Camping and other outdoor activities will still be part of the new resources designed to help girls and boys of the Church, according to a Sept. 21 email from the Church sent to ward and stake leaders and those called to work with youth.
“Camps and other outdoor activities will be an important part of gospel learning, building relationships and strengthening faith in Jesus Christ,” according to the email.
After announcing earlier this year on May 8 a change to existing programs — such as involvement in Boy Scouts, Faith in God, Duty to God, Activity Days and Personal Progress — the Church is developing a new initiative meant to help children and youth ages 8-18.
“We have been considering for many years how we can best meet the needs of a worldwide Church," said President M. Russell Ballard, Acting President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. "Our children and youth in every part of the world are so precious to us. We have a deep desire to help them strengthen faith in the Savior Jesus Christ and feel of His love.”
Elder Ronald A. Rasband of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, shared this message on Facebook on the morning of Sept. 21:
"As an Eagle Scout whose faith was strengthened by hearing the testimonies of inspired leaders around a campfire, I am thrilled that the new resources for older girls and boys, young women, and young men coming in 2020 will continue to feature camps and other outdoor activities as an important part of gospel learning, building relationships, and strengthening faith in Jesus Christ.
"Please take a moment to watch this video, in which President Russell M. Nelson and other leaders discuss the incredible future in store for our young people. I think you will see why there is so much reason for excitement about the upcoming changes."
Many have wondered what will be included in the new resources.
"As I’ve talked to youth leaders around the Church, I’ve been asked so many questions about the new youth initiative the Church is developing," said Sister Bonnie H. Cordon, Young Women general president, in a Facebook post. "Will camps still be a part of it? Will outdoor activities still exist? Will youth still have fun? The answer is a resounding YES!
"As we work on this new initiative, we want you to feel confident that the youth of the Church will continue to have the resources and experiences that they need to develop life skills, build character, fulfill their roles as God’s children, and, of course, have fun."
Children and youth may participate in Primary day camps, Young Women camps, Young Men camps, and high adventure activities, according to the email.
"Local leaders, youth and parents will identify and provide outdoor activities that invite spiritual experiences and meet the needs of their children and youth.”
Other types of activities will be part of the new resources as well, including an emphasis on activities determined by Church leaders.
“Activities will be based on needs rather than requirements,” according to the email. “Weekday activities, outdoor adventures, and youth conferences will continue as a vital part of helping children and youth learn, develop friendships, serve and strengthen faith in Jesus Christ.”
Changes will come beginning in January 2020 but, until then, Church leaders have asked that children and youth remain fully engaged in their existing programs.
The new resources are “designed to help all girls and boys, young women and young men ages 8-18 build faith in Jesus Christ, build character and resilience, develop life skills, and fulfill their divine roles as daughters and sons of God,” according to the email.
Additional information, including a video from Church leaders, will be available on the Church’s website — childrenandyouth.lds.org — and will be updated as more information is available.