A resource for international LDS Scouts

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These pages are intend to hold resources for scouting by LDS youth in the international context. In most cases LDS youth engaged in scouting outside of the United States and Canada will be enrolled in non-church units. These resources are intend to be used by scouts, their leaders and families in understanding how the local scouting program relates to the LDS Church youth programs and activities.


There are two issues that will often confront LDS families when encountering international scouting. The first of these, Sunday camping, is found world wide and even in non-LDS Scout units in the United States and Canada. The second is the co-educational nature of scouting as found in much of the world.

Sunday Camping

Sunday camping is a common problem for LDS scouts world wide. In LDS scout groups this can be dealt with by simply not camping on Sundays. In international scouting the issue is more complex and must be dealt with on a family basis. If the scout group has enough LDS youth it is possible to have a no Sunday camping patrol that would for example camp on Friday and Saturday nights and then return home for Sunday services. With proper priesthood approval sacrament could be served on Sunday. This could meet the requirements for organising a "Scouts Own" a common religious requirement found in scouting overseas. Some other suggested solutions include:

  • Have a sacrament service in the ward boundaries after returning from the trip. The scouts and leaders could meet at a member's home for their own service before going to their own homes to unpack.
  • Have a worship service without administering the sacrament.

See also Deseret Patrol


Perhaps one of the most startling aspects of international scouting that LDS Scouts and their families encounter if they are coming from a Church sponsored scouting program in the United States and Canada is that in many countries Scouting is co-educational. This is the case in most European, South American, African and Australasian nations. As a result it is perfectly possible in many nations that scouts and scout leaders, both youth and adult will be female. It is also the case that LDS young women may, in these nations, elect to be Scouts themselves. As a result LDS young women may be using Scouting to meet the requirements for their Young Womanhood Awards in Church much as the boys do with the Duty to God program. As this varies depending on the national scouting program one need to look at each nation program to see how this can be done.

BSA or local scouting

One question that some LDS scouting families from the United States face when living overseas is if to continue with be Boy Scouts of America program as provided by the various overseas councils of the BSA or to use the local national scouting program. Several factors can colour the decision.

  • Is the time spent overseas to be temporary or permanent?
  • Are you living in a nation where English is the primary or secondary language. What level of ability does your son have in the local language.
  • How far along in scouting is your son? For example if he is close to Eagle Scout you might wish to have him continue in the BSA program.

There are of course good reasons to choose either local scouting or overseas BSA scouting. Local scouting can provided contacts with youth in the local community and exposes your youth to the culture and traditions of the nation where they live. The BSA scouting provides continuity of programming if your stay will be short. It can also provide a comforting contact with home for youth who may be having problems adapting to a new language and culture. Families need to carefully consider all these issues when deciding what is best for your sons and daughters.

If you have daughters then international scouting may well provide them a unique opportunity not to be found in the United States, this is to take part in the wider world of international scouting. A local co-educational scouting group, common in Europe, Australasia and other areas of the world, can be considered.

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