Latter-day Saints Family participating in SDIC Scouting Programs

On January 1, 2020, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS) formally commenced a new Personal Development program for Children and Youth. The introduction of the Parents and Leaders guide states: "Working together, parents and leaders help children and youth deepen their conversion, become worthy disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ, and become men and women of integrity."

Participation in Scouting can be a part of the goals set by LDS children and youth. The images below demonstrate how a youth or child participating in the new Church program can select Scouting activities in the areas of Spiritual, Social, Physical and Intellectual. As always, the values of Scouting combined with the teachings of the Church can help our children and youth stay focused on the Savior, develop resiliency, and "become men and women of integrity."

In the September 2019 issue of the Ensign, there are several articles related "Raising Resilient Children". In an article titled "Resilience - Spiritual Armor for Today's Youth", Elder Robbins describes the need to strengthen our youth so they are more likely to finish a tough first year of college, or complete a full term of missionary service.

Resiliency can come through doing hard things, such as meeting a demanding work schedule while attending High School, or trying new things, such as mastering a musical instrument or team sport. Inherent in the Scouting process are many opportunities to develop resiliency, such as completing a week-long backpacking trip, or navigating the process to become an Eagle Scout. Completing four years of seminary will help our youth develop resilient testimonies of Jesus Christ and His restored Church.

Scout Units for LDS Families

  • Troop 702 - Supported by Latter-day Saint families of the Vista, Carlsbad and Escondido Stakes who are passionate about the Scouting program and the legacy it creates for stronger youth, families, and community. With FUN activities, camping, hiking, service projects, and Vanguard (LDS) religious awards we help build tomorrow's leaders. Meetings are held at "The Barn" in Vista. The troop meets every Thursday night at 7 PM at The Barn, 760 Taylor Street, Vista CA, 92084. Se Habla Espanol. Contact Scoutmaster Eric Gemmell via email.
  • Troop 1820 - Supported by Latter-day Saint Families of the Peñasquitos and Poway Stakes. Contact Scoutmaster Robert OBarr via email.
  • Troop 1886 - Supported by Latter-day Saint Families of the Chula Vista and Sweetwater Stakes. Contact Greg & Sharon Storey.

Over the years many LDS families have participated in Scouting with local community Cub packs and Scouts BSA troops. You can easily find a welcoming Scout unit near your home at

Or if you are interested in organizing a new Cub pack or Scouts BSA troop own your own, then feel free to contact us for assistance.

LDS Religious Scouting Awards

With special authorization from the Church, Vanguard International Scouting Association was organized in early 2020 to represent LDS Families around the world who desired to continue their participation in Scouting. This group will organize LDS Scouting cohorts and exhibitions and ongoing national and international jamborees.

Another important project of Vanguard is the distribution of a new set of LDS Scouting Religious Awards known as the Light & Truth Award for Cub Scouts and the Vanguard Award for older Scouts and adults. This award includes many religious activities to help today's youth set and pursue noteworthy goals just as intended by the Church's new Children and Youth Initiative. More information about this activity can be found at

Special Interests

Scouting provides many other FUN learning and character-building activities that would be of particular interest to families of the LDS faith. These include merit badges for Genealogy, Family Life, Music, Public Speaking and Gardening. Many families enjoy exploring the original route of the Historic Mormon Battalion Trail with the valuable lessons taught there to early church pioneers.

The chart below shows the many ways various Scouting activities can help families pursue the ideals of the Children and Youth Initiative.

Notable SDIC LDS Scouts & Leaders

  • Carlos Amezcua – Notable San Diego TV Newscaster for many years whose family ancestry includes some of the earliest settlers of San Diego in the 17th Century. After earning his Eagle Scout rank with a local San Diego LDS Scouts BSA Troop, he went on to serve a church mission, graduate from BYU and become a famous news anchor with first KSL-TV in Salt Lake City and then with KUSI-TV in San Diego.
  • Dr. Dick Preece – He was recently awarded a special recognition for 75 years of service to the Boy Scouts of America that started way back and as a young Cub Scout in Idaho. His career as a dentist in the U.S. Navy that took him all over the world, but wherever he is at he quickly volunteered to help with the local Scouting and church youth programs, gaining him many friends and much respect with civic, Scouting and church leaders.
  • Gemmell Family – Alex and Becky Gemmell saw all six of their sons earn the rank of Eagle Scout through Troop 715 in Vista. This accomplishment was the subject of a special feature in the San Diego Union-Tribune. Today two of their sons are active Scout leaders; Eric is a long-time Scoutmaster for Troop 702 in Vista and Keith is a Cub Scout leader in Moreno Valley.
  • Nathan Graff – This young man from Carlsbad Stake advanced from Scouts BSA into Sea Scouts serving important leadership capacities with Ship 789 of Santa Margarita Yacht Club. This valuable Scouting experience helped him secure a full scholarship into officer school of the United States Coast Guard Academy.
  • Trevor Bender – An Eagle Scout from troop 710 of the Vista Stake who has served in many leadership roles in the Church and local Scouting. Through his Scouting journey he has been active in several programs including service as a Webelos Den Leader, Scoutmaster, Varsity Coach and Venturing Crew Advisor at the unit level. Today he serves as both Council Commissioner for SDIC and Elders Quorum President in the LDS Vista 5th Ward. And not only does he serve in other civic and professional organizations, but he is also an award-winning board game designer.