New Vanguard International Scouting Association

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.

The purposes of Vanguard International Scouting Association are to:

1. Represent Scouting by members and friends of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to the Boy Scouts of America (BSA), other National Scouting Organizations (NSOs) and to the World Organization of the Scout Movement (WOSM).

2. Encourage membership in and affiliation with Scouting organizations by members and friends of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints worldwide.

3. Develop a Religious Emblems Award to help Latter-day Saint Scouts and Scouting leaders learn and apply their Duty to God.

4. Perform those other functions that will encourage active involvement in the Scouting programs of the BSA, and other NSOs worldwide by members and friends of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

In order to fulfil the purposes set for the above, Vanguard International Scouting Association will be involved in the following activities:

1. Serve as a liaison between Scouts and Scouters who are members and friends of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and BSA, other NSOs and WOSM.

2. Represent Latter-day Saint Scouters on the BSA National Relationship Committee and other BSA committees and encourage active participation on BSA committees at all levels: National, Regional, Area, Council and District.

3. Provide and coordinate, in connection with local Church leaders, Latter-day Saint chaplain services at Philmont Scout Ranch, National and World Jamborees and other Scouting encampments.

4. Represent Latter-day Saint Scouts, Scouters and Scouting families at BSA National Jamborees, World Scout Jamborees and other Scouting events by providing Latter-day Saint Scouting exhibits, sponsoring Latter-day Saint Scouting events, etc.

5. Provide a forum for connecting Latter-day Saint Scouters across the world to help them be more effective in using Scouting to further the youth objectives of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

6. Provide communications to Latter-day Saints involved in Scouting and others domestically and across the world concerning the benefits of Scouting in helping their youth reach their potential, develop life skills and develop character traits, and prepare them…for Life.

7. Continue to build bridges of “friendship, fellowship and faith” with our Scouting friends from all different backgrounds and denominations across the world.

8. Develop and promote a Religious Emblems Award to help Latter-day Saint Scouts, Scouting leaders and families learn and apply their Duty to God. Provide written materials to describe the requirements for Scouts and leaders to earn the award and provide helps and materials to assist them in earning the award.

9. Sponsor annual Conferences for Latter-day Saint Scouters at Philmont Scout Ranch.

10. Develop materials to support the efforts of Latter-day Saint Scouters worldwide.

11. Work with the BSA for needed major maintenance of the Latter-day Saint chapel at Philmont Scout Ranch.

12. Work with BSA to develop marketing and recruitment materials to help grow Scouting, both domestically and internationally, among those of the Latter-day Saint faith.

13. Encourage occasional Scouting encampments for Latter-day Saint Scouts, normally on a Scouting regional or area basis.

14. Perform those other functions that will encourage active involvement in the Scouting programs of the BSA, other NSOs worldwide by members and friends of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

15. Provide ideas to show how the work in various national Scouting programs can be used in the new Church Children and Youth Development program. The intent is to give a guide to the complimentary nature of the two programs and to show that youth efforts in one can also serve the youth in the other.

The vision of Vanguard International Scouting Association is to provide effective representation of Latter-day Saint Scouts and Scouters and their values worldwide and actively encourage Latter-day Saints to become involved in Scouting.

The mission of Vanguard International Scouting Association is to represent Latter-day Saint Scouts and Scouters worldwide, through effective association with WOSM, BSA and other National Scouting Organizations; to ensure that Scouting continues to be consistent with Latter-day Saint beliefs and values and continues to meet the needs of Latter-day Saints in preparing their youth for full time missionary service, and a lifetime of service to their families, Church, professions and communities; and to prepare them for Life.

The values of Vanguard International Scouting Association are to strive to live, model and teach the Scout Oath and Law in all our efforts, associations and dealings with families, Scouts, Scouters, WOSM, BSA, NSOs, Vanguard donors and the community on behalf of Latter-day Saint Scouts and Scouters.

To join Vanguard International Scouting Association and to help support and strengthen Scouting worldwide you can become a Charter Member in 2020, become a lifetime member or join for one year. To purchase your membership click here or click on the membership level below. Here are the benefits that come with membership:

1) Charter Membership individuals may become charter members of Vanguard International Scouting Association at a cost of $500.00. This level of membership will be available only during 2020 and entitles charter members to the following:

a. Certificate of Charter Membership, suitable for framing.

b. Lifetime membership in Vanguard International Scouting Association.

c. Vanguard International Scouting Association patch, limited edition “Charter Membership” patch and a “Lifetime Membership” Patch.

d. Special Edition of “Be Prepared,” 106 years of Scouting – a collection of talks and quotes concerning Latter-day Saint Scouting.

e. Vanguard International “Charter Membership” and “Lifetime Membership” Scouting Neckerchief, with friendship knot and certificate of verification by a member of Vanguard International Scouting Association Board.

f. Commemorative bolo tie.

g. Subscription to “The Bridge Builder,” a publication for Latter-day Saint Scouters.

2) Lifetime Membership – For $250.00 this level of membership entitles lifetime members to the following:

a. Certificate of Lifetime Membership, suitable for framing.

b. Vanguard International Scouting Association patch and a limited edition “Lifetime Membership” patch.

c. Edition of “Be Prepared,” 106 years of Scouting – a collection of talks and quotes concerning Latter-day Saint Scouting.

d. Vanguard International “Lifetime Membership” Scouting Neckerchief, with friendship knot.

e. Subscription to “The Bridge Builder” a publication for Latter-day Saint Scouters.

3) Annual Membership – $25.00 annually and entitles members to the following:

1. Certificate of Membership

2. Vanguard International Scouting Association patch.

3. Subscription to “The Bridge Builder,” a publication for Latter-day Saint Scouters.

Join the Vanguard International Scouting Association today! Click here.

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  1. Gary Sanford says:

    This is OUTSTANDING. Thank you for all your hard work and efforts in putting this organization together. I hope to be able to assist as a member of this organization.

  2. Thank you Mark, Charles, Nettie, and others involved in creating this and doing the heavy lifting getting it off the ground. I’m looking forward to joining as a charter member and helping where I can. My brief position as ACC for LDS Relations and the council LDS transition chair is about to end this month and I was wondering what was next for me to do in this area. Regards from Palmetto Council 549 in upstate South Carolina.

  3. Bryce Hall says:

    I know this must have required a lot of faith and hard work to launch. I greatly admire and identify with the several goals listed. God Bless you, your efforts and all of our scouting families who are trying their best to be true disciples of Christ.

  4. Steven Choate says:

    This is a special day to kick this off into a new frontier for scouting especially for Latter-Day Saint families.

    Thank you team Vanguard :)

  5. Veronica Macias says:

    Wow!!! This is amazing. Thank you for valuing everything we have learned through scouting and our faith. We will continue pressing forward.

  6. R. Smokey BASSETT says:

    Point of history: In 1979 General Young Men President Robert Backman instructed the church lawyer in Germany and Elder/Colonel J. Paul Jensen, Germany Serviceman Region Representative, to study the concept of creating a church Scouting program for the young men in Europe.
    Several years later the Aaronic Priesthood Scouting Program was instituted with the first troop organized in Frankfurt, West Germany, and acknowledged by the WOSM, but not an official member of the world-wide organization.
    Other units were started and interfaced with the large BSA program in the American stakes, mostly in the 3-stake Germany Serviceman Region. I departed Germany in 1985, but I understand the program continued for several years before slowly growing smaller, the last units I know of were in Italy. Many things impacted this effort to bring Scouting to the LDS young men across Europe.
    As the Assistant to the Germany Serviceman Region Representative, and as the church adviser to the BSA Transatlantic Council, I served on the team that developed the program from the ground-up, from uniforms and badges, to handbooks and advancement criteria.
    In July 1984 President Backman came to Europe and I attended the first Nordic LDS Jamboree in Sweden with him. This history is not well known. but was an effort to bring Scouting to more young Saints.

  7. Joanne Osmond says:

    Thank you for filling a void that has been disconcerting. The connection adds validity to the countless hours and efforts of Scouts and Scouters over the past 100 years.

    Thank you!

  8. Brenden Taylor says:

    I’ve been very much looking forward to this announcement, and am enthused to press forward as part of this new association. I’d like to do the lifetime level, but my current position makes that difficult. Could there be an option to do it in installments?

  9. Scott Grover says:

    So excited to see this continuation with Scouting and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. Thrilled to become a charter member as I continue my service to Scouting.

  10. Don Wesel says:

    This announcement may have made this the happiest day of my life! The second happiest day out of my life was when The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints chartered with BSA in 1913.

  11. Marni says:

    Thank you! Looking forward to many more wonderful scouting years.

    Is the religious emblem getting close? I was just sitting down with my Webelos daughter looking at Duty to God pin requirements, and came here to see if that was part of the announcement. :)

  12. James Francisco says:

    This is really exciting, I’ll be joining as a charter member in a couple of weeks. In our district,(Gila River District, Grand Canyon Council) we created a ppt slid set aligning BSA programs and activities with the four areas of emphasis in the Children and Youth framework. I would be happy to share it with anyone who would like to try it out.

  13. Gary A Vaughan says:

    I too will be joining as a Charter Member. There are so many hoping to continue the adventure as a part of their leadership training and development along with the Church programs. Thanks for your efforts in blazing the trail ahead.

  14. Brenden Taylor says:

    James, I’d be interested in having a copy of your ppt. you can email me at neds.nerb(at) Thanks

  15. RD says:

    I live in Ohio and have visited numerous troops trying to find a good fit for our boys – with no success. I have so wished that someone would put together a website where LDS Scouts and Scouters could find each other. (like the matching that is available for Sea Base contingents – “we have two open spots” or Father & Son would like to join a contingent”.) Does somebody have the ability to do this? I would like to know if other LDS Scouts have found a new troop that is receptive to their needs or if anyone nearby would like to start a new troop. We have plenty of leadership experience. Issues like being in church on Sunday morning are a big deal for us. I have not yet found a place where we are looked upon as anything other than strange. I love the combination of LDS values and Scouting. Could the VISA help us find each other?

  16. Scott Mears says:

    Thank you so very much for all this hard work. We are one step away from forming our new Community Troop and this just shows me the Lord’s hand has always been involved in Scouting and continues to be.

  17. DLW says:

    I live in Ohio and have visited numerous troops trying unsuccessfully to find a good fit for our boys. I so wish that there was a website to help LDS Scouts find other LDS Scouts relatively nearby – like the site that helps Sea Base contingents needing more members connect with single Scouts or fathers and sons who would like to attend Sea Base. Does anyone have the skills to do this? People could post about LDS-friendly troops they have joined, or combine to start a new troop. We have decades of leadership experience and no where to go…

  18. Steven Gold says:

    I would love to get more information on this association as it comes available, including how we formally participate as members and how we get information from this association. We have started our Community troop made up of boys who want to continue with scouting in our stake. These are exciting times and would appreciate any help this organization can help us with in furthering scouting in association with LDS values, standards and helping our boys recognize how scouting is a tool to building the Lord’s warriors and their future.

  19. Edward Huntington says:

    How can we get involved if our personal finances won’t allow us one of the premium memberships? I want to be a part of this wonderful development, but I am on a tight budget. I am a Unit Commissioner for a large LDS troop being formed in our area, and also plan to serve as their Religious Emblems Coordinator. I would love to contribute more if there are opportunities open to volunteers!

  20. Carol McCarthy says:

    Just joined as lifetime member! Passing the word!
    Thanks for all the hard work going forward on this!

  21. Jodi Brady says:

    I am not an LDS scouter, however I am confused. LDS left the BSA, and now they are coming back to work with the BSA. I am glad for the continuing opportunity because I do have LDS friends that are devoted to scouting. But why all the drama of splitting from BSA the way it happened. Some LDS leaders just dropped out, quit talking, left the program…. and then they come around to this again. I am sure there is a bigger plan involved with the Lord leading it, but I feel like those who are left were just duped. We were treated rudely by those lds units, we were ignored, and we had a lot of drama to help those youth wanting to obtain eagle… and then some just dropped us. I don’t get it. However in the end, good luck!

  22. Edward Huntington says:

    Also – is there any kind of timeline for when we might hear about developing religious awards and materials? Will this website be the best place to hear about such developments in the future?

  23. William McCleery says:

    As a former director of BSA Religious Relationships and Relationships Division (now called Strategic Alliances), it was my privilege to work with a number of outstanding LDS leaders, among them Marion Hanks, Bob Backman, & Vaughn Featherstone. I also served along side LDS Relationships directors John Warnick and Bob Mills. I’m pleased to see that the LDS/BSA relationship will continue under Vanguard. Splendid idea. Also pleased to see it will liaison with NSOs and WOSM. All the best.

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