LDS Church: No change to youth activities following BSA announcement
(KUTV) After a historic announcement Wednesday that the Boy Scouts of America will begin letting girls participate in its scouting programs, members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints can expect little change in its own youth activities for girls.
The LDS Church, the Boy Scouts' largest charger organization in the United States, says it will continue running separate programs for girls within the Utah-based church.
The BSA announced Wednesday that it would begin letting girls participate in the Cub Scout program, which used to be reserved for boys between the ages of 7 and 10. The Scouts will also begin a separate program for girls that would allow them to earn the Eagle Scout award, the highest rank in the Boy Scouts program.
The LDS Church said Wednesday that it would not make any changes in how it approaches scouting within its local congregations. Young boys in Mormon congregations are automatically enrolled into Cub Scouts when they turn 8 years old and continue on to Boy Scouts until they turn 14. Girls take part in a Church-developed program called Activity Days until they turn 12, after which they begin a program called Personal Progress, a religion-based curriculum developed by the Church's Young Women's organization.
"The Activity Days and Personal Progress programs of the Church have long been in place to meet the needs of girls and young women in these age groups, and no change will be made in the Church programs," Church Spokesman Eric Hawkins said in a written statement. "We recognize that the desire of the BSA is to expand their programs to serve more young people in the United States. The Church, too, continues to look at ways to serve the needs or our youth worldwide."
The LDS Church has made changes of its own recently in its relationship to the Boy Scouts. In May, the Church announced congregations in the United States and Canada would longer participate in Venture and Varsity Scouting, a program designed for youth between ages 14 and 21, and would instead introduce its own program for young men starting at age 14. The new program is set to begin in January 2018.