Thursday, November 15, 2012

Hey, What are those Orange Shoulder Loops?

The BSA 4-1-1 task force recently confirmed that Varsity Scouting would not be going away. Varsity Scouting is the program for 14-15 year old young men, and is the activity arm of the Teacher's Quorum.

Identified by the distinctive orange shoulder loops, the BSA worked with the LDS Church to develop the program specifically for the 15-16 age group. Varsity Scouting handles the "I'm bored with merit badges" syndrome very effectively, but like all of the Scouting programs, if adult advisors don't understand it, then it won't work.

Varsity Scouting is not just a 'Boy Scout Super Troop'. It's a full program with its own awards. One major element of Varsity Scouting are the 'Five Areas of Emphasis' consisting of Advancement, High Adventure/Sports, Personal Development, Service, and Special Programs and Events. Each of these areas are led by a youth 'Program Manager' who is mentored by a member of the Team Committee.

While Varsity Scouts can continue on the 'Trail to Eagle' by working on merit badges, they can also earn the Varsity Letter and the Denali Award, the highest available in Varsity Scouting.

President Larry Gibson, of the General Young Men's Presidency, recently stated, "Many Young Men leaders in the Church understand the Scouting program; fewer understand the Varsity and Venture programs. We encourage Varsity and Venture leaders to implement these excellent programs. They have been well developed and are some of the best tools anywhere for teaching leadership and self-reliance. Because we use the sacred funds of the Church to register our young men as Scouts, we need to make sure the Lord is pleased with how we use what we purchase."

If your ward is struggling with implementing Varsity Scouting, consider the following steps:
  1. Download and read the official Varsity Manuals.
  2. Attend Varsity Leader Specific Training.
  3. Call a Varsity Committee, or at least a Varsity Representative for your Scouting Committee.
  4.  Set goals for implementing the Varsity program and a date when you will present your first Varsity specific awards.
  5. Start immediately!


  1. I love, love, LOVE the Varsity program. I have been a Varsity Coach for almost 5 years and work the program "mostly" they way it is written. I love it! It is perfect for boys sitting at Life and wondering what they want to do.

    1. Thanks for your link Fishgutts - I enjoy your blog!