Friday, June 14, 2013

Scouting is About Faith in God

Our founder, Lord Robert Baden-Powell said,

"The Scout, in his promise, undertakes to do his duty to his king and country only in the second place; his first duty is to God. It is with this idea before us and recognizing that God is the one Father of us all, that we Scouts count ourselves a brotherhood despite the difference among us of country, creed, or class. We realize that in addition to the interests of our particular country, there is a higher mission before us, namely the promotion of the Kingdom of God; That is, the rule of Peace and Goodwill on earth. In the Scouts each form of religion is respected and its active practice encouraged and through the spread of our brotherhood in all countries, we have the opportunity in developing the spirit of mutual good will and understanding.

"There is no religious "side" of the movement. The whole of it is based on religion, that is, on the realization and service of God.

"Let us, therefore, in training our Scouts, keep the higher aims in the forefront, not let ourselves get too absorbed in the steps. Don't let the technical outweigh the moral. Field efficiency, back woodsmanship, camping, hiking, Good Turns, jamboree comradeship are all means, not the end. The end is CHARACTER with a purpose.

"Our objective in the Scouting movement is to give such help as we can in bringing about God's Kingdom on earth by including among youth the spirit and the daily practice in their lives of unselfish goodwill and cooperation." source

(Video from here)

Clearly there is no religious preference in Scouting, all faiths, denominations, religions are welcome. However, when we talk about "Duty To God", a core tenant is a strong belief in and a commitment to God, our creator, a supreme being. As BP said above, "the one Father of us all".

That faith and commitment to God will guide a scouts actions, behaviors, goals, motivations and character.

I've been at camps, and even Wood Badge, when some people took issue with the display of certain religious observances. For instance the way a certain faith prays when called upon at meals. The result has sometimes been to "dilute" all faith observances for the sake of not offending any, and use generic camp songs in place of prayers.

A Scout is a friend to all, and as BP said,
"Our objective in the Scouting movement is to give such help as we can in bringing about God's Kingdom on earth by including among youth the spirit and the daily practice in their lives of unselfish goodwill and cooperation."
Therefore shouldn't we be encouraging a scout to be faithful to his God and his faith? Rather than making him feel embarrassed about it? Shouldn't we be teaching Scouts to be tolerant and encouraging of faith and honoring God?

Let us be anxiously engaged, as our founder was, in helping to bring about God's Kingdom on earth through daily observance and practice of our faith and Duty To God.

William D. Boyce Award: New Unit Organizer

As noted in my previous post, I've been asked to serve as a new Assistant Scoutmaster over the 11-year-old scouts in my Church's Scouting program. Not only is this new to me (LDS Units have slightly different policies around 11-year-old scouts and their participation in Scouting) but this is a new Church Unit (our ward was split) so we also are in the process of charting a new Pack, a new Troop, a new Team and a new Crew! Four new Units for the BSA! I love to see the Scouting program growing!

As a result, I'm educating our leadership and Charter Organization Rep (COR) about the William D. Boyce; New Unit Organizer award and thought I'd share the info here for those that don't know about it. Of course it doesn't hurt that Scouters can get a knew Knot and/or device for their uniform as well!

The packet, available here from the BSA, includes not only the award requirement information but some pretty comprehensive supporting documentation for those new to Scouting and/or starting up a new unit.

The requirements for earning the award are as follows:

1. Be assigned a new-unit prospect. Determine if the organization’s values are compatible with BSA values.
2. Make an appointment with the head of the organization to talk about Scouting.
3. Promote the benefits of Scouting during a presentation to the head of the organization. This
meeting should result in the organizational leader agreeing to charter a Scouting unit.
4. The organization officially adopts the Scouting program and appoints a chartered organization representative.
5. The organization representative appoints an organizing committee of three to five individuals. A BSA unit commissioner and district trainer are assigned to the committee.
6. The unit leadership is selected, approved, and recruited by the organization.
7. The unit leadership is trained with fast start and new leader essentials.
8. The BSA district trainer helps the unit committee and unit leader plan three to six months of programs.
9. The unit committee and unit leader hold an organizational meeting(s) to collect applications and fees.
10. The unit leader completes the paperwork and transmits the fees to the local council office.
11. Boys attend the new unit’s first meeting.
12. The BSA district trainer helps the unit commissioner conduct a charter presentation ceremony at a meeting of the organization.

I like to see people enthusiastic about Scouting, learning their duty, magnifying their calling, getting trained, and running the Scouting program the way this inspired program is meant to be run. I hope these resources will help you enthusiastically get new Scouting units up and running.

Good luck!