Stan’s EYO Scouting Blog #9: Duties and Responsibilities Unique to the Eleven-year-old Scout Leader

Stan Stolpe

Stan Stolpe

One of my more enjoyable duties is to not only write this monthly blog on the eleven-year-old (EYO) Scouting program, but also to answer questions from time to time. Recently an EYO Scout leader asked if the EYO Scout leader could conduct the Scoutmaster conference as an assistant Scoutmaster and sign merit badge cards. The answer is yes.

Most of the standard Scouting literature on this subject has these roles and responsibilities assigned to the Scoutmaster who may delegate these duties if the situation merits such. In The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the Scouting program operates differently. Latter-day Saint wards sponsor troops, but the troop supports two distinct organizations: the Primary and the Young Men organizations. In non-Latter-day Saint units, assistant Scoutmasters serve under the Scoutmaster. In Latter-day Saint units, the EYO assistant Scoutmaster serves under the Primary president. The Scouting Handbook for Church Units in the United States 2015, paragraph 6.2 states that, “Although they are part of the ward Scout troop, they function in their own patrol and operate under the direction of the ward Primary presidency. They can participate with the ward Boy Scout troop in occasional daytime activities as well as boards of review and courts of honor. . . .[and] overnight camps [which] may be held with the ward’s Boy Scout troop.”

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is chartered by National to operate somewhat differently than other Scout units. We do not have a Tiger program, boys are promoted to the next age-group programs on their birthdays, and EYO Scouts function as part of the Primary, not the Young Men organization. The EYO Scout leader is registered as the EYO Scout leader (an assistant Scoutmaster), but that is in part because there is only one registered Scoutmaster in a unit. The EYO Scout leader is the unit leader of Boy Scouting in the Primary.

At Scouting.org, (Scoutmaster Conference Training, page 1) the following is written about the Scoutmaster conference:

“Why does the Scoutmaster engage in this one-on-one review? The relationship between a Scout and his Scoutmaster is important for the troop’s health and for the Scout’s success. The Scoutmaster must watch the troop’s dynamics to see who is showing leadership, who is holding back, who is shy, who is working with the younger boys, who is skilled in outdoor activities, etc.”

In LDS units, the Scoutmaster for the troop cannot adequately do the above unless he is attending a majority of the EYO Scout meetings and outings. The only individual who is in attendance most of the time is the EYO Scout leader (who happens to be an ASM). The Scoutmaster should be fully engaged with the Aaronic Priesthood and put his energies into that program. The above reference goes on to state that the Scoutmaster conference CAN be delegated and in some instances is best delegated. So categorically, there is no prohibition against the EYO Scout leader (ASM) conducting the Scoutmaster conference.

To properly conduct a Scoutmaster conference, the adult leader should know the boy. The EYO Scout leader knows the boy, is working with his family, and is in the best position to conduct the conference. Because the EYO Scout leader knows the boy better, he is in a better position to effectively conduct the conference and tailor it to the individual boy. Reasons to have a Scoutmaster conference may include: a Scout’s lack of advancement, a perceived trouble between the Scout and others in the troop, a certain event at the last campout or troop meeting, and of course as part of the advancement requirement. The person who is in the best position to do this is the EYO Scout leader, not the Scoutmaster in the deacons program.

The EYO Scout program is a function of the Primary. The Scoutmaster’s role is under the direction of the Aaronic Priesthood. This is the proper order of things. These are two separate programs, and the YM do not have authority in the Primary. Thus, the EYO responsibility is not a Young Men responsibility; it is the responsibility of the Primary. The EYO Scout leader has the responsibility and the authority under the direction of the Primary president. Paragraph 6.4 of the Scouting Handbook again asserts this relationship by the following:

6.4 Leader of the Patrol of Eleven-Year-Old Scouts

Either the Primary teacher of 11-year-old boys or another capable adult may serve as the group’s Scout leader. This leader should:

1.  Work under the direction of a member of the Primary presidency and meet with her regularly to discuss the Scouting program and each boy’s progress.

2.  Register with the BSA as the eleven-year-old Scout leader.

3.  Attend the ward Scouting committee meetings.

4.  Attend Scout training as applicable.

5.  Attend other Primary meetings as invited.

6.  Help each boy achieve the Faith in God Award and advance in Scouting.

7.  See that the boys participate in a day camp, and help plan it if requested.

I believe this re-enforces the fact that members of the Young Men organization have neither the authority nor the responsibility over the EYO Scout program and, by design, the EYO Scout leader (and his assistant, also an ASM) has both the responsibility and authority to conduct the Scoutmaster conference (as well as sign blue cards) and is in the best position to do so.

One further note: Item 2 above (in the Scouting Handbook) indicates the adult registers as the eleven-year-old Scout leader (in the Adult Application he registers as the “leader of 11-year-old Scouts,” position code 10)—not as an ASM, although his assistant does register as an ASM. You will note that I address him as the EYO Scout leader as does the Scouting Handbook throughout (although the registration and responsibilities are those of an ASM). Nothing in the above, or elsewhere in the Scouting Handbook, extends a Scoutmaster’s responsibilities into the Primary.

As we move forward in Scouting I hope we keep in mind the order of things as organized by the Lord and His servants. We do operate in some areas differently than as described in standard BSA literature, and understanding those differences is important.

 

– Stan Stolpe has served in multiple Scouting positions at the unit, district, council, regional, and national levels in the U.S. and overseas. His current positions include district roundtable commissioner, district Cub Scout training chairman, and assistant Scoutmaster for a new Scout troop. He resides in Alexandria, Virginia, serving in the Mount Vernon Virginia Stake. The views and opinions expressed in this message are solely those of the author.

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  1. M Bayles says:

    If they don’t register as ASM but as “Leader of 11-year-old Scouts – code 10” then what training do they do? I was always having them register as ASM and completing that training.

    1. David Goldsberry says:

      The training for a Leader of 11-year-old Scouts is the same as the training for a Scoutmaster or ASM:

      Y01-Youth Protection Training
      S24-Scoutmaster Position-Specific Training
      S11-Introduction to Outdoor Leader Skills

    2. Stanley Stolpe says:

      David is exactly correct; they complete the training of a SM/ASM and go on to take Wood Badge.

  2. Dave Johnson says:

    A related question that I’ve been confused about is regarding the youth leadership responsibility in YM for EYO Scouts. The BSA training materials describe many mentoring responsibilities between the older scouts and a new scout patrol. Senior Patrol Leader and Troop Guide are good examples of that mentoring responsibility. Are those connections intended to be muted (or absent) in LDS troops since the EYO Scouts operate more independently than the new scout patrol in a non-LDS troop?

    1. Stanley STolpe says:

      Dave,
      It is one of the short comings of our system, in that we do not have the troop guides that other non-LDS units sometimes have. It is a challenge for the Primary. All the more the responsibility of the EYO Scout Leader to be an outstanding individual who dedicates himself to be a great priesthood role model as well as his assistant. I’ll write more on this next month.

      1. Steve Faber says:

        What if an LDS unit wants to try to run their scout troop like a normal, non-LDS troop, with Troop Guides, etc.? Can it be done? Should it be done, or is it doomed because of the “shortcomings of the system?” If it can/should be done, how do others do this? Are they able to coordinate efforts between the Primary and the Aaronic Priesthood? Do the stake Primary/YM have a pattern for this that they can set for the wards?

        And to make things more interesting, because scouting is nothing but interesting in the LDS church, how does a scoutmaster (Deacon’s Quorum Adviser/Asst. Adviser) compensate if the EYO leader/program in his unit is weak? Should we still try to have PLC with patrol leaders of both patrols (EYO and Deacons), even if the EYO adult leader is not interested/motivated? Should the scoutmaster seek out the camping opportunities for EYO scouts that they are missing out on if they don’t go camping?

  3. Dave Johnson says:

    Stan, I really enjoy your EYO Scout blog posts. I anxiously await each post. I feel like the EYO program is kind of mysterious and fits into the BSA training kind of awkwardly. Thanks. Your posts help.

    1. Stanley Stolpe says:

      Thank’s Dave. I appreciate that the messages I share with you are helpful and promote better Scouting. Thanks for all you are doing. It makes a difference. -Stan

  4. Glen says:

    Our ward, like many wards it seems, has two scout committees–one for the Boy Scout units and one for the Cub Scouts. In this case, which committee meeting would the 11 yr old leaders attend?

    1. Richard Macbeth says:

      11 yr old scout leaders meet and are chartered under the scout troop meet with the Scout Committee and the Primary counselor over 11 yr old scouts also meets and is part of the Scout Committee.

      1. Stanley Stolpe says:

        Richard is exactly correct. The Cub Scout Committee is generally not resourced or knowledgeable with the Scout program. The Scout committee is supposed to meet the needs of the EYO program. With a counselor from the Primary attending, she can report to the Primary president that all is well; or not so well. If things are not going well, the Primary president should report such to the Bishop for resolution.

  5. Jeanetta Nadeau says:

    Thanks a lot, this really is a truly awsome article! I need help with this too! You will be surprised how easy it can be to fill forms. Try filling a form through the online software. http://pdf.ac/8jrpTG

  6. Greg Lyman says:

    Any thoughts on how the new requirement (6 campouts) for first class will impact 11 year old scouts? Do you think the policy will end up changing?

    1. Greg Lyman says:

      Meaning the Church policy of only allowing 3 campouts for an 11 year old scout…

    2. Stanley Stolpe says:

      Greg,

      I think it will be a long time if ever that Scouting will go to 3 nights of camping for 1st Class. I believe that National took a look at the requirements and feed back from Scouters. I believe the analysis was that to be a First Class, 3 nights of camping was insufficient to solidify the skills they were to learn. I concur.

      The impact for LDS Scouting is that our program slows down some. I’m okay with that. It is not a race to First Class. It does mean that the YMs program needs to step up their program for rising EYO Scouts and to have a strong, outdoor program. I think it will also be difficult for inner city kids/units.

      Embracing change can be difficult. I believe if we use the program correctly, our YM in the end will be better Scouts.

      Stan

      1. Melanie Conlin says:

        Hi Stan! Can you help me please as I try to help a lone 11 yr old in a tiny branch–there is a CM and a SM. the boy likes to meet with the Cubs. Which leader can sign off his requirements and help him with scoutmaster conferences so he can advance as an eyo?

        1. Stanley Stolpe says:

          Melanie,

          This is a GREAT question. Actually, anyone can sign off requirements, but it is best that the SM designate someone to sign off the requirements. Since the Scout likes to meet with the Cubs, then I would have the SM designate the CM to sign off the requirement.

          When I was a SM, I had my Scouts who were First Class Scouts, sign off requirements of boys working on their First Class requirements.

          Another suggestion is to have the CM also register as an assistant SM in the Troop. That way he can also do SM conferences. If not, then the SM can do the conferences.

          I am truly fond of the idea that the Primary be self-contained when it comes to Scouting. But as a retired U.S. Marine, I have served in small branches that do not have the resources to fully staff all programs and I recognize that programs need to be adapted. I would maintain the integrity of the Primary separate from the Aaronic Priesthood as much as possible.

          The other possibility is to have one of the Primary Presidency register as an assistant SM and conduct the interviews. It would be a great chance to get to know the boy and get the boy to talk about himself.

          Hope these ideas work for you.

          Regards,

          Stan

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