. Saying “spend the money elsewhere” assumes there will be money to spend. If the activity is not going to happen, there will be no fundraiser and no $33,000 to send to the African orphanage.

    Also, $33,000 is a big number but so is 22 youth. If you spent the same amount per head in my ward the total tab would be about $4,000 and if that were the number we were debating there would be no debate. Imagine If the ward had 100 young men, then the number we’d be debating would be $150,000. WHOA!! Now THAT’S a lot of starving children we could feed!

  188. Rusty, actually, it is the amount per participant that makes me choke. My ward had 66 YM and YW in it, so any activity is going to involve some big numbers. If a thousand dollars per throw isn’t excessive, what is?

  189. So Mark IV. What is the magic number thats permissible? You know it when you see it?

    $750 per person paid by the families for high adventure for a week like what my exp teaches me?

    I am in the process of spending 10K out of the stake budget on Youth Conference for a day and a night for 180 kids. Thats $55 per kid. Is that excessive under your thinking?

  190. Researcher says:

    “if that were the number we were debating there would be no debate”

    The amounts being discussed here are simply obscene. $1500 per kid for a short vacation? Unnecessary, offensive, extortionate, and creating a hardship for a lot of people.

    I would never feel comfortable spending this amount per child, and even a smaller amount, such as $250 per child, would only be justifiable if the same amount was being spent for all of the boys in our stake who live in the inner city and don’t have the same opportunities.

  191. I think “antipathy” might be too strong a word, because it suggests deliberate and decided negligence. In my Utah County ward I am the YM presidency member for the TQ, a calling which is bundled with being the Varsity Scout coach. I feel very strongly about the Duty to God program (an opinion I’ve voiced repeatedly in the ‘nacle), particularly for its explicitly spiritual focus, its clear emphasis on the purposes of the Aaronic Priesthood, and its relative lack of administrative bureaucracy. And every time I go to a scout training meeting, I encounter 1) a decided and sometimes even explicit dismissal of the Duty to God program, and 2) the advocacy of a scouting structure that, if fully implemented, would make it all but impossible to adequately support the Duty to God program.

    In other words, I don’t think it’s apathy so much as a sense of frustration at trying to administer two different, concurrent programs for young men within a finite budget of resources and time. And frankly, if you’ve got one streamlined and very inexpensive program that is very adaptable to different boys’ interests and situations (not to mention parallel in its structure and funding to the YW program), and one program that is administratively complex, quite expensive, correlated in a Procrustean manner with church curriculm, and requires a kind of ceremoniousness that seems increasingly silly to many youth (and, I’m not afraid to admit, many adults), where do you think people are going to put their time and effort?

    Furthermore, if you’ve got one program that you don’t have to bend the GHI rules in order to administer…

  192. I’m not saying $1,500 isn’t obscene (nor am I saying it is). What I’m saying is that everyone is using the $33,000 number rather than the $1,500 number, which is of course the more relevant number.

  193. BTW, we just did our annual fundraiser for camp. Aerated lawns, cleaned windows, did spring cleaning — and did it for bargain prices. Raised about $1800. Combined with some money from the regular YM budget, this will fund about deacons to go to a scout camp not too far from hear, and for teachers and priests to do some short but cool high adventure camps (luckily, we have some beautiful wilderness and mountain areas nearby).

    If we’re not able to leverage these experiences to help the boys learn and apply the purposes of the Aaronic Priesthood, it will be because of a failure of planning on our part, not because we didn’t spend enough money.

  194. Wow. Sorry for the lapse into phonetic spelling there…

    Also, I omitted numbers: about 8 deacons, about 10 teachers, and, and about 8 priests.

  195. So bbell. What is the number that is excessive? You know it when you see it? Or is the sky the limit?

    And I am incredulous that you admit that the familes are paying the $750. For crying out loud, bbell, didn’t you get the memo? We are supposed to pretend that the money is raised through legitimate fund-raising efforts which require the boys to work and appreciate what they get. On the other hand, I give you credit for being honest, which is more than can be said for most. But you realize, don’t you, that you are now operating outside of both the BSA and church guidelines? So why even bother calling it scouting or church? Just get together and do whatever you want and be done with it. But please, drop the pretense that what you are doing has anything at all to do with building Zion or preparing youth for responsible adulthood.

    I’m trying to understand how we can reconcile what you propose with the most recent counsel from the president of the church, to the effect that we should be frugal and abstemious. Also, it might be useful for you to read this talk by Elder Packer, just for some background. It contains these lines:

    We have also heard of some very clever inventions calculated to circumvent the instructions and maintain some of the expensive, even extravagant, activities to which we have become accustomed. Those resourceful souls will have cause to repent

  196. As one who might be accused of antipathy towards scouting, properly done, let me make it clear that I agree with Mark. I love what scouting did for my sons. I continue to work as a merit badge counselor, and support the activities of our quite successful scouting program in our ward, where roughly 80% of our boys have earned their Eagle badge. I have issues with BSA, and as Mark said, the wrong-headed practice of ignoring church policies in favor of BSA policies.

    I don’t much care for the merit badge assembly lines sponsored by BSA. I don’t mind seeing our boys or their families shell out $200 for a week long scout camp at a BSA camp, although I have issues with how the youth leadership at these camps often functions. They often seem to be the inspiration for Joseph Smith’s discourse on abuse of authority in the D&C. And the Order of the Arrow from my experience is an excuse for hazing, abuse, and ultimately an elitist secret combination.

    Okay, that may be a little strong, but as you can tell, I have a love-hate relationship with the program. Philmont, from all I have heard, is an amazing experience, but the truth of the matter is that 1 out of 500 LDS scouts will ever get there, and you can do some pretty amazing things for $200 per boy and have a huge impact on their lives without having to fly to New Mexico with all it’s attendant expense.

    I’m not advocating dumping scouting, but whenever a conflict arises, I will always and without hesitation be willing to say “We don’t do things that way in the Church”.

    For the kids who want to go to Philmont or the National Jamborees, there are usually district or council sponsored “supertroops” that take a few kids from many different troops in an area to provide the opportunity for those who want the experience, and can find a way to finance it through personal or family efforts.

  197. Sam Kitterman says:

    If I may, I’d like to throw out a tangent on this particular discussion since most of the comments are now dealing with Church scout troops vs non-church scout troops.

    What price is one willing to pay in order to provide an unique experience for youth, an experience which will be an once in a lifetime event? Must there be a $ figure attached to such events? If so, when does one say the $ figure is “obscene”. We know it when we see it?

    Consider this. Our stake and others are presently performing “Savior of the World” with four nights of performances and the free tickets of 2,000 a night being gone within two weeks of being released. We have heard the hard costs of putting on this production, such excluding all of the time, work and materials “volunteered”, is in the $85K to $90K range. Is that “obscene” or do we ignore the $ because it is a missionary tool?

    If the issue of $ is to be raised as a flag of concern for scouts or YM or YW, then does this issue apply to activities considered more directly related to the Church and its three-fold purpose? If it doesn’t and $ is no object to activities within the three-fold purpose but is very controlling as to auxillary programs (youth, RS or EQ/HP), is there a relationship between same and the activity levels of certain age groups? I realize that activity level is the subject of a separate thread, but I believe it also relates here.

    Sorry about the length.

  198. That’s a good question Sam, and the church has done some internal research about what keeps young people in the church. I blogged about it here.

    Hint: Scouting, while it is a worthwhile activity, has little or nothing to do with future activity in the church.

  199. mark IV

    I would say that fundraisers account for about 25% of the funds but the families and the boys pay out of pocket for about 75%.

    HA happens once every 4 years in our stake. Our ward has gone to Philmont once and will go again in 2 years.

    I am not sure why you are so upset about this. LDS troops and stakes cannot go to Philmont or the other high adventure bases?

  200. Steve Evans says:

    bbell, the problem is not the expenditure per se (although it is indeed a lot of money for something that is clearly a luxury good). The problem is tying these activities to the Church, using the Church as a fundraising network for these activities, and using Church resources both directly and for fundraising purposes. It befouls the use of consecrated funds to throw them away on a luxury. It flies in the face of the needs of the poor and weary that are right before our eyes. It rubs the noses of the less wealthy into the sheer consumerism of the upper-middle-class, right in our chapels. It’s abhorrent.

  201. bbell,

    You are a lot closer to Philmont there in Texas, so transportation is not such an issue. It’s totally out of the question for an ordinary troop like ours here in Washington. We have seen efforts made by some of the troops in our stake to go to some of the closer HA bases, but again, transportation can still be done by private vehicle, so not as expensive.

    You might have an issue trying to get a high adventure activity approved if you were flying to Seattle to do sea kayaking in the San Juans for a week.

    $1,000 per boy is just not something I can see fitting in the guidelines for an LDS troop, no matter how lofty the goal.

  202. bbell,

    I’m not upset, but curious. Do you even care whether what you are doing falls inside or outside of church and BSA guidelines, or not? That is a simple question.

    Based on your description of how y’all operate, you are in flagrant violation of several big ones.

    Whether LDS boys get to go to BSA high adventure bases isn’t a matter that even registers with me. Since when did that become a necessity?

  203. 2 SP’s in a row are all big time in favor of how we handle HA and Philmont. That is enough for me.

    KevinF we would never even try and get a $1100 activity per boy done. So your right.

    Usually at BCC we get posts blasting the correlated policies. Now we buck some correlated guidelines for our youth programs and show some initiative and we need to repent?

    Steve. If you have a problem with how we do HA you have never seen a Friends of Scouting drive that collects 15K from 9 wards in the third hour. I am sure you would have passed out.

  204. Steve Evans says:

    bbell, I’ve seen those drives, and I find them to be contrary to the Spirit. I despise them utterly, and the incongruency they present bothers me to no end. The fact that Stake Presidents support them do not change their nature.

    “Usually at BCC we get posts blasting the correlated policies.”

    Care to back that one up, bucko?

  205. Researcher says:

    Ditto to what Steve Evans said in #200.

    Also, the minor detail that the same resources are not being applied equally to all the children within the stewardship of the church.

    Inner city wards…wealthy suburban wards.

    Young men…young women.

    Once they are all being allowed similar privileges, then we can do these sorts of things within the framework of the church.

    Social justice, plain and simple.

    If the boys need to have expensive activities, they should do it outside of the church structure.

  206. bbell said: Usually at BCC we get posts blasting the correlated policies. Now we buck some correlated guidelines for our youth programs and show some initiative and we need to repent?

    That’s pretty disingenuous. It’s not just that these activities are a little off the beaten path of the handbook, but that wording in the handbook appears to have been included precisely to discourage such extravagant activities.

  207. Mark IV: The connection between the two points in my earlier post is that antipathy towards the program encourages some leaders to ‘not want the hassle’, and thereby let things go that they shouldn’t.

  208. Steve,

    “The problem is tying these activities to the church..”

    And there is the systemic problem I was talking about earlier. The church has tied itself to these activities by making Scouting its official YM program. The church has created this standoff and then wants to distance itself from the consequences.

    I can assure you that many, many non-LDS scout troops do adventure activities like Mark described that cost many thousands of dollars per boy. They are the drawing cards that help recruit new scouts into their voluntary troops, it’s an integral part of the system. As the BSA trainer said in our session, “Let the boys dream big and then help them make it happen.”

  209. KLC,

    You are right, and you have correctly identified the difficulty. In many ways, scouting is a good fit for the church, but in a few important ways, it isn’t. I get heartburn, though, when scouting is portrayed as the perfect program to which the church must bow. Non-LDS troops fail all the time, which tells me that it isn’t just the church which struggles with implementation.


    Thank you for your clarification. I had completely misunderstood you.


    You’re funny.

  210. bbell,

    More power to your stake and ward and scout troops (and perhaps YW too).

    I agree with letting the boys (or girls) dream big and letting them make it happen.

  211. Part of this issue, based on involvement in troops in Utah before moving to Washington, and now out here, is that in Utah, the bulk of the troops are all LDS, and the contrast is not so dramatic. Out here, there are a lot of LDS troops, and in spite of individual successful efforts, like our troop, you still don’t stack up well with the non-LDS troops and their alternative funding, volunteer leaders who want to be there, and motivated boys.

    I like the concept of scouting, it’s how it is implemented that is the issue, and little of what it offers differs from what you could do without it in an AP/Duty to God format.

    Keep Cub Scouts, though. Cub Scouts are ubercool.

  212. Mister Correlation says:

    Congratulations! You have been Correlated!


  213. Congratulations! You have been Edited and Banned!

  214. Philmont should be treated same as EFY. Period.

    Halleluja Rob #154 and KLC #147! Hammer meet nail. When boys are not allowed the CHOICE to be there, resentment and anger can replace enthusiasm and willingness to work. When leaders are constantly changed out as Rob mentioned, and parents are apathetic, it does not work. People are burned out. It takes time and much more manpower than wards provide; and a greater love of scouting than merely accepting a calling provides. I, too, think the Church should either get out of scouting and concentrate on Duty to God, or go with Stake sponsorsed troops as outlined by Rob which member can choose to participate in if they are so inclined – and yes, it would be on a different night than Mutual.

    The BEST decision we ever made by far is putting our son in a troop outside our ward. It is a large troop with about 100 scouts and I’d say at least 25 adults with various responibilites such as troop comittee chair, board of review, fundraising, communications, etc., that in a ward are carried out by a mere handful. A higher caliber group of young men I’ve never seen and the friendship, respect and courtesy we’ve been shown there, is by far greater than I’ve ever received in our ward.

    Cicero – I did like your idea but can see the the snafu in free curbside collection. Way to be green with the whole take it, chip it, bag it and mulch it though!

  215. What about an inner-city ward that flies its boys across the country to a private house on a lake where they spend the week water skiing. Does it make a difference if the trip if funded by a wealthy individual who does not live within the ward? Does it make a difference if only boys who meet certain goals set in consultation with their YM leaders get to go? Does it make a difference if a separate but otherwise identical trip is also arranged for the YW? Does it make a difference if this has a positive impact on the boys and raises the church’s standing in the community?

  216. A few late observations: several have mentioned going by bus or car. OK, but your 12 day trip is now 2-4 days longer when you add the extra travel time in.

    Many have felt that the brethren’s guidelines about no trips going over the sabbath is optional. They seem to feel that when they become bishop or YM president, it is like acquiring an independently owned franchise. I disagree. We are all company stores and should follow the guidelines from the brethren. Unity is essential if we are to be the Lord’s people. When the spirit inspires you to go outside a policy, fine, but when you are doing it because your judgment is superior to the brethren’s judgment, that is not inspiration, that is ego.

    YW can go on monthly camp outs, just like the scouts, if they wish. All they need to do is plan it at their presidency meeting and seek bishopric approval like every other organization in the ward.

    They can also do an annual high adventure camp on the ward level or the stake level. Local priesthood leaders (that means the SP) decide if it will be done on the ward or stake level. So that choice is made for them, unfortunately. But if they decide to let the girls do it on the ward level, their options are as wide open as the boys.

    The rules for fund raising are the same for the boys as they are for the girls. No discrimination there. However, one should note that the youth are allowed to raise money as a group for the annual activity only in “the exceptional circumstance” that “the youth cannot earn enough money individually.” Planning an automatic annual group fund raiser is not “exceptional circumstances.” And a group fund-raiser is not appropriate until it is known that they are unable to earn it individually. The only way to know they are unable to earn it individually is to let them try, or to pre-judge them as being incapable.

    The brethren would like these kids to learn to stand on their own two feet, and adults planning automatic annual fund-raisers seems to interfere with that. I might add here that scouting done the way the brethren advise might be a very desirable product.

    “If a fund-raising activity is held it should provide a meaningful value or service.” That means to me that market value is charged.

    “Priesthood leaders should take special care to ensure that members do not feel obligated to contribute.”

  217. Eric Russell says:

    If the whole Philmont thing doesn’t work out, you can always suggest Deseret Book travel tours, most of them go for only $2800 a head.

  218. #217 Then the Church History Trip my daughter started but bailed on after the third day was a bargain at $1,800.00.

  219. 2 SP’s in a row are all big time in favor of how we handle HA and Philmont. That is enough for me.

    I guess that’s the trump card these days, right? SPs have the authority to make those decisions for their stakes. But I daresay that bbell’s SPs are/were the exception, not the rule, and even in Scouting-friendly North Texas…

  220. My daughter was actually going to go on a Philmont trip that sounds just like this one (with an non-LDS troop, obviously) and our old ward did the trip often.

    Unfortunately, school schedules didn’t match up with the dates, so someone else went in her place.

    Interesting, though.