“Youth” and the BSA

VenturingCrewThe real news of “Church to Go Forward with Scouting Program” press release is that Young Women will be participating in the BSA Venturing Program. How do I know that? Because of this line: “As leaders of the Church, we want the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) to succeed in its historic mission to instill leadership skills and high moral standards in youth of all faiths and circumstances, thereby equipping them for greater success in life and valuable service to their country.”

And as we know, youth in the church = boys and girls. See here, here, here and you know, the big one: Strength of Youth.

Since the youth leadership arm of the BSA is the venturing program, which does accept boys and girls, it only makes sense.

That’s what it means, right? It’s not one of those things where men = men in some instances in the scriptures and men = men and women in other instances. It’s not now that youth = male young people in some instances (three in this very press release), but in the rest of church definitions youth = male and female young people?

So with the fervent zeal of youth, the youth of Zion will venture forth proudly in this new era of BSA leadership and cooperation among both boys and girls.

In sum: The real reason why we need to stop saying “youth” when we mean young men and boys, is that the church is making strides toward making women more visible, and if we are going to take those strides at face value, then we need to stop making women unnecessarily invisible. And that’s going to take careful wording and work from the highest echelons on down.




  1. senile old fart says:

    Dream on. Leadership skills are not among those desired for young women. Rather, “followership” is wanted. Otherwise, how are they to be presided over in the home?

  2. I had several female friends in high school who were venture scouts in non church chartered troops, twenty plus years ago in very Mormon dense Utah Valley. They were like hahaha to all of us.

  3. Being totally nit-picky here, but each of the BSA programs we use (Cubs, Boy Scouts, Varsity, and Venturing) is a leadership development program–they are designed as a progression that gradually increases the amount of responsibility placed on the youth. We just don’t often run them that way because our adult volunteers are so poorly trained and often have no real interest in Scouting.

    But yeah, this youth=boys thing sucks. Scouting does great all around the world with co-ed troops. And Girl Scouts is awesome too. But hey, our kids can always just play more Xbox and watch TV.

  4. Yeah, I wish too. It’s explicit in the General Handbook that the Young Women are NOT NOT NOT to participate in BSA Venturing Crews. My daughters will be in Venturing regardless of what the Church says, and they’re starting with BSA now at ages 8 and 9 in the pilot program STEM Scouts, which is co-ed. It would sure make my life easier if it were all rolled up with church like it is with the boys … baby steps. At least BSA even has co-ed programs now.

  5. Em, that last paragraph is speaking truth to power.

  6. Had no idea BSA had co-ed programs. It’s too bad I already hate them so much for their ridiculously expensive fees and inane paperwork, chartering crapstorm and trainings and basically forced participation from the church- just knowing they include girls and now gay leaders makes me respect them more. I have three boys, and I plan on offering them their pick of whatever sports and activities they want to try to keep them out of BSA as much as I can.

  7. Men = men vs men = everyone has been my greatest struggle in my scripture study the past year. I’ve been particularly looking for women in the scriptures and I did pretty good through the old and new testaments but I just started the Book of Mormon and I’ve struggled realizing how invisible women really are there when the “inclusive language” used is “man/men”. It’s incredibly frustrating.

  8. BS rechartering=7th level of hell.

  9. In a surprise move, the newsroom just announced that the church will discontinue its alliance with the YW program.

  10. Angela FTW.

  11. A Happy Hubby says:

    @Owen – you must have rechartered at least once! It isn’t as bad if you let yourself cuss a bit while you do it to let off some steam.

    Oh how I wish the Trib would run an article “innocently” pondering if the PR department were hinting of this just to draw more attention to how blind so many in the church are clueless about the youth gender inequalities.

  12. Same thing of saying “priesthood” when they mean “men”. For example, the priesthood will setup the chairs. Or perhaps I missed learning that ordinance.

  13. To be fair, David, not everyone has Master Yoda as their deacons quorum advisor.

  14. fuddyduddy says:

    @Owen’s comment that “We just don’t often run them that way because our adult volunteers are so poorly trained and often have no real interest in Scouting.”

    That may be true in some units. But I’ve been fully trained for years, and seen the potential of scouting for years, but trying to get the youth (and especially their parents) on board is kicking against the pricks.

    The real problem is that we expect every boy to want to do scouting. Scouting works for boys who want to do scouting, but when 80% of the boys are there because their folks tell them they have to, the program doesn’t work. Scouting won’t be boy-led if the boys aren’t interested.

  15. “The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints appreciates the positive contributions Scouting has made over the years to thousands of its young men and boys and to thousands of other youth. As leaders of the Church, we want the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) to succeed in its historic mission to instill leadership skills and high moral standards in youth of all faiths and circumstances, thereby equipping them for greater success in life and valuable service to their country.”

    In the above context, I think one might read “youth” as a shorthand for “young men and boys and also young women.” The BSA has a broader mission than just boys, even though it is still mostly about boys.

  16. I believe that if you asked our young women about Venturing, most would roll their eyes.

  17. I think this may be a valid point, but I hate to see the author try to embarrass Mike Otterson or whoever wrote the release. Maybe an in-your-face exposure of error is needed in this day and age, but I wonder. (3 Ne. 14:1-2; D&C 42:14).

  18. pconnornc says:

    I listened to the church’s top scout official speak at training and the question was asked about girls and venturing. He explained that the scouting organization is struggling to find the right “mix”, because girls come in more mature and stronger, and in many cases begin to fill many to most of the leadership roles – which then results in more boys leaving venturing. He did not present these statistical outcomes as bad for scouts as an organization, but not in line with one of the reasons why the church uses scouts – to build leadership among the boys.

    In the same vein, he also counseled that patrols should be by priesthood quorum as possible, so that priests are not being “led” by deacons, and that deacons and teachers get the opportunity to lead their peers or quorum members.

    As a note, I’m not a huge scouting fan, but I’m a 100% supporter with my kids to whatever program the church is using – scouts, basketball, personal progress, volleyball, choir, road shows, video game parties, scrap booking, etc. not because I love the vehicle, but I support what they are trying to do with it – and I don’t have a better alternative!

  19. Left Field says:

    treen, I’m quite sure the Handbook doesn’t prohibit young women from participating in Venturing. It prohibits wards from sponsoring coed Venturing Crews.

  20. The Scouting program is a Deacons program. There is almost no sign of anything scouting related on any given mutual night for the Teachers and Priests. We spend a lot of energy trying to define what does for our boys and in the end it lasts two years. I was Scout Master and I noticed the boys were happy to become Teachers because in their mind they weren’t going to be forced to do Scouting stuff every Tuesday.

  21. Frankly, I have no idea what the Venture and Explorer groups do. Why are wards having to pony up money to charter these when they don’t use them. Seems like an easy way to save money. Wouldn’t it be easier to have them be a separate patrol, the way that we break out the 11-year-olds into their own patrol separate from the deacon-age scouts?

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