Church to replace youth programs with new "Children and Youth"

SALT LAKE CITY — A new program called “Children and Youth” will replace the The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Boy Scouts and Young Women’s Personal Progress programs.

The Church owned Deseret News reported the change on Wednesday.

The publication reported that the new program will start on Jan. 1, 2020, for those congregations worshiping in the following languages: English, Spanish, Portuguese, American Sign Language, Cantonese, Cebuano, French, German, Hiligaynon, Ilokano, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Mandarin, Russian, Samoan, Tagalog and Tongan.

On March 1, 2020, “Children and Youth” will be presented to congregations worshiping in the following languages: Albanian, Arabic, Armenian, Bislama, Bulgarian, Cambodian, Croatian, Czech, Danish, Dutch, Estonian, Fijian, Finnish, Greek, Haitian, Hungarian, Indonesian, Kekchi, Kiribati, Latvian, Lithuanian, Malagasy, Malay, Marshallese, Mongolian, Norwegian, Polish, Romanian, Swahili, Swedish, Tahitian, Thai, Ukrainian and Vietnamese.

According to the Deseret News, acting president of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, President M. Russell Ballard will explain the new initiative during a broadcast scheduled for Sept 29. Elder Gerrit W. Gong, of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles plans to host a Face to Face broadcast about the new “Children and Youth” on Nov. 17.

“The principles taught in this effort for children and youth represent a higher, holier way to encourage the rising generation to follow Jesus Christ and apply his gospel in all areas of their lives,” the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve Apostles say in a statement in a guidebook to the program. “This major effort will include gospel learning, the privilege of service, personal development, and exciting activities.”

The Church’s Young Women’s program will continue without Personal Progress and Faith in God for Girls. The Church plans to discontinue Scouting, Duty to God or Faith in God for the boys’ programs.

In the meantime, girls and boys have until the end of this year to finish their progress in the former programs.

“For example, girls can complete Personal Progress and receive their Young Womanhood Recognition by then, as can boys who want to finish the Duty to God program. Children in the Primary program can complete the Faith in God program by then, too. Exceptions can be made for those who need additional time. The awards will be available for order until March 1, 2020,” said the Deseret News.

Those young people wanting to continue with Scouting are encouraged to do so through other local community organizations.

“The goal of the new initiative is to deepen conversion through gospel learning, personal development and service and activities. It is based on the church’s renewed emphasis on home-centered, church-supported learning, which has led to major changes, including a new church-wide curriculum for Sunday School and other classes and more family gospel study in place of one hour of Sunday meetings,” said the newspaper.

Plans call to release a new mobile app called “Gospel Living” by the end of the year to help support the new program. It’s expected the app will help young people “continue to live Christ-centered lives through inspiring content, reminders, personal goals and more,” reported the Deseret News.

More information on the change will be made available in October, it said.

“That release will also include information on uniformity and adaptation. One known goal of the initiative is to equalize experiences for girls and boys. Another is to equalize them for youth and children in North America and around the world. At the same time, leaders also are being encouraged to adapt the resources to local needs and customs,” it said.

Guidebooks will be available to various church wards and branches in November and December.

The Deseret News reports that the goal of the program change is to help Church members deepen their conversion to the Gospel through personal development, service and activities.

“It is based on the church’s renewed emphasis on home-centered, church-supported learning, which has led to major changes, including a new church-wide curriculum for Sunday School and other classes and more family gospel study in place of one hour of Sunday meetings,” it said.

For more information on the changes, visit ChildrenandYouthLeaders.ChurchofJesusChrist.org. The site includes information for parents and children to use.