Scouts Own: Religious Emblems

A Scout is reverent.

I thought it would be appropriate to start a series on religion as it applies to Scouting.  There may be several of these out there already, I haven’t looked yet.  But as I contemplated an appropriate topic for Sunday, it just struck me as a good idea.  We shall see.

I happen to be Roman Catholic.  But I have no intention for these posts to be discussions on Catholicism.  Rather, I’m more interested in a general discussion of how religion is incorporated into Scouting events without excluding any particular faith.  Inclusiveness is the key here.

I think one of the one of the best ways that the Boy Scout of America encourages a Scout to become strong in his/her faith is the by offering the religious emblems programs.  The religious emblems programs are approved and recognized by the BSA, but are developed and administered by the various religious organizations. Scouts usually work with a parent, coach or mentor to arrive at a better understanding of their particular faith.  Each religious organization sets its own requirements.  Once completed, the Scout is awarded the religious emblem by their religious organization.  They are then eligible to wear the BSA religious knot on their uniform.

As an example, my Wolf Cub just received his religious know last month. The requirements involved completing a workbook that was age-appropriate and incorporated reading, writing, illustration and discussion.  I worked side-by-side with him to complete it.  We then took it to our parish priest sign to have him approve the work. He was then invited to a weekday Mass, in full Scout uniform, where the priest presented him with the Light of Christ medal.  This medal can be worn just above the flap of the left shirt pocket.  At the next pack meeting he was presented with the youth religious knot which he now proudly displays on his uniform.

Admittedly, not every faith is represented in the program.  The Duty to God brochure lists the information on religious awards offered by nearly 40 different religious organizations along with contact information and required materials.  But a Scout should not be discouraged if they do not belong to an organized religion.  They should still be able to earn the religious knot by demonstrating to their congregation, on minister, or parent or mentor that they have a deepening understanding of their personal beliefs.  The Scout may be able to incorporate one of the existing programs to aid in this exercise.  You should contact your local council if you have specific questions or need additional assistance.

Through our faith we develop a better sense of ourselves.  This is why it is important for Scouts, in their own way, to understand their faith and to embrace it.




~ by Michael Forner on April 17, 2011.

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