Scouting towards Personal Progress

August 17, 2017

It’s become a joke at my house.

Whenever someone brings up the Young Women’s program and Personal Progress, all my children turn toward me and say, “Does Mom LOVE Personal Progress?”

And I get a little giddy, feel a grin spread across my face and can’t help but skip across the room because I LOVE PERSONAL PROGRESS.

Truly, it’s just the most fantastic program– simple, inspired and capable of creating lasting change for every participant.

My thirteen-year-old daughter expresses equal enthusiasm as she works through each experience and value project. Concurrently, my fifteen-year-old is finishing up requirements for his Eagle Scout project. Since he’s my fifth son, we’ve been down this road four times before. And you know, we’re getting it done. But maybe without the a skip in my step and sparkle in my eye.

I was grateful to read about the Church’s decision to eliminate Varsity Scouting and move towards a program focusing “on spiritual, social, physical and intellectual goals outlined by the Church. These activities are designed to be fun and meaningful and provide opportunities for personal growth and development.” (see Q&A here)

Two years ago, we had a respectful and enlightening discussion about reevaluating scouting. I’d love to have a similar conversation today in light of recent announcements. We don’t need to disparage scouting or act as ark-steadiers, but I think it could be fruitful to talk through our hopes and dreams for future youth programs in the Church. In the Questions and Answers about Changes to the Young Men Program, this question and it’s answer make me feel a little bit giddy:

Previous statements have indicated that the Church wants a program that serves all young men around the world. Is this it?

  • No, this is not the global program, but an important step that addresses an immediate need. Varsity and Venturing programs have been difficult to run effectively on a local level. The Church continues to work toward developing a program for young men and young women globally.

I can hardly keep from grinning when I imagine a worldwide program for all youth. I have great faith in our leaders and the correlation department. Not that they really need our help, but let’s talk about what we’d like to see in future youth programs. As you know, I LOVE Personal Progress and I’d love to see a similar option for boys (or maybe just one for everyone?) with┬átruly inspired scriptures and prompts, flexibility to choose projects and activities reflecting personal interests,┬áthe ability for parents to sign-off on experiences and projects and option to repeat the program multiple times if desired.

I’d also love to see more Church-sponsored camps like Heber Valley Camp benefiting youth and families all over the world.

Please share your thoughts in the comments. And let’s keep this positive. We all want the best for our youth. We all love this beautiful Church and pray for our leaders.

a one-minute video of Heber Valley Camp just to make you smile.


  1. Heather

    August 17, 2017

    We just attended our first eagle scout court of honor on Sunday for a boy in our ward. I just kept thinking that the girls should have some sort of ceremony for them like this when they complete personal progress. The disparity is so obvious to my teen girls. I wonder if there is any push to make the awarding of the young woman’s award more personal and meaningful, like a court of honor. My husband and I decided that we will throw a little party for our girls if the church has not created something by then.

    • Morgan

      August 18, 2017

      I completely agree – I’d like to see the young women receive more recognition and have a bigger deal made of them for finishing Personal Progress. It is very unequal.

  2. EK

    August 18, 2017

    I LOVE the idea of the same program for all the youth. My husband has spent years as YM 2nd counselor which is also scout master here. Every time he tries to plan a duty to God activity, he gets in trouble with the bishop/parents who want him to focus on Eagle scouting requirements.

    His response? If I am stuck on a mountain and could pick my company between 20 eagle scouts and 1 boy who knows God, I would pick the 1 boy.

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