Today, February 8, 2017 marks the 107th anniversary of the Boy Scouts of America’s founding—it’s our birthday. As the nation’s largest youth-serving organization, Scouting continues to educate youth on the principles of character, citizenship, leadership, and fitness all while creating value for thousands of charter partners across the nation.
Troops, teams, packs and crews all celebrate this week and month in a variety of ways. From serving in religious ceremonies to their own private re-dedication ceremonies, Scouts can reflect on their experiences in Scouting in a memorable way.
This is my favorite; I’ve been using it since I first made a Scout Investiture Ceremony board in the 1970’s. It uses holiday lights because the fire marshal didn’t allow open flames in my church. But, if you can, candles work well too. Either way, the effect is stunning in a darkened room.
Equipment: a small table, a simple candelabra with 12 holiday lights or candles to represent the 12 points of the Scout Law, a candelabra with three larger lights to represent the three parts of the Scout Oath, and a single candle or light such as a lantern representing the spirit of Scouting.
To begin, twelve Scouts line up, six on either side of the candelabra, facing the audience, odd numbers on the right, even numbers on the left. The senior patrol leader stands directly behind the table. When all is ready, the lights are turned out.
Senior Patrol Leader (lights candle or turns on the light representing the spirit of Scouting): This light represents the spirit of Scouting. On my honor I will do my best. (He hands the spirit of Scouting candle or lantern to the Scout designated to give the first point of the Scout Law.)
First Scout (steps forward and lights or turns on the light on the right-hand side, makes the Scout sign, and recites the first point of the Scout Law): A Scout is TRUSTWORTHY: “A Scout tells the truth. He keeps his promises. Honesty is part of his code of conduct. People can depend on him.” (The first Scout steps back and hands the candle or lantern to the second Scout, who recites the second point. This continues until all 12 points have been recited using the script below.)
Second Scout LOYAL: “A Scout is true to his family, Scout leaders, friends, school, and nation.”
Third Scout HELPFUL: “A Scout is concerned about other people. He does things willingly for others without pay or reward.”
Fourth Scout FRIENDLY: “A Scout is a friend to all. He is a brother to other Scouts. He seeks to understand others. He respects those with ideas and customs other than his own.”
Fifth Scout COURTEOUS: “A Scout is polite to everyone regardless of age or position. He knows good manners make it easier for people to get along together.”
Sixth Scout KIND: “A Scout understands there is strength in being gentle. He treats others as he wants to be treated. He does not hurt or kill harmless things without reason.”
Seventh Scout 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 disobey them.”
Eighth Scout CHEERFUL: “A Scout looks for the bright side of things. He cheerfully does tasks that come his way. He tries to make others happy.”
Nineth Scout THRIFTY: “A Scout works to pay his way and to help others. He saves for unforeseen needs. He protects and conserves natural resources. He carefully uses time and property.”
Tenth Scout BRAVE: “A Scout can face danger even if he is afraid. He has the courage to stand for what he thinks is right even if others laugh at or threaten him.”
Eleventh Scout CLEAN: “A Scout keeps his body and mind fit and clean. He goes around with those who believe in living by these same ideals. He helps keep his home and community clean.”
Twelfth Scout REVERENT: “A Scout is reverent toward God. He is faithful in his religious duties. He respects the beliefs of others.”
Senior Patrol Leader turns each of the three center lights on, as the troop recites the Scout Oath. Troop, attention. Scout sign, Scout Oath. “On my honor I will do my best to do my duty and to obey the Scout Law, (without pause, turn first light on) to help other people at all times, (without pause, turn second light on) to keep myself physically strong, mentally awake, and morally straight, (the third light is turned on and the spirit of Scouting candle or lantern is returned to the center of the table.)
Scoutmaster: Scouts tonight we have recited some words that can light our lives and the world, in turn, however if a Scout tells a lie (Scoutmaster turns out the light representing trustworthy) his light is diminished. If he refuses to do chores at home when asked (Scoutmaster turns out the lights representing helpful and obedient) his light is even more dim. Pretty soon lights in the Oath and other lights in the law are gone and the Spirit of the Scout is lost (Scoutmaster turns out the lantern representing the Scout Spirit). When this happens the Scout’s light is dimmed and his influence for good gone. So, let’s each remember to keep our promise and live the law to “let your light so shine” Matthew 5:16.