Saturday, June 30, 2012

How can we make people of all faiths comfortable in Scouting?

At my first Cub Scout roundup for Pack 704, there was one father and son who waited until the end, and wanted to know if it was OK to join the pack, because they were Muslim. I hate to think that people of other faiths felt so out of place they felt the need to ask permission before joining us. 

I know, and you know that the BSA welcomes all faiths, but how good of a job are we doing as scouters displaying that message? Let's face it, the Scouting community is largely populated by Christians, probably more heavily than the general US population. 

If you look at the list of Chartered Organizations for the BSA, You will see a trend... From Largest to Smallest, it goes LDS (Mormon), Methodist, Catholic, Presbyterian, Baptist, Episcopal.... You have to get down to # 16 on the list before you see a non-Christian faith.

The problem isn't that so many Christians are involved in Scouting. That's a great thing, and I wish there were more churches involved in Scouting. The problem is that to many non-Christians, they do not feel comfortable in Scouting.
What are some ways that we can reach out and demonstrate to the community that we are open to all faiths?  

Friday, June 29, 2012

Jewish Religious Emblems

The National Jewish Committee on Scouting sponsors 4 youth awards, and 1 adult award. More information on each of these can be found at their website.

Maccabee Award - Tiger Cubs
Aleph Award - For Cub Scouts and Webelos
Ner Tamid for Boy Scouts and Venturers
Etz Chaim - For Older Boy Scouts and Venturers (14+)
Shofar - For Adult Leaders

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Chartered Organization Representative

If you have been around Scouting very long, you have probably heard the term: "Chartered Org Rep" or "COR". This person is supposed to be the main contact person for scouting within the chartering Organization. They would work with Packs, Troops or Crews.

First, let me give you the Official BSA version of what this position is about, then I'll make some observations.

Chartered Organization Representative

The chartered organization representative is the direct contact between the pack and the chartered organization. This individual is also the organization's contact with the district committee and the local council. The chartered organization representative may become a member of the district committee and is a voting member of the council. If the chartered organization has more than one unit, one representative serves them all.

Qualifications: Is at least 21 years old, subscribes to the Declaration of Religious Principle, and agrees to abide by the Scout Oath or Promise and the Scout Law. Possesses the moral, educational, and emotional qualities that the Boy Scouts of America deems necessary to afford positive leadership to youth. Is a member of the chartered organization other than the unit leader or assistant unit leader. Is appointed by the chartered organization to serve as its official Scouting representative and is registered as an adult leader of the BSA.

Responsibilities: The chartered organization representative's responsibilities are to
  • Help select the right leadership for the unit.
  • Encourage unit leaders and committee members to take training.
  • Promote well-planned unit programs.
  • Serve as a liaison between the units and the organization.
  • Organize enough units.
  • Promote the recruiting of new members.
  • See that boys transition from unit to unit.
  • Help with the charter renewal.
  • Suggest Good Turns for the organization.
  • Encourage the unit committee to hold meetings.
  • Cultivate organization leaders.
  • Encourage outdoor program activities.
  • Emphasize advancement and recognition.
  • Utilize district help and promote the use of district personnel and materials.
  • Use approved unit finance policies.
  • Encourage recognition of leaders.
  • Cultivate resources to support the organization.
  • Represent the organization at the council level.
As with many BSA positions and responsibilities, It doesn't always match what what happens in the real world. Many units have no Chartered Org Rep, or  have one on paper only because it is required for rechartering.

Even among those few Chartered Org Reps who are involved with their units, I know of none other than myself who are active within District or Council Committees.

The Biggest role that I see for a COR is to be a link between the Church and the Scouts. That means helping the scouts find service projects to benefit the church, and finding volunteers within the church to work with the scouts. Someone has to be up there with a bullhorn on Sunday Mornings, trumpeting the good stuff the scouts are doing... And also, making the families in the scout unit know that they are welcome to come to any of the church's non-scouting events.

One other Note: the Chartered Org Rep is one of the few positions that can legitimately be dual registered in a unit. They can simultaneously be a Committee Chair, or Committee Member, while being the Chartered Org Rep.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Scheduling and Worship Services

Quite frequently, Sunday Morning on a camping trip is a race to get everything packed up and ready to go as fast as humanly possible. By then, most of us are working on their third day since a shower, and are ready to get home ASAP.

I know for my most recent Pack Camping trip, this was the case, and it was also the case in the Webelos Resident Camp I attended with my Son. They wanted us out ASAP so that they could get the troops in campsites for the first week of Boy Scout Camp.

In both cases, the decision was made to still have a scouts own service of some kind, but in both cases, it was moved to Saturday Night before the campfire.

How does your Pack or Troop handle this sort of thing?

Monday, June 25, 2012


The 10th point of the scout law: A Scout is Brave.

A Scout can face danger although he is afraid. He has the courage to stand for what he thinks is right even if others laugh at him or threaten him.

Psalm 27:1
The LORD is my light and my salvation; Whom shall I fear? The LORD is the strength of my life; Of whom shall I be afraid?

Isaiah 41:13
For I am the LORD, your God, who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you.

Matthew 5:10-12
Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
Bravery is not merely the ability to be calm in the face of danger, it is also the ability to stand fast in your beliefs when the world around you treats them with mockery and scorn. Your scouts will face this attack on their bravery many more times in their life than they might from a physical threat.

(P.S. Sorry, this post was supposed to go out on Sunday, with the rest of my Scout Law Series.)

Saturday, June 23, 2012

What to do when Scouts Curse?

One thing that Scout leaders may need to deal with is scouts using inappropriate language. What are some good ways to deal with that?

Bryan on Scouting has some great tips, including the following.

  • “I simply say ‘Different Word.’ I can’t remember a time when the Scout didn’t stop and correct himself. It must be working because I was having an issue backing up the Scout trailer one trip and slipped with a ‘Da**.’ I heard three Scouts, in unision, from the back of the truck say ‘Different Word.‘”
  • “There is a code of ethics that the Scout reads and signs before they join the troop. Foul language is in the code of ethics. There is a three-strikes-you’re-out rule. So far this really hasn’t been an issue.”
Scouting Magazine also recommended some other techniques.
  •  Consistency through example and explanation has been helpful in our unit. Over the years, our adult Scouters have worked hard to set the example in both language and action. This has filtered into the actions of our junior leaders and the troop as a whole. When a young Scout uses inappropriate language, we’ll quickly remind him that “with more than 250,000 words in the English language” he can find a more appropriate way to express himself. 
  •  I have sat down with a child, one on one, and handed him a notebook. I explain that neither of us will get up from the table until he writes a three-paragraph essay in which he defines the offensive word he used, explains what he believes others hearing his language think and feel about what he said, and describes how he believes his parent or guardian would react to hearing the offensive language from him. I don’t usually have to do this with a child more than once.
 What techniques have you run across that work well for you?

Friday, June 22, 2012

Interfaith Calendar

One of the Things that my Cub Scout Pack does every year is to plan out our calendar of events, in an annual planning calendar.

We go and get a copy of the local School System's calendar, community calendars, for us the Schedule of Nascar Races at the local speedway is important, because so many families have jobs either in the racing or hospitality industry that will be impacted on those weekends.

If your scout group encompasses people of several faiths, when you plan these things out, be sure to check for major religious events among those various faiths when planning.

One resource I found was the Interfaith Calendar which has religious observances from multiple faiths around the world. It's a great starting point, and note that the items in Bold type are generally the most important dates, although even minor ones may be mentioned.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Venturing TRUST Award

The Venturing Program has 3 different Expert Level awards that can be earned by youth before their 21st birthday.  The Ranger Award deals with Outdoor Skills, the Quest Award deals with Fitness and Sports, and the TRUST Award is directly related to one's faith and community involvement.

TRUST is an acronym that stands for Tending your beliefs/faith, Respecting the beliefs of others, Understanding other cultures, Serving your community, and Transforming our society; one of each corresponds to the five sections of requirements.

I have copied the following requirements from

TRUST Award Requirements

Complete the five sections of requirements found in the TRUST Handbook; complete a crew review and TRUST presentation.
I. Tending Your Beliefs
This section focuses on your own personal beliefs and religious journey and must be completed before proceeding to the other four sections.
Complete the following:
1. Earn the Religious and Community Life Bronze Award.
2. Receive the religious emblem appropriate to your age and religious affiliation. This requirement is option No. 1 among the requirements for the Religious and Community Life Bronze Award. If completed for that award, it counts here, too. If your religion does not offer a religious emblem program such as those in the Duty to God brochure, No. 05-879D, then you may complete a similar program of religious discovery suitable to both your Advisor and your religious leader.
3. Visit with your religious leader and discuss your beliefs and why you accept those beliefs. Compare your personal beliefs with those formally accepted by your religion. Following this discussion, write an essay explaining your beliefs and review it with your religious leader and your crew Advisor. Make a 15- to 20-minute presentation (discussion, video, slideshow, etc.) to your crew or another youth group explaining your beliefs.
4. Explain the Venturing Oath and the Venturing Code in your own words. Explain how they have an effect on your daily life, your life goals, and how you live your life as a part of your community.
II. Respecting Beliefs of Others
This section focuses on freedom of religion in the US and learn about religions other than your own in your community.
Complete the following:
1. Talk with a history/social studies teacher, attorney or other legal professional, or other knowledgeable adult about the U.S. Bill of Rights, and especially about the concept of freedom of religion. What did this concept mean to our founding fathers? What does this concept mean today? What limitations have been imposed on this freedom? What happens when freedom of religion and freedom of speech clash with each other? Hold a discussion (not debate) about freedom of religion with members of your crew.
2. Find out what religious groups are worshipping in your community, and whether they have been there for generations or whether they are relatively new to the community. Talk to at least five adults in your community about the impact various religions have on your community. Report your findings to your crew.
3. Complete one of the following:
a. Pick one of the religions listed on page 21 of the TRUST Handbook (other than your own). After extensive research on the selected religion, present a report to your crew or other youth group (such as a troop, crew, religious group, or school group). The report should detail the history of the religion, its modern application as a religion, and important historical events. Also include information about where and how the religion is commonly practiced.
b. Attend a religious service/gathering/festival of one of the religions listed on page 21 of the TRUST Handbook (other than your own religion). Attend with a parent, Advisor, or religious professional. Write about your experience and how it relates to the thoughts and practices of the religion. Compare the basic tenets expressed in the religious service/gathering/ festival with those of your own religion.
c. Meet with two youth working on a religious emblem approved by the BSA (found on page 62 and 63 of the TRUST Handbook) (not your own religion). These young people can be members of the Boy Scouts of America, Girl Scouts of the USA, or any other youth organization. Discuss with them their current religious journey.
d. Contact an official in an inter-religious organization (interfaith coalition, council of churches, etc.). Discuss how religious tolerance is important in both local and global issues.
e. Attend an inter-religious festival and talk with two people from another religion (from the list on page 21 of the TRUST Handbook) about the similarities and differences between your religion and theirs. Report your findings to your religious leader.
III. Understanding Other Cultures
This section focuses on the historical significance of cultures in the US and study one cultural group in detail.
Complete the following:
1. Learn about the culture you most identify with. Talk to relatives or other knowledgeable individuals to learn about your family history, cultural identity, and family identity.
2. Attend two cultural events (each of these events should represent a different culture and should highlight the history and uniqueness of that culture). Supplement the information you learned at the events with research on the culture in today's global society. Compare these two events and their cultures with your own culture. Report on your findings to your crew or another youth organization.
3. Invite an adult and a youth from another culture to speak to your crew about their culture. Alternately, interview two people who were born outside the United States who have immigrated to your community or a nearby one (foreign exchange students may also fulfill this role). In either case, discuss with them why they decided to come to the United States and to your community. Discuss the differences in community between where they live now and where they lived before they emigrated.
(For Venturers living outside the United States, modify this requirement for the country in which you reside. For example, a Venturer living in Japan would interview someone not of Japanese origins who immigrated to Japan.)
4. Complete one of the following:
a. Take (and successfully pass) a course that includes study of cultural diversity.
b. Research and present your findings about an inter-religious/ intercultural conflict affecting the world in historical or current times. Include how the conflict started and ended (if not an ongoing conflict). Explore both causes and effects of the conflict, including those in the current day. Include general information about all the cultures and religions involved in the conflict.
c. Research a cultural group (other than your own) that has had an impact on the U.S. melting pot. When did they begin to arrive? In what ways have they had an influence on the United States? On your community? Where have they settled (primarily); why? Report on your findings to your crew or youth group.
d. Meet with your council Scoutreach/urban/rural executive to learn which Scoutreach programs are being used in your area and why. Learn about BSA resources designed for specific, cultural groups, and how they may differ from the resources you are familiar with.
IV. Serving Your Community
In this section, complete a community service project and learn about organizations in your community that serve youth.
Complete the following:
1. Plan and carry out a service project to better your local community. This project should be carried out in conjunction with an established community service agency, such as those listed on pages 34-36 of the TRUST Handbook (and cannot be the same project used for option No. 5 of the Religious and Community Life Bronze Award). Involve at least five other Venturers or youth in carrying out the project. The project should be well thought out and lasting in its effects. Use the Eagle or Quartermaster Service Project booklet as a guideline (available free from your local council office). Be sure this project is reported to your council as part of the Good Turn for America campaign.
2. Meet with a member of your local government. Discuss how the community governs itself on matters such as zoning, taxes, education, religion, and acceptable behavior. Report your findings to your crew or another youth group. Lead or participate in a discussion on ideas to change your community for the better.
3. Complete one of the following:
a. Organize a community safety program. Options include a community watch program, a latchkey program, or other program to encourage safety in your community. This cannot be the same project used for requirement No. 1 above.
b. Work with your local chapter of the Alpha Phi Omegaservice fraternity. Participate in a significant percentage of service opportunities for one semester. Discuss with the fraternity adviser how to increase cooperation between the group and the local BSA council, and between the group and other student organizations at your college.
c. Serve as an active member in a high school or college community service organization. Participate in a significant percentage of service projects for a six-month period. Explore ways to increase the participation of your organization in service opportunities, as well as ways to increase the membership of the organization. Report on how the group benefits the community.
d. Become a volunteer first aid or swimming instructor or swimming aide with the American Red Cross or a similar organization. Teach first aid or swimming at least four times in a six-month period. Explore other volunteer opportunities with that organization. Report on your experiences at the end of this time, especially how the community benefits from the organization and from your volunteerism.
e. Participate for six months as an active volunteer with any other community service agency approved by your Advisor. Examples are therapy or guide dogs, food pantries, hospital aides, etc. Report on your experiences at the end of this time, especially how the community benefits from the organization and from your volunteerism.
V. Transforming Our Society
This section focuses on counseling skills, conflict resolution, peace and reconciliation, and how to apply them in your own life.
Complete the following:
1. Take part in a counseling skills training session of at least eight total hours. Examples include peer counseling, suicide or abuse hotlines, and first-contact training programs, and may be provided by local service agencies/hotlines or by local government divisions. Tell your crew what you learned and how you plan to put your knowledge into action.
2. Discover (through research, discussions with teachers or community leaders) what addictions are having a negative effect on your local community (such as alcohol, drugs, tobacco, gambling, pornography, etc.). Pick one of these and find out what local resources are available to deal with the problem. Talk to a counselor who deals with this issue, and tell your crew how this issue is affecting the community in which you live.
3. Lead or actively participate in at least four Ethical Controversies within a six-month period. These may be at the unit, district, or council level within Venturing, or at a youth event attended by members of several churches or religious institutions. These controversies cannot be the same as those used for the Religious and Community Life Bronze Award requirement No. 10.
4. Complete one of the following:
a. Attend a meeting of your local board of education or city/ community council, or a session of court (any level open to public observation). Find one issue that has generated dissent or conflict, and observe how this conflict is dealt with. Follow the issue to its resolution, even if this means attending more meetings. Give a presentation to your crew or other youth group on how conflict was resolved in this case.
b. Visit and tour a correctional facility. Talk to a correctional facility chaplain about his/her responsibilities and experiences. Ask the chaplain for stories of success/transformation that have helped former inmates become contributing members of society.
c. Compare counseling degree programs at four different colleges or universities. Include one large public university and one small religiously based college. Look at both the types of degrees offered and the course work required for those degrees. Compare especially the religious components of such degrees.
d. Study the document "Scouts and Peace" prepared by the World Organization of the Scout Movement (see page 39 in the TRUST Handbook). Lead a discussion with your crew about the document and how Scouts can be involved in world peace. Then prepare a 10-minute presentation on the document and give it to a Boy Scout or Girl Scout troop.
VI. Crew review
VII. TRUST presentation

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Venturing Religious and Community Life Bronze Award

The Venturing Program allows scouts to earn a Bronze Award in multiple Categories, including Sports, Arts and Hobbies, Outdoors and Sea Scouting. The one most relevant to this blog is the Religious and Community Life Bronze Award.

There are 12 Requirements that a Venturing Scout must do. All this is copied from

12 requirements from the 2006 TRUST Handbook

To complete the Religious and Community Life Bronze Award, do nine of the following. (Activities or projects that are more available in your area may be substituted with your Advisor’s approval for activities described below.)
  1. Religious emblem. Receive a religious emblem appropriate for your age and religious affiliation.
  2. Community service.
    a. Serve as a volunteer with a community organization for at least three months.
    b. Keep a journal of your experiences and how they affect your thoughts on community.
    c. After the three months, share your experiences and how you feel about your service and what it means to be a part of your community with others.
  3. Religious service.
    a. Serve as a volunteer in your place of worship for at least three months.
    b. Keep a journal of your experiences and how they affect your religious beliefs.
    c. After the three months, share your experiences and how you feel about your service and your religious beliefs with others.
  4. Cultural diversity.
    a. Participate in a discussion about cultural diversity with your crew, religious youth group, or other appropriate group.
    b. Make a presentation or tabletop display using the information you learned in the discussion.
    c. Invite someone from a different cultural background from yours and the majority of your crew's members to give a presentation on a subject of his or her choosing.
  5. Service project. Plan and lead a service project such as helping to build a Habitat for Humanity house, participating in a community cleanup project, or taking on a fix-up project for a nursing home or daycare facility.
  6. Religious retreat. Go on a religious retreat or religious trek lasting at least two days.
  7. Religious/ethical play. Produce or be a cast member in some type of entertainment production with a religious or ethical theme, such as a play, a puppet show, or concert for a group such as a children's group, retirement home, homeless shelter, or Cub Scout or Boy Scout group.
  8. Youth group leadership. Serve as a president, leader, or officer of the youth group at your school or religious institution.
  9. First aid course. Complete a Standard First Aid or higher course or its equivalent.
  10. Ethical Controversies.
    a. Lead or be on the staff of an Ethics Forum for your crew, your youth group, or your school class.
    b. Participate in at least two Ethical Controversies activities as a participant.
    c. Be a facilitator for at least two Ethical Controversies activities for your crew, another crew, your school class, a Boy Scout troop, or another group.
  11. Teacher assistant. Serve as a teacher or an assistant to a teacher for a children's class at your religious institution or an educational institution (public school, daycare, or nursery) for at least two months.
  12. Religious interview. Meet with your religious leader to explore his/her duties, the preparation necessary to assume those duties, and what he/she believes is the most important element of the position.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Cub Scouts True

Every week I've been trying to include at least one song or grace for you to use. This one is from the April 2012 Pack Meeting Plans.

Cub Scouts True (to the tune of Three Blind Mice)
Cub Scouts true, Cub Scouts true,
Show their faith, Show their faith!
By giving thanks for the wonderful things,
Their fam-i-lies and Their own blessings,
For the things they learned at their Scout meetings,
They’re Cub Scouts true, Cub Scouts true.
Make it into an Audience Participation event by Dividing the group into thirds and have the groups sing the song in rounds

Monday, June 18, 2012

"The Spiritual Training of Scouts"

While searching on the USSSP site here, I came across some excerpts from a speech titled "The Spiritual Training of Scouts"given to the 18th International Conference of the Boy Scouts World Bureau in September 1961.  The speaker was John Thurman, Camp Chief of Gilwell Park, England.  It was printed in the May 1962 issue of The Scout Leader [Canada] .

I conceive it possible that if we abandoned all our principles we might recruit more leaders and consequently could handle more boys and perhaps -- although I doubt it -- in ten years we might double the number of registered Scouts, but we would have lessened a hundredfold the true strength of Scouting for we would end with something that had betrayed its past and in so doing had betrayed its purpose. . . .

My overriding fear in regard to Scouting is that it will die of respectability, having lost the urge to attempt the difficult and ending as a rather nice middle-class Movement.  It is more important to be proud of what Scouting does for the boyhood of the world than to be proud of Scouting.

. . . I want to appeal too that we strengthen our tolerance towards other faiths. "None has a monopoly of truth." Tolerance does not mean weakness or a weakening of your own faith, for it says in effect, "This is what I believe but I respect your right to be different," but that is not the same thing as tolerating the right to be spiritually lazy or to believe nothing. . . .

Why should a Movement like this set out to please an agnostic or an atheist adult? Why should we allow him to contaminate (and I use the word deliberately) the efforts of tens of thousands of adults who accept the principles of Scouting without question and who try to carry them effectively into the lives, the hearts, and the spirits of their boys? Don't tell me that it is brotherly to countenance evil. I believe that Scouting must be militant in its approach to fundamentals, and the fundamentals of Scouting without duty to God are worthless.

These days, I hear from a number of people that Scouting is unpopular because of the emphasis on religious belief as an important part of the program. If only we could drop all the religious stuff, we could attract more scouts. It seems that even in the 60s, this argument was being made also. I'd much rather be right, than be popular.

Sunday, June 17, 2012


The 9th point of the Scout Law: A Scout is Thrifty
A Scout works to pay his own way and to help others. He saves for the future. He protects and conserves natural resources. He carefully uses time and property.
A few verses about Thrift
Proverbs 6:6-8
Go to the ant, sluggard; consider her ways and be wise; who having no guide, overseer, or ruler, provides her food in the summer and gathers her food in the harvest.

Proverbs 21:5
The thoughts of the diligent tend only to plenty; but the thoughts of everyone who is hasty only to poverty.

1 Corinthians 16:2
On the first day of every week each one of you is to put aside and save, as he may prosper, so that no collections be made when I come.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Churches of Christ Religious Emblems

Cub Scouts, Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts and American Heritage Girls who are members of the denomination Churches of Christ can earn a series of Religious Emblems

Grades 1-3 - Loving Servant 

Grades 4-5 - Joyful Servant 
Grades 9-12 - Giving Servant 
Grades 6-8 - Good Servant 

Adult Award - Faithful Servant

The Members of Churches of Christ for Scouting (MCCS) Maintins a website with more details about the awards at

Friday, June 15, 2012

Getting Volunteers from your Church

Lots of scouters have tried to build the relationship between their church and their troop, without a lot of success. If you want to have church members become involved with the scouts, There is one sure-fire way to get them.

Just stand up on Scout Sunday, and tell the congregation "We need some of you to be Volunteers!"

Wait, I think I mixed that up. That's the one sure-fire way NOT to get volunteers.

If you remember my posts on Scouting as a Tool for Church Growth, here, here and here, one of the points I made is that scout families need to meet the people in the church before they think about joining it. If you ask someone to volunteer, make sure they understand that it's not just because you need a set of hands doing crafts or teaching a merit badge. Its because you want the scouts and their families to know the people you have asked to volunteer.

As I told one of the ladies at our church, I know we have a lot of really nice people, and I want the scout families to meet them. I consider them and their smiles to be a huge part of what made us feel welcome in the church. But we only got to meet them when we started coming on Sundays. I want the other families to meet them at scout meetings, so maybe they can come and see the rest of us on Sundays too.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Philmont Training Conferences related to Faith

Those of you who have around Scouting for a while probably know about Philmont Scout Ranch as a place where scouts head for week long high adventure backpacking trips. Well, they also have some conferences there during the summer, with a week's worth of training on special subjects, that can make you a much better scout leader.

Several of those conferences with a faith oriented theme may be of interest to the readers of this Blog

LDS Scouting Leadership Conference
FBI - The Faith Based Initiative
Scouting in the Lutheran Church
Scouting in the Methodist Church
Scouting in the Catholic Church
Scouting in the Presbyterian Church
American Heritage Girls

The full schedule of conferences can be found here.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

It's Official, I'm a Scouting Ministry Specialist

The UMC Has a program to train people to be a "Scouting Ministry Specialist", I recently signed up for this, serving my local church, and 1-2 other churches to be determined.

More information about it can be found on the United Methodist Men Scouting Ministry Website.

Requirements of a Scouting Ministry Specialist (SMS)
  1. Be 18 years of age or older.
  2. Provide proof of youth protection training and/or take an online sexual ethics and safe sanctuaries course. 
  3. Show a record of scouting/youth ministry experience.
  4. Read Scouting Guidelines.
  5. Submit $10 to become enrolled as a scouting ministry specialist.
Responsibilities of a SMS
  1. Provide information about national awards
  2. Introduce churches to the God and Country series.
  3. Encourage church leaders to attend regional and national training opportunities. (See below for upcoming training events.)
  4. Assist with bishop’s dinners and other district and conference events.
  5. Cultivate relationships with conference and district leaders.

I don't know if any other denominations have a similar program, but if your church does, I'd be interested in finding out more about it.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

First Class Requirement 4e - Patrol Cook?

The bulk of my Scouting experience is on the Cub Scout side of things. I'm used to each rank in Cub Scouts having a specifically religious requirement, that the scout world deal with with their family.

When I started examining the requirements for the various Boy Scout Ranks, I was somewhat surprised to see that there was nothing like that for each rank. Each rank has to demonstrate Scout Spirit, by living the law and the oath in their daily lives, but there's nothing that says those examples have to be related at all to their faith.

The only requirement that I saw from Tenderfoot to Eagle that was related to faith was First Class Requirement 4e.
On one campout, serve as your patrol's cook. Supervise your assistant(s) in using a stove or building a cooking fire. Prepare the breakfast, lunch, and dinner planned in requirement 4a. Lead your patrol in saying grace at the meals and supervise cleanup.
In case you overlooked it, leading grace is sandwiched in there between cooking meals for the patrol and cleanup. My first thought was that this was an odd combination of things to sandwich together. But what do they have in common? Service and Faith.

Having been on several cookouts, I know that virtually nobody likes to cleanup after cooking. It's messy, it's often hard to do in a camping environment. You can't just throw the stuff into a dishwasher and go. It's never one of the tasks that boys in a troop will look forward to.

But, it is important, it has to be done, and it is a way of serving others. In this case, literally serving food to the others in your patrol, and cleaning up after them. Along with that, there is the part of leading them in grace.

I know that many faiths talk about the importance of service, but the best example that I'm aware of from scripture is Jesus washing the feet of the disciples.
Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under his power, and that he had come from God and was returning to God; so he got up from the meal, took off his outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around his waist. After that, he poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples' feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around him...
When he had finished washing their feet, he put on his clothes and returned to his place. "Do you understand what I have done for you?" he asked them. "You call me 'Teacher' and 'Lord,' and rightly so, for that is what I am. Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another's feet. I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you.  (John 13: 3-5, 12-15)
This is something that that the lowest of the servants in the house would normally do. It was considered unclean and degrading to do, and the disciples were all shocked that Jesus would take on this task of a slave. Jesus knew that a true leader must be ready to be a servant to others. That's part of the lesson we need to teach the scouts we work with.

While the written text of the requirement may not have a huge amount to do with faith, there is certainly a lesson that can be learned about faith there. When you have Scoutmaster's Conference for a boy who is going for his First Class Rank, ask him what lessons he learned, not just about cooking and cleaning, but also about serving others.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Johnny Appleseed Grace

Here's a grace that my wife knew from her days as a Girl Scout.
Johnny Appleseed Grace
The Lord's been good to me
And so I thank the Lord
For giving me the things I need
The sun and the rain and the apple seed.
The Lord's been good to me.

Below is a Video of a VBS class singing the grace, just so you get the tune.

It's a catchy tune, that may get stuck in your head. :)

Sunday, June 10, 2012


The8th point of the scout law is "A Scout is Cheerful"

A Scout looks for the bright side of life. He cheerfully does tasks that come his way. He tries to make others happy.
Some relevant verses on that topic.
A glad heart makes a cheerful countenance, but by sorrow of heart the spirit is broken. The mind of him who has understanding seeks knowledge, but the mouths of fools feed on folly. All the days of the afflicted are evil, but a cheerful heart has a continual feast. (Proverbs 15:13-15)

"This is the day the LORD has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it." (Psalm 118:24 )

Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. (2 Corinthians 9:7 )

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Baden-Powell on Religion

In "Scouting For Boys" Baden-Powell wrote the following:

Religion seems a very simple thing:
First: Love and serve God. Second: Love and serve your neighbor.
In doing your duty to God always be grateful to Him. Whenever you enjoy a pleasure or a good game, or succeed in doing a good thing, thank Him for it, if only with a word or two, just as you say grace at a meal.

Friday, June 8, 2012

LDS Religious Emblems

The LDS Church has multiple religious emblem programs. The Faith in God Award for Cub and Webelos Scouts, and the On My Honor award for Boy Scouts, Venturers and Varsity.

On My Honor Award
On My Honor Award

Faith in God Award

On My Honor Adult Recognition
On My Honor Adult Recognition

Thursday, June 7, 2012

The 11th Outdoor Essential

I've only gone backpacking one time, and that was a very short trip as part of Woodbadge. One thing that trip taught me was the importance of only taking that gear you absolutely need. Any extra gear gets very heavy, very quickly.

When you are packing your gear, what items do you view as essential? What is something you wouldn't want to go a single day without? Most people's minds probably go first to the Outdoor Essentials, as listed in the Boy Scout handbook.

Most of the regular readers here are probably fairly involved in their faith, and go through some sort of daily devotional, scripture reading, etc. Is that something you view as essential, or is it something you can leave behind to pick back up after your camping trip?

If you are doing a gear shakedown, and pull out a small pocket new testament from your pack alongside your other gear, or if you sit doing a daily scripture reading around the campfire during a quiet period on a campout, that's something your scouts will pick up on. They will understand that your faith is important to you, as important as a pocketknife or map and compass are... Not something you can leave at home when you are out on the trail.

I will confess, I'm not as good about doing this as I should be. But It's an area that I'm going to try to improve on.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012's guide to several Faiths

Nick Trierweiler sent me a link to a page on that has a lot of good reference material on several different faiths. If you have a new family join your pack or troop who is of a faith you are not familiar with, this is a great place to look to understand the basics of the faith.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

United Methodist Men's Scouting Ministry

As I have mentioned a few times before, I belong to a Methodist Church. The Methodist Church is one of the biggest sponsors of Scouting Groups in the US, either first or second with the LDS Church, depending on whether you count the number of units sponsored or the number of scouts who are members of those units.

One of the reasons for this, is that the United Methodist Men's group has wholeheartedly embraced scouting, and considers it one of it's core ministries, alongside Prayer Ministry and Ministry to Men within the United Methodist Church.

If you are in a United Methodist Church, you may want to visit their website on Scouting.  and explore some of the resources they have there.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Cub Scout Vespers

A few weeks ago, I posted about Scout Vespers. Well, that song has a version for the Cub Scouts also.

Cub Scout Vespers
Sing to tune of: "Oh Christmas Tree" (a.k.a. Tannenbaum)
As the night comes to this land,
On my promise I will stand,
I will help the pack to go,
As our pack helps me to grow. 
Yes, I'll always give goodwill,
I'll follow my Akela still.
And before I stop to rest,
I will do my very best.


Sunday, June 3, 2012


The 6th Point of the Scout Law is Obedient

A Scout is Obedient.
A Scout follows the rules of his family, school, and troop. He obeys the laws of his community and country. If he thinks these rules and laws are unfair, he tries to have them changed in an orderly manner rather than disobeying them.
A few verses to think about
Children obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. Honor thy first commandment with promise; that it may be well with thee and thou mayest live long on the earth. (Ephesians 6:1-3)
Remind them to be submissive to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready for every good work. (Titus 3:1)

Obedience can be very tricky to teach about. What if one source of authority has rules that conflict with another, as in the following verses, where the religious leaders instructions conflict with those of Jesus himself? It may be useful to have scouts think about this, and what they would do in a situation where two different sets of rules conflict with one another.

And when they had brought them, they set them before the council: and the high priest asked them, Saying, Did not we straitly command you that ye should not teach in this name? and, behold, ye have filled Jerusalem with your doctrine, and intend to bring this man's blood upon us. Then Peter and the other apostles answered and said, We ought to obey God rather than men (Acts 5:7-29)

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Catholic Religious Emblem Programs for Girls

The Catholic Church recognizes several programs for girls of various ages who are involved with Girl Scouts, Campfire USA, American Heritage Girls, Junior Daughters of the Americas, or other youth organizations.

More information on these Religious Medal Programs is available here.

Ages 7-9 
Family of God 
Ages 9-11
I Live My Faith  

Ages 12-14
Mary, The First Disciple  

Ages 15-17
The Spirit Alive

Friday, June 1, 2012

Catholic Religious Emblems for Boys

There are several levels of awards that can be earned by boys in the BSA.

Light of Christ - Designed for 6-7 years old Cub Scouts 
Parvuli Dei  - Designed for 8-10 years old Cub Scouts. 
Ad Altare Dei - Designed for 13-14 years old Boy Scouts. 
Pope Pius XII - Designed for Venturing Crew Members and Boy Scouts 15 years old and older.
Light is Life - Designed for Boy Scouts, 12 -13 years old of the Eastern-rite Catholic Churches. (Scouts in the Eastern Catholic Churches work on Light is Life rather than the Ad Altare Dei emblem.)

The National Catholic Committee on Scouting has a  lot of information on this topic also. (Most of the content from this post is from there.