Great Ward Young Mens Program Checklist
We see wards that have run great young mens programs for many years. We also see wards where year after year the programs for their young men fall far short of their potential for influencing and blessing their youth. Great young mens programs generally do not happen overnight. These great programs have been developed over a long period of time by visionary Bishoprics, by concerned parents, by priesthood leaders who love the young men and who sacrifice to "become scholars" of the Aaronic Priesthood, Scouting, and Duty to God programs. In these exemplary wards, a culture develops that expects the full and successful use of all available tools for Aaronic Priesthood young mens programming. For example, President Charles Dahlquist has said, "We have also noticed that, with a rare exception, where Scouting is strong, so is the Duty to God program" (Charles W. Dahlquist II, Fall 2005 Young Men President's Message). So here is a checklist that ward leaders might use to evaluate the progress of their young mens program toward becoming "GREAT."
G Use the young mens program to achieve Aaronic Priesthood purposes (testimony, service, grow in
stature, leadership development, mission preparation, etc.) and to build bonds of friendship and
mutual support in their quorums.
G Most all young men attend their age-group activities regularly.
G There is not a significant drop-off in activity when boys turn 14 and 16.
G Most young men wear the uniform of their age-group scouting program at activities
G Most all young men are working to achieve their Duty to God certificates/award and do so by the
time they advance to the next priesthood level.
G A majority of young men in the ward are working toward and do achieve the rank of Eagle.
< Most young men achieve the rank of First Class while in the 11 year old scout program
< Most young men achieve at least the rank of Life while in the (12-13 year old) Scout Troop,
and many the Eagle.
G A majority of young men in the Teacher's quorum are working toward and do receive their Varsity
letter and Denali award.
G A majority of young men in the Priests quorum are working toward and do achieve at least a
Venturing Bronze Award. Some young men in the Priests quorum are achieving Venturing Gold and
Silver and/or Ranger, Quest, or Trust awards.
G The majority of young men attend at least one BSA advanced leadership training course while in their
Aaronic Priesthood years.
Young Mens Leaders:
G Each is working actively to operate their age-group scouting programs fully and to implement Duty
G All actively seek to establish relationships of influence with the young men in their quorum program
and to help them achieve Aaronic Priesthood purposes.
G All young mens leaders complete the leader specific (basic) scout leader training for their age-group
G All young mens leaders attend scout Round Tables regularly for their age-group scouting program.
G All young mens leaders have attended or are working toward attending Wood Badge (goal: 10-15
Wood Badge trained men in the ward; add 3-4 Wood Badge graduates each year)
G All young mens leaders wear the uniform of their age-group scouting program regularly at activities.
G Maintain good records of scouting advancement/recognition and of Duty to God progress for the
G Make sure that there is one adult leader for each quorum who is assigned to and actively working to
promote and track Duty to God progress.
G Establish and maintain a group of trained, registered merit badge counselors from the ward, covering
all Eagle badges and a substantial number of electives.
G Come to know in detail the requirements for scouting advancement (Tenderfoot to Eagle), the
requirements for Duty to God for their assigned age-group, and for Varsity and Venturing awards if
working with these age-groups.
G Actively promote achievement by the young men of the advancement/recognition objectives listed
above in the Young Men section. Leaders of Varsity and Venturing are as adept as the
Scoutmasters in promoting and supporting advancement toward Eagle.
G Fully utilize all boy leadership training options within the specific age-group scouting programs (such
as, New Troop Leadership Training, Venturing Leadership Skills Course, Kodiak and Kodiak X,
Council-sponsored advanced leadership courses). Promote and allow boy leadership experience in
planning, leading, and evaluating activities in every way possible (minimize adult-led activities).
G Fully utilize all features of the specific age-group scouting program that help teach and reinforce
values and spirituality (such as, Scoutmaster conferences, Advisors minute, evening devotionals,
boards of review, etc.)
Parents and ward families:
G Give financial support of YM programs by meeting Friends Of Scouting target amounts.
G Most parents know the status of their sons' progress and what is needed next for Duty to God and
Scouting advancement and set aside time to work with their sons regularly (as much as weekly) on
G See that their sons have scouting uniforms, manuals, and adequate camping equipment.
G Give high priority to the attendance of their sons at Mutual and at other scouting activities (camps,
Courts of Honor, etc.), so that most all boys attend their age-group scouting activities regularly.
G Almost all parents are in attendance at scheduled Scouting Courts of Honor and Parents
Nights/Meetings, along with many ward members without sons of Aaronic Priesthood age.
G A number of Dads attend camps and outdoor activities with their sons.
G Are willing to give time to the YM programs as shown by the existence of active scouting
G Are willing to give time to the YM programs as shown by the ward having merit badge counselors
covering all Eagle required badges and numerous others.
G Charter a Scout Troop, Varsity Scout Team, and Venturing Crew and commit to operate each of
these programs fully.
G Actively promote a high level of parent support, commitment, and understanding of the scouting
programs and Duty to God as "tools of parenting", including boy weekly attendance at Mutual,
summer camp, parent work regularly with boy on achievements. May invite parents to be present for
boy annual interviews.
G Promote recognition of boy progress and achievement in the scouting and Duty to God programs at
G Organize the YM program so that scouting and quorum leadership/advisors are fully integrated
(scouting is not an appendage with separate leaders, nor does scouting dominate priesthood--every
adult leader has both priesthood and scouting responsibilities).
G Call enough good men (men with testimonies, good role models) to fully staff the YM and scouting
programs for each AP quorum. At a minimum, there are at least 2 adult advisors/scouting leaders for
each quorum (exception: where a quorum has only 1-2 young men forcing some combining of
programs). For large quorums/programs, for the Troop and Team there should be an adult advisor
for every 5-10 boys (that is, an assistant for each Troop patrol or Varsity squad) plus one (the
Scoutmaster or Coach). Venturing would typically need three: Advisor, Associate advisor for
Program, Associate Advisor for Administration (for small quorums at last two).
G (Training) When making calls, communicate an expectation and obtain commitment that the leader get
fully trained for his age group scouting program, prior to formally issuing the call: fast start, leader
specific/basic, regular Round Table attendance, Wood Badge.
G (Tenure) Keep young men leaders in their positions for several years; resist changing the men around
to different callings.
G Call committee chairs and members for each scouting program and see that the committees meet
regularly and are giving needed support to their scouting program. Extra mile for great scouting:
Well-trained Bishopric members chair the committees.
G Makes sure that youth programs have adequate funding.
G Bishopric members have received at least the leader specific training for the scouting program for
their assigned quorum. Extra mile for great scouting: Bishopric members complete Wood Badge
G Provide incentives for young men leaders to attend Wood Badge, so that in the ward there are a
significant number of men and women (perhaps 10-15) who have completed this course.
G Bishopric members participate regularly in the scouting committee for their assigned quorum and give
oversight to the priesthood and activity program for their quorum.
G Bishopric members attend at least some of the activities of their assigned quorum, wearing the
uniform of his age-group scouting program.
G Bishopric member assigned as COR attends Round Table COR meeting regularly. Extra mile for
great scouting: Each bishopric member regularly attends the Round Table section for his scouting
G Makes sure there is a program and the resources to allow a number of young men to participate in
advanced leader training from BSA District or Council.