Keepapitchinin, the Mormon History blog » Vanguard Scouts: Mormon Boys in Their Mid-Teens: part 3

Vanguard Scouts: Mormon Boys in Their Mid-Teens: part 3

By: Ardis E. Parshall - July 06, 2012

This installment completes the description of the program’s adult leadership. Next installment: The Vanguard program itself (mottoes, traditions, insignia, ranks, etc.)


The Priesthood committees and the Scout committees are often composed of the same men and they serve the same boys. Sound judgment dictates the adoption of some definite scheme for coordinating the efforts of these two remarkable set-ups. how fitting that Scouting should be made the activity program for the deacons and teachers quorums, and that the overhead organization be brought together to insure the success of the plan. it si therefore recommended that the stake chairman of the Aaronic Priesthood committee and the chairman of the District scout committee shall be the same man and that the two committees be merged together in order that they have the same personnel functioning, whoever, in dual capacity.

In other words the men who motivate priesthood work will also motivate Scouting in the stake. Functioning quorums and live troops will be encouraged by the same committee. Projects will be initiated in scouting to insure the boys’ participation int heir quorum duties; and in like manner quorum projects will be made to encourage boys in scouting.

It must be remembered, however, that when this combined committee functions in a scouting capacity it must serve both Mormon and non-Mormon scouts on an equal basis, and must be just as consistent in tying non-Mormon boys up to their respective church activities as it is in making Scouting supplement priesthood in the L.D.S. wards. Representation on the District Committee is therefore very important. perhaps a Vice Chairman should be elected from the non-Mormon church representation; or, if the proportion of non-Mormon population is sufficiently great, a non-Mormon chairman with a Mormon vice chairman would be a very desirable arrangement. The big idea is to get representation that will make scouting reach the greatest number of boys and supplement their church program to the fullest extent.

To complete the district and stake tie-up, the stake Sunday School superintendency should provide a member of the committee; likewise the stake M.I.A. will provide the district commissioner, who is to be commissioned through the district by the local council. Other members on the district committee will be chosen because of their special personal qualifications or because of the group they represent.

The local troop committee must be organized with great care, for this is the critical point where the program affects directly the home, the sponsoring institution, and the boy. Formerly the national Council recommended a troop committee of three male adults to administer the troop, but in recent years the larger troop committee has proved its virtues. A representative of the Bishopric and a representative from the M.I.A. presidency should be included first in this enlarged troop committee. To these will be added three men, preferably fathers of scouts. The representatives of the Bishopric (lesser Priesthood supervisor) and the M.I.A. representative, whoa re usually very busy men elsewhere, may act as special advisors when the troop committee meets; and the three fathers may accept the regular assignment listed for troop committeemen in a preceding page of this Guide. By this arrangement a cooperative working basis is assured. The chairman of the troop committee should be appointed by the Bishop of the ward, and he is most likely to be one of the fathers chosen at large. This combined committee will plan the activity programs for these same quorums as they are outlined in the Vanguard and Scout programs respectively. They will also be responsible for the appointment of the Scoutmaster and his assistants.

“The scoutmaster must be a real man: given that, the problem is in a fair way to be solved. but the4 best of them must be helped. The troop committee, the institution back of the troop, these agencies must “hold up his hands” by cooperative service. It is not enough to wish him well, to say one’s prayer for his success. They must work with him, shoulder to shoulder, brain to brain, and heart to heart.

Scouting is not merely training boys to serve a community, it is also training a community to serve boys.” Reprint from Scoutmaster’s Hand Book.

Organization of Work

I. General Organization.

1. First man.

A. Chairman.
b. Personnel man.
c. District and council representative.
d. Treasurer.
e. Holder of troop property.

2. Second man.

a. Inspection and advancement.
b. Inspection of property and troop.
c. Moral standards and conduct.
d. All troop advancement.
e. Examiners and instructors.

3. Third man.

a. Activities and publicity.
b. All trips and hikes.
c. Rallies and banquets.
d. Transportation, etc.
e. Good turn program.
f. General publicity.

II. Detail Organization.

1. First man.

a. Keep troop committee and scoutmasters positions filled.

(1) Provide understudies where a change seems inevitable.
(2) Make a list of such available material.
(3) Provide substitute in absence of Scoutmaster.

b. Represent the troop in the district and council.

(1) the monthly district meeting.
(2) The annual council meeting.
(3) He must represent the council in his troop.

c. Troop Finances, property and meeting place.

(1) Initiate methods of financing: socials, shows, troop garden, sale of Xmas wreaths, waste paper and scrap iron, etc.
(2) Be active treasurer and hold all monies (council and National demand)
(3) Custodian of all troop property; Flags – books – equipment, etc.
(4) supervise troop budget plan.
(5) Plan for re-registration of the troop.

d. Call all troop business meetings.

(1) A business meeting once each month.
(2) Any special calls in emergencies.

2. Second man.

a. Inspection.

(1) A formal monthly inspection: Scouts – property – advancement – general program.
(2) encourage wearing official uniform by scouts with badges in place.

b. Keep a close check on conduct of troop members – trouble shooter.

(1) Follow up persistent cases of misconduct or poor advancement.
(2) Keep harmony between Scouts and other organizations.
(3) Check up on home conduct.
(4) Protect insignia and standards of program.

c. Troop Advancement.

(1) Maintain council maximum standards at least.
(2) Encourage troop participation in council competition.
(3) Assist with local point system.
(4) Secure merit badge library and make it available in local library.

d. Examiners and Instructors.

(1) Be responsible for all second class tests.
(2) Provide examiners to handle subjects too difficult for him.
(3) Assist in securing expert instructors.

3. Third man.,

a. Trips and Hikes.

(1) Must consult on all hikes or trips as to preparation, equipment, eats, leadership, conditions at destination, etc.
(2) Assist in mountain, day, overnight, week end, project hikes; also industrial hikes.
(3) Provide the necessary week in the out-of-doors.
(4) Work out annual pilgrimages.

b. Rallies and Banquets.

(1) guarantee troop participation in large council and district rallies.
(2) Institute troop rallies and demonstrations for parents; inter-patrol contests being featured.
(3) Develop an annual troop Banquet (Birthday dinner, etc.)

c. Transportation facilities.

(1) Secure a waiting list of available cars for trips, giving many a chance to do this service for the troop.

d. The Good Turns.

(1) Community – Home – Church.
(2) Special kindnesses to old, or poor, or sick families in the community.
(3) Clean-up days at the church.
(4) Good turn day at home.

e. Publicity.

(1) By his program to sell scouting to the community. he is publicity man. Take advantage of Anniversary week.

The Business Meeting

Held once each month at the call of the troop chairman.

Present: Troop Committee, Scoutmaster and assistants (not junior assistant scoutmasters.)

Order of Meeting:


Call meeting to order.
State purpose of meeting.
Report of finance and personnel.
Report of council or district recommendations.
Report of Inspector with recommendations.
Report by activities man with recommendations.

Scoutmaster’s report:

With problems.
Proposed program, etc.
Proposed projects for co-operation between the troop and quorums.
Motions and discussions in consideration of recommendations.
Very light refreshments if at a member’s home.
A quick exit.
Total time, thirty minutes.

Priesthood Supervisors and Scoutmasters

Since Scouting is to be the activity program for the priesthood quorums, and since the two programs are to be closely correlated, it is essential that there shall be close working relationship between the supervisors of the quorums and the leaders of the troops. In the first place a quorum leader who has no appreciation for the fraternal values in the program cannot hope to build up proper quorum morale; and likewise a Scoutmaster who neglects the spiritual leadership of his group can never hope to accomplish his objectives in character values. the leadership qualities required for either of these positions are nearly identical. In either instance the man must possess:

1. A real knowledge of each boy leader’s task.
2. Personal comradeship.
3. Non-interference as far as possible.
4. Constant watchfulness.
5. Patient sympathy for lads learning new lessons in leadership.
6. Check-up ability on all assignments and make every boy account for his trust.
7. Coaching ability with helpful suggestions.
8. Approval of every act worthy of approval.
9. Removal of leaders from wrong place and assignment to a place they can fill.

Working Plans

With the similarity of these two responsible positions in mind the two following plans of procedure are submitted to complete the working arrangement between these groups.

Plan No. 1

1. Two troops in the same ward and under the same troop committee: One troop to be known as a Vanguard troop, composed only of boys from the Teachers’ quorum, or boys not members of the Church whose ages correspond; the other troop to be known as a Scout troop with its membership made up of boys from the deacons’ quorum under Vanguard age and above 12 years of age.

2. Both troops under the direction of the same Scoutmaster who has either assistant in charge of one troop and a second assistant in charge of the other, or he may take charge of one troop himself and assign an assistant to the other. This same scoutmaster may be also the supervisor of the teachers’ and deacons’ quorums, with assistants for actual leadership in quorums.

3. Both quorum and Scout leaders to be commissioned officers in scouting – and it is strongly recommended that the Vanguard leader be also the leader of the teachers’ quorum and the Scout Leader be leader of the deacons’ quorum; but if the quorum leaders and the assistant scoutmasters are different persons, the assistant scoutmasters will be present during the quorum meetings of their respective age groups, and the quorum leaders will reciprocate by attending the Scout and Vanguard meetings respectively.

4. Deacons’ quorums to be divided into two patrols for Scouting, with the quorum president as patrol leader of one patrol and his first counselor as patrol leader of the other patrol. (The wishes of the group should be carefully considered when these officers are called and set apart for leadership.) Teachers’ quorums to be divided into four patrols, for Vanguard activity, with the teachers’ president as the senior patrol leader of that group, and patrol leaders chosen from each patrol by the will of the patrol members.

5. In extremely large wards, where facilities justify local council permission, this plan may even merit the appointment and commission of two Scoutmasters, one to lead the Vanguard program and another to lead the Scouts. This arrangement is entirely subject to Local Council permission before its adoption in any ward.

Plan No. 2

1. One troop in the ward with the same working arrangement between the scout leaders and the quorum leaders as plan No. 1.

2. Vanguards to meet with the scouts regularly but to assume special leadership assignments in the scout troop and also to carry on the Vanguard program in addition to the regular troop program; i.e., special vanguard hikes, socials, service and fellowship projects, and advancement objectives. Special Vanguard patrols should be organized within the troop for Vanguard membership.

3. Vanguards to organize themselves for orderly participation in special vanguard activities. The organization set up for these special activities, however, to lose its identity while they are participating in the regular troop program.


Faith is essential, but men should never be chosen for these positions of leadership merely because they are full of faith, or good men, or for many of the usual reasons given for such choice. In like manner a man who is interested in boys, or one who can tickle the lads with his funny stories and his clever stunts, may be the very one to avoid. A man who rules situations with a heavy hand for the sake of perfect discipline can never be successful with boys. The man who will succeed in boy leadership must:

1. Train himself for the job;
2. Like boys;
3. Be liked by the boys;
4. Be a good organizer and be able to delegate his authority successfully to boy leaders;
5. Make boys like to do things for him;
6. Building a purposeful program that will prove interesting as well as helpful;
7. Enter into the boys’ play;
8. Command the respect of the boys without asking for it;
9. Instill faith by his own example of living faith;
10. Be absolutely on the square at all times;
11. Be a man’s man to utilize the help of his troop committee;
12. Be a living example of the ideals he is trying to implant in the hearts of boys.

Once such a man is found he should be given every encouragement to succeed in this important mission among the potential leadership of the Church. He should not (at his first sign of success), be changed from this leadership position to some supposedly higher calling, for there is no higher calling than that of training the youth.



  1. I just scanned most of this. But the last section under Leadership is priceless. What a great description of a man and leader!

    Comment by Carol — July 6, 2012 @ 9:28 am

  2. Glad you pointed that out, Carol. It would make a good checklist for a leader of boys to post where he could read it regularly.

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — July 6, 2012 @ 12:52 pm

  3. Today, most scout leaders are called from the nexus of two groups – “have time” and “don’t violently dislike camping”.

    Comment by queuno — July 8, 2012 @ 9:36 am

  4. What a difference it would make to call real boy leaders!

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — July 8, 2012 @ 9:39 am

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