Vanguard International Scouting Association
On January 1, 2020, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (the Church) discontinued its role as a chartered organization with all Scouting programs around the world including the Boy Scouts of America. The Church has for over 100 years been a great supporter of Scouting in many countries and many have benefited greatly because of this. President George Albert Smith once said, “I feel grateful to the Lord that Sir Robert Baden-Powell was impressed—may I say, inspired—to give Scouting to the world” (Improvement Era, Sept. 1948, 558).
Recognizing that the Church has concluded its formal relationships with Scouting, many have felt a strong prompting to organize an International Scouting Association for members and friends of the Church. This association will provide a way to connect with those who recognize what Scouting has done and will continue to do around the world.
Realizing that many Latter-day Saints desire to continue their Scouting experience, the Church has encouraged them to join community Scouting units. Therefore, as with other denominations participating in Scouting, Latter-day Saints continuing their Scouting involvement desire an independent organization to support their efforts in Scouting, domestically and internationally. Hence the creation of Vanguard International Scouting Association.
Why the name Vanguard? Vanguard is defined as an adventurer in a new territory or an unconquered place. We are truly embarking on an adventure as Latter-day Saint Scouters begin a new era of Scouting. The Vanguard name has historical significance within the Church. In the early years of Scouting in the Church, Church leaders emphasized affiliation with national Scouting organizations all over the world. The Vanguard program was initiated for Church units outside of the United States where no national Scouting program was available. Membership was open to all youth ages twelve to fourteen, including those who were not Church members. Curriculum included activities, advancement, achievement, and spiritual growth.
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Note: Vanguard International Scouting Association is an independent association, not officially sponsored by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, but which supports Latter-day Saints involved in Scouting worldwide.