The Boy Scout program is simply that… a program. It is a series of methods and systems designed to facilitate a specific outcome: Young people who are able to make ethical and moral choices over their lifetime using the Scout Oath and Law as a guide.
The Boy Scouts of America is a company that makes money producing these educational systems and methods and that manages local (Council) non-profits that support organizations that utilize the program (Chartered Organizations).
The Charter Agreement between an organization and the Boy Scouts of America states that the organization is responsible to: “Conduct the Scouting program according to its own policies and guidelines as well as those of the Boy Scouts of America.” This implicitly states that the Scouting program is supplemental (not superseding or independent) to the organization’s own goals.
There are a ton of Youth Organizations out there that have similar goals as that stated by the BSA program, but many of them don’t have the resources, volunteer support or organizational structure to be able to develop relevant systems and methods to compete for Youth Attention against the other factors within our youths lives that may be immoral or amoral at best (such as TV, Sports, Video Games, etc.) Furthermore, it is my contention that many organizations don’t understand the relationship of a Youth Organization in partnership with BSA. Many have the misconception that their organization is merely providing space for a separate youth program.
I’m not a member of the Mormon Church, nor do I pretend to understand their Youth Initiatives or programs, but from the outside it seems like they “Get it”. From what little I do understand about their organization, they fully leverage the Boy Scout program to organize, educate and serve their youth to the point of which they’ve customized the program to better fit with what they are doing as a church. My understanding is also that the church appoints leaders from within their membership to be trained and to serve the program.
When I meet with Webelos Patrols that are looking for a Troop to join, I admit, I sell our troop. But I also extoll the virtues of living in an area in which there are many different troops to join, all with different interests and personalities and I suggest that they spend their Webelos II year camping and meeting with different troops in the area. I also talk to the parents and explain to them that who “owns” the troop (the Chartered Org) makes a difference as well. While most organizations don’t take an active hand in the troop, all of them have the right to and that, as parents, they have the responsibility to make sure their boys are involved in an organization of which they can support. For instance if a mom is “Anti-Gun”, she might not want her son to belong to a troop chartered by the NRA. Nor would I, as a Baptist, be interested in seeing my sons belonging to a Mormon troop.
It is with this understanding that I greet the below press release from Scout-Wire.org with excitement. I’m excited about the possibilities of a great organization like the SBC promoting that its member churches be intentional about the use of Scouting and to use it as a tool for outreach within the community. It is through the intentional application of Scouting by organizations that are invested in the program, that are willing to train their volunteers and want be involved with the youth that they serve that the mission of helping youth can best be conducted.
Whew… enough of the dissertation, here’s the reblog from www.scout-wire.org
Dr. Fred Luter, president of the Southern Baptist Convention, recently visited the BSA’s National Council to meet with Chief Scout Executive Wayne Brock and discuss the many ways churches can expand their community outreach and ministry through the Scouting program.
In response to his visit, Luter shared this challenge with his fellow SBC pastors and members: “At no time in the history of our Convention or our great nation has there been a greater need to aggressively reach out to children, youth, and families with the Good News and, once reached, to disciple them. One of the tools I commend to you for helping to accomplish these divine imperatives is a Boy Scout ministry in your church.”
Luter—who became the SBC’s first black president when he was elected to the post last summer—also encouraged pastors to consider serving as counselors for the P.R.A.Y. Religious Emblems Program (formerly the God and Country Program) used in Scouting, noting that a sizeable number of Scouts accept Christ during the study and others clarify their call to vocational Christian ministry.
Churches interested in knowing more about starting or strengthening a Scouting ministry may visit the Association of Baptists for Scouting website at www.baptistscouters.org and click on “Resources.”