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Church gears up for new youth program replacing Boy Scouts, Personal Progress

Avery Beeson and Rebecca Adams attend a youth meeting with President Russell M. Nelson of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Phoenix on Sunday, Feb. 10, 2019. Credit: Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News, Deseret News
BYU-Idaho students arriving to the iCenter to get to Devotional on Spring Semester. May 2018 Credit: Ericka Sanders, BYU-Idaho, BYU-Idaho
Members of the Vancouver Tri-State Youth Choir sing before President Russell M. Nelson of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints speaks at the Langley Events Center in Langley, British Columbia, on Sunday, Sept. 16, 2018. Credit: Kristin Murphy, Deseret News, Deseret News
Latter-day Saint youth in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire, give Sister Jean B. Bingham, Relief Society general president (right), and Sister Bonnie H. Cordon, Young Women general president, a traditional greeting, Saturday, March 9, 2019.
Sister Elaine S. Dalton wants Young Women leaders to prepare spiritually so they can strengthen Latter-day Saint youth, above, as they participate in youth conferences, camps, treks or in cultural events. Give them ‘some more’ opportunities to feel the Sp Credit: Intellectual Reserve, Inc.
Latter-day Saint youth study together in Uruguay. Leaders of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints share information about new children and youth initiative, which will begin in 2020.
Latter-day Saint youth participate in a class discussion at church. Leaders of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints share information about new children and youth initiative, which will begin in 2020. korene knight
Church leaders have asked Latter-day Saint youth to engage in the work of salvation. When youth choose to stand for truth and righteousness, they become powerful emissaries in the cause of Christ, leaders say. Credit: Intellectual Reserve, Inc.

Church leaders are moving forward on a new global initiative for children and youth that will begin in 2020.

The initiative will provide children, youth, families and leaders personalized opportunities to grow spiritually, socially, physically and intellectually through activities, service, gospel learning and goal-setting, according a senior leader of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

“This is going to be an exciting, wonderful enhancement to everything we have done before,” said Elder Ronald A. Rasband of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. “This new initiative is not only going to point them all to our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, it’s going to give opportunities for large gatherings and personal development through goals and achievement of goals.”

On May 8, 2018, the First Presidency announced that a new initiative is being developed to replace existing children and youth programs within the Church, including Boy Scouts of America, Personal Progress, Duty to God and Faith in God.

“For years, Church leaders have been preparing a new initiative to teach and provide leadership and development opportunities to all children and youth, to support families, and to strengthen youth everywhere as they develop faith in our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ,” stated the First Presidency in the May announcement.

The new initiative will allow local leaders and families to customize their weekday activities, service opportunities, camps and other outdoor activities to meet the needs of children and youth rather than prescribed requirements.

The new initiative is being tested in locations around the world. “It kind of brings every aspect to be more spiritual and closer to Heavenly Father,” said Meribelle Long, a young woman who has been participating in the initiative. “We can bring school activities or other activities — sports, art classes, music — it kind of ties it all together.

Members of the Vancouver Tri-State Youth Choir sing before President Russell M. Nelson of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints speaks at the Langley Events Center in Langley, British Columbia, on Sunday, Sept. 16, 2018.Church leaders announced the 2020 youth theme in a notice sent to general and local leaders on Aug. 1, 2019.
Leaders of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints share information about new children and youth initiative, which will begin in 2020. | Credit: Kristin Murphy, Deseret News, Deseret News

“We want to see who you want to become, who you desire to become, and what you desire your life to look like,” said Debbie Angelos, a Young Women president. “I think offering them that freedom helps them feel the responsibility of it but also makes them feel that this is their choice.”

Amie Heap, a Young Women president, said: “You can determine your spiritual and temporal destiny and your ability to access the power of the Savior’s Atonement and to follow Him in His example.”

Elder Rasband said Church leaders “are thrilled with what we are learning and so excited in the future of this new initiative.”

“It focuses on what really matters, helping our children and youth discover their eternal identity and develop skills and talents unique to them,” he added. “As the Church continues to grow and the world continues to change, the time is right for a simplified, personalized approach to helping children and youth.”

Details about the global initiative for children and youth will be shared at ChildrenAndYouth.ChurchofJesusChrist.org as the implementation date approaches.

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