September 2007 Cub Scout Roundtable Issue
| Volume 14, Issue
October 2007 Theme
Down on the Farm
Citizen & Showman
PACK ADMIN HELPS
With Pack Family Camping strongly encouraged and
promoted, many Packs are faced with holding Scout’s Own Services for the first
time. Some are doing very well, some are not, and some are simply ignoring a
Scout’s Duty to God and getting home earlier. Here is a brief presentation by
Kyna Hendra, “Mrs. MacScouter,” clearing up what is and is not a Scout’s Own
Service. Her book on
www.macscouter.com is over a 100 pages of excellent tip s and
ideas for building your own Scout’s Own. CD
to the Scouts Own
The founder of Scouting, Robert
Baden-Powell, believed that Reverence and Duty to God should be an important
part of the Scout Movement and of every Scout and Scouter. He originated the
notion of Scout's Own ..."a gathering the Scouts for the worship of God and to
promote fuller realization of the Scout Law and Promise, but supplementary to,
and not in substitution for, regular religious observances." (Aids to
Let us first consider what Scouts' Owns are not.
They are not Church Services, nor are they meant to be a
substitute for them.
They are not a structured liturgy like the Book of Common Order,
They are not a good opportunity for the Leader to bang home some
truths with a little bit of God added for effect.
They are not necessarily the Chaplains or Leaders' department or
guidelines, let's define what Scouts' Owns are. This is not what they ought to
be - this is what they are; and if they do not fulfill one or more of these
categories, they are not Scouts' Owns.
They are an acknowledgment of God and his creation and ourselves
as part of it, expressed in a way that all the faiths that Scouting embraces can
They are a pause in our activity to discover something deeper and
more permanent in the things we are trying to achieve or learn or enjoy.
They are a response to the Creator for the gift of life.
Which means, of course, they
can be almost everything from a time of silence through a single sentence right
up to a kind of service of worship that might include music and singing and
stories and readings and prayers. In other words, although the next few
paragraphs and pages suggest some material that could be useful for a Scouts'
Own and end with a couple of outlines that might be useful for a
colony/pack/troop/unit evening or in camp, there really is no "proper form."
For example, a group of Venture
Scouts [older Scouts or high adventure group] may get to the summit of a
mountain after a difficult or challenging rock climb and as they stand or sit
down to recover and enjoy the view, one of them says, with feeling, "Thank God
we made it!" and the others respond "Too right" (in context, another word for
"Amen"), conscious or not, they have experienced a Scouts' Own, because they
have recognized both their achievement and their growing because of it. The
glory of a sunset and the breaking of the dawn; the sky at night, the hills by
day and the flickering friendship round a camp-fire are absolutely natural
settings for thinking -- sometimes silently, sometimes aloud -- about the power
that is the beginning and end of everything and our human place in the complex
order of the universe. And that's a Scouts' Own, without the need, even, for a
mention of God by name -- only by implication. You see the point? A Scout's Own
is really a spiritual experience that happens.
But sometimes, especially at
the younger ages, it has to be underlined. So a game or an activity that has
demanded effort in body or mind or in tolerance and team-work can, on the spot,
be turned into a Scouts' Own with a thought and a "thank-you" for God -- no
necessity for hymns or uniforms or readings. Of course, there is a place for a
Scouts' Own with songs and readings -- when a time is set aside for God. Then it
can be good to tell a story of adventure or challenge, where the people have
relied on their faith -- whatever their faith -- in the Creator God to achieve
their goal; and sing a campfire song or two about sharing and caring and
serving. The song "Al lelu, alleluia, praise ye the Lord" can be fun, because,
divided into two groups, one does the 'Alleluias' and the other the 'Praise ye
the Lord' and whenever they are singing they stand and when not they sit. This
is praise that is ordered chaos and fun. Maybe that's a good description of a
true Scouts' Own.
And prayers. A lot of young
folk today find prayer difficult, yet the best prayers come from them. The young
Cub Scout who prays "Thank you God for making me" has hit the nail on the head
that's a Scouts' Own in a sentence. So it is far better to let the young people
make up their own prayers - maybe creating a Group book of prayers and use it,
updating it year by year. As a Leader you will never quite match, for them, the
depth of their own thinking.
Finally, having, hopefully,
done away with the mystique surrounding and the necessity of formality or a
formal structure for Scouts' Owns, we suggest you go and get on with them - and
Some Ideas on Scouts' Owns
By Baden Powell
Printed in "The
Scouter", November 1928
For an open Troop, or for
Troops in camp, I think the Scouts' Own should be open to all denominations, and
carried on in such manner as to offend none. There should not be any special
form, but it should abound in the right spirit, and should be conducted not from
any ecclesiastical point of view, but from that of the boy. Everything likely to
make an artificial atmosphere should be avoided. We do not want a kind of
imposed Church Parade, but a voluntary uplifting of their hearts by the boys in
thanksgiving for the joys of life, and a desire on their part to seek
inspiration and strength for greater love and service for others.
A Scouts' Own should have as
big an effect on the boys as any service in Church, if in conducting the Scouts'
Own we remember that boys are not grown men, and if we go by the pace of the
youngest and most uneducated of those present. Boredom is not reverence, nor
will it breed religion.
To interest the boys, the
Scouts' Own must be a cheery and varied function. Short hymns (three verses are
as a rule quite enough-never more than four); understandable prayers; a good
address from a man who really understands boys (a homely "talk" rather than an
address), which grips the boys, and in which they may laugh or applaud as the
spirit moves them, so that they take a real interest in what is said. If a man
cannot make his point to keen boys in ten minutes he ought to be shot! If he has
not got them keen, it would be better not to hold a Scouts' Own at all.
Materials found in Baloo's Bugle may be used by Scouters for Scouting activities provided that Baloo's Bugle and the original contributors are cited as the source of the material.