Updated 2/17/16 NEW items in red.
“Therefore LET every man learn his duty (with emphasis on ‘let’ meaning to allow, permit, encourage). Let them do everything within their power, and you stand in the background and teach them how to do it. I think therein is the secret of growth, to fix responsibility and then teach our people how to carry that responsibility.” Harold B. Lee as cited by N. Eldon Tanner (New Era, June 1977, p.6)
On this page you will find:
- Varsity Overview
- Newly Called Varsity Coaches and Assistants
- Varsity Resources
- Varsity Awards
- General Thoughts about Varsity Scouting
- Successful Activities from Other Wards
- Posts on This Site Related to Varsity
- Suggested Goals
NEW–One-page summary of training required by BSA position (related to the Troop, Team, Crew, Committees, and Chartered Org Rep) and training required for various activities (including camping, boating, swimming, backpacking, climbing and flying)
Varsity scouting is a BSA-offered program for young men ages 14-16 that is used by the ward’s Teachers Quorum. It provides additional opportunities for adventure, leadership, personal growth and service. Through the 5 Fields of Emphasis (Advancement, High-Adventure/Sports, Personal Development, Service, Special Programs & Events) youth and advisors can develop a flexible program that integrates the principles and values of scouting, with the interests of the young men of this age group. It is important for the boys to be properly organized with appropriate leadership positions in order for them to get the most of out of the program. A properly implemented Varsity Team can be an effective activity program to attract and retain young men, and provides an effective framework for building testimonies and character of its quorum members. It will also be something the boys will want to invite their friends to. Running a Varsity program allows adult advisors to focus on helping the boys lead rather than worrying about each week’s activity. Varsity scouts will continue to work on merit badges and advancement toward the rank of eagle while pursuing Varsity activities and awards in parallel.
Suggested Varsity Scouting annual goals are found at the bottom of this page and give thoughts on how to start, or expand, your ward’s Varsity Team.
Quoting from the green Scouting handbook, May 2015 edition, section 1.1, the Purpose of Scouting in the Aaronic Priesthood:
Unless otherwise noted, the term Scouting includes Cub Scouting, Boy Scouting, Varsity Scouting, and Venturing. Scouting can help young men and boys enhance close relationships with their families and the Church while developing strong and desirable traits of character, citizenship, and physical and mental fitness. Under priesthood leadership, Scouting should complement the efforts of Aaronic Priesthood quorums and Primary classes in building testimonies in young men and boys. Scouting under Church sponsorship should become an extension of the home, Primary classes, and Aaronic Priesthood quorums. Scouting functions as part of the Church’s activity program for boys and young men. Scouting activities should be planned to fulfill gospel-centered purposes.
Newly Called Varsity Coaches or Assistants
should attend a stake New Leader Orientation review when offered, and otherwise follow the outline under New Advisors on this website to get oriented and trained in Aaronic Priesthood and Varsity scouting matters. This outline provides a roadmap to help you get properly trained and ramped up during the first 3-6 months of your call.
Included in the roadmap are instructions on how to get BSA trained for Varsity scouting. Refer to the Training tab of this website for details and a training calendar.
You should also become familiar with the Varsity Play Book which is the handbook for varsity scouting.
In addition to becoming familiar with the other resources on this page, you can read this article from the July 2014 Ensign about Varsity scouting.
NEW–2016 Denver Area Council Planning Guide: contains information to assist in planning your activities for the year including Council opportunities, camping, calendar, and descriptions of scouting in the Denver area.
There are 3 Varsity Scout Program Features guides that provide outlines and details on 27 different themes that you can use as the basis for your program. These guides assist youth and adults in planning 1-3 months worth of activities related to that theme. Use of these guides will make varsity scouting much simpler.
The Varsity Play Book is the handbook for Varsity Scouting. In it you’ll learn how to run the program, the awards, leadership positions, details about the 5 fields of emphasis, and everything else about Varsity Scouts.
The church Activities website also has suggestions and plans for Varsity scouting activities.
The LDS BSA Relations group has helpful resources for Varsity Coaches that are accessible by clicking HERE.
A summary of church, BSA, and stake policies on travel, safety, and finances can be found under the Policies section of this website.
NEW–A helpful resource dedicated to Varsity Scouting can be found HERE. It’s a site run by BSA called, “Voice of Scouting” and it contains helpful and relevant articles and tips from other varsity coaches. One article in particular entitled, “Making Your Varsity Team Effective” can be found HERE.
A newly created varsity training course called “Varsity Vision” will periodically be offered. It is unique in that the training is taught by varsity scouts and advisors, and attended by varsity scouts and advisors. You and your Team should plan on attending this course when it’s offered. A link to the syllabus can be found HERE.
Varsity Scouting has its own separate awards program. Scouts will continue to work on merit badges and Boy Scout rank advancement toward eagle, but they can also work on Varsity awards in parallel. These awards should be presented to the scouts at courts of honor. It is important for younger scouts to see the older scouts continue to earn awards. It helps the younger boys look forward to future adventures and creates a culture of scouting throughout all quorums of the Aaronic Priesthood. You can learn more about the awards program in the Varsity Play Book. Additionally, another web site with helpful ideas on each Varsity Program Feature can be found HERE. It contains specific ideas on how different activities you can do in each of the five Fields of Emphasis.
General Thoughts about Varsity Scouting
- One beauty of Varsity scouting is its flexibility. If the boys in the teachers quorum have diverse interests, Varsity scouting can be flexible enough to accommodate them–maybe not every activity, but over time boys can do things they enjoy, and at other times do things that will challenge them.
- Young men need experiences, they need to do things, to really learn and see real growth and change. Weekly quorum activities should be designed to provide these types of experiences, and Varsity scouting is best suited to accomplish this and other objectives.
- It is important to get the boys outside and provide them regular experiences where they need to plan, work together, serve together, have fun, develop confidence, and demonstrate leadership and real growth. This takes work and planning but the payoff is worth it. Rather than monthly campouts like the Troop holds, perhaps a quarterly campout or other exciting outdoor activity can be planned.
- Planning a 90 day or 12 month calendar is easy and quick! Open up the Guide Books (links are above), have the boys review the activities, select a few that interest them, and then use the activity planning support within each activity and for each of the 5 fields of emphasis. They lay out very clearly and thoroughly how to properly explore each theme over a 60-90 day period–including a “high adventure” type of activity at the end to culminate the theme. Lead the boys to the calendar, and let them build it. An additional resource to planning 90-120 day calendars is the church Varsity Activities Website.
- We encourage you to participate in at least one district or council activity each year, like a Klonderee or Camporee, or a Venture activity when Varsity scouts are invited. These are opportunities for youth and leaders interact with others in the scouting community and learn from what they are doing.
- If you don’t have a large group of boys in the teachers quorum and it’s difficult to plan activities, consider combining Varsity scouting activities with another ward.
- Even if you have enough boys in your ward, you can just combine with other Teams once in awhile to make it more interesting.
- If you’d like to mix things up, challenge another Varsity Team (or Teams) in the stake to a competition, like a triathlon.
- Remember, scouting should be fun, interesting, challenging, engaging, and should have a priesthood purpose. You can and should develop relationships with young men that will cause them to ask you questions, and provide you with opportunities to share and build testimonies.
- Varsity awards are fun to earn and may be a goal of some boys, but not all of them. That’s ok! Let those who just want to have fun, come and have fun. See that they are all assigned leadership responsibilities to add to their overall experience.
- If your ward’s teachers quorum doesn’t have an active Varsity team, and you want to start one, you don’t need to formally announce you’re going to start scouting. Just ease into it. Show the boys the Activity Guides from above, have them select some activities, put them on the calendar, organize into leadership positions, make assignments, and jump in. The boys will like it, and they just might not even realize they’re doing ‘scouts’.
Successful Activities from Other Wards in the Stake
- Cooking Module: spent a Wednesday night learning on each of the following: catering, dutch oven, BBQ, oriental food preparation. The module was capped off with a night where the boys prepared a dinner for their mothers.
Posts on this site relating to Varsity Scouting
The Stake Young Men Presidency would like to suggest some goals for each Aaronic Priesthood Quorum and related scouting unit. Each young man should have opportunities to experience real spiritual, physical, and emotional growth during the year and as you consider what you’d like to accomplish in 2015, please consider the following as well:
- Properly organize varsity program with youth leadership in place by Jan.31
- Participate in a varsity program activity with another Team from the stake at least once in 2015
- Have summer camp date and general plans known and publicized by Jan.31
- Regularly review Journey to Excellence (JTE) requirements throughout the year; strive for Gold