Mark Francis is the Director of LDS BSA Relationships, where he has worked for the past 5 years. He also serves on the High Council in his stake, where he is responsible for working with the Young Men and assists in all things Scouting. Mark was previously interviewed on Leading Saints in January, 2015. Mark’s position with the Boy Scouts of America has its roots in President David O. McKay’s request to the BSA that an employee be based in Salt Lake City and work with the Church.

Episode Summary & Highlights:

How is Scouting the activity arm of the Priesthood? Why do we do varsity and venturing? (10:32)

  • “Activity arm of the Priesthood” is no longer in any handbook
  • There are other activities, not just Scouting
  • Varsity (Teachers Quorum) and Venturing (Priests Quorum) allow the boys to take over as the leaders
  • Five Fields of Emphasis
    • High Adventure/Sports
    • Service
    • Personal Development
    • Advancement
    • Special Programs & Events
  • Varsity & Venturing is where shadow leadership really comes to life

Funding channels (19:10)

  • These are sacred funds and we need to be wise stewards.
  • Handbook 2 directs funding for activities (8.13.7) as follows:
    1. From ward budget
    2. If ward budget insufficient, we can ask particpants to pay for part or all
    3. Fundraising
  • Much too often we start with fundraising

Is Committee Chair a separate calling from Primary President? (22:10)

  • See Scouting Handbook section 4.3

Tips for maintaining continuity of records with consistent changes in leadership (24:50)

  • See Scouting Handbook sections 3.1, 4.1 and 4.3
  • Who are members of the committees?
    • Fathers and mothers – he recommends at least one parent of each scout be on the committee
    • Those of other faiths
    • A member of the bishopric
    • See Scouting Handbook section 4.3

If you have a functioning committee that is aware of what the boys want to do, the parents know since they are members of the committee.

Managing advancements, service projects, campouts, etc.? (30:00)

Friends of Scouting (35:50)

  • When: each council choosing when to do it (the majority of councils in the U.S. do this during the springtime)
  • Goals (36:43) are established through LDS-BSA Relationships Committee working with the Council
    • Many Councils now changing approach to invite all households to participate
  • How: Take it to the Ward Council and discuss
  • Funds raised stay within the local Council
  • Council Executive Board determine how to distribute funds–salaries, camps, training, etc.

If you feel frustrated, speak with your priesthood leader (51:30)

Mark related that President Owen, Young Men General President, has identified the following three priorities:

  1. We need to be with the boys
  2. Connect the boys to heaven
  3. Let the boys lead


Aaronic Priesthood

LDS-BSA Relationships

Scouting Handbook


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