My hubby and I both work for non-profit youth oriented organizations. I’m a writer for the Scouts. He implements STEM programs through 4-H.
My husband’s job is great. Like Scouting, 4-H is a nice organization for youth to learn and grow. Kids discover talents and take classes. But, I do think there is something Scouting offers that many other youth organizations, like 4-H, do not.
Scouting is religious. God matters, and Scouts commit to do their duty to Him. In Scouts, religious churches can implement their own units.
What does this mean and why does it matter? I’m glad you asked.
What is a Church-Owned Unit?
The BSA says the following about being church-owned:
“A church that has its own Scouting unit (Boy Scout troop, Cub Scout pack, Varsity Scout team, or Venturing crew) has complete authority to direct the unit program in the best interest of its participants. In other words, the unit is church-owned and church-administered. ”
Many religions implement Scouting in their own way, coinciding with their own beliefs. Scouting units exist among Christians, Jews, Muslims and Buddhists here in America. Rather than just teaching new skills and good values, these faith-centered organizations can direct those skills and values back to God.
Why does it help Scouts?
Boys may struggle with the idea of attending church each Sunday, but they sure don’t struggle with the idea of roasting marshmallows and rock climbing.
The BSA sees Scouting as an outreach tool. They said, “..Young people might be hesitant to attend a regular religious service but eager to join a Scouting unit. What an opportunity for these young people, as well as for existing church members!” According to the BSA, when correctly implemented, Scouting is successful in ministry.
Of additional importance, Scouting creates connections.
At church, boys learn about Christ walking on water and feeding thousands. They hear about Siddhartha Gautama feeling sorrow for the sick and afflicted. They visualize Moses trudging with others through vast wilderness.
But, how can they really understand what these things mean unless they’ve swam in water, practiced feeding the hungry and afflicted, or camped out in the wilderness?
This is what Scouting provides. In Scouting, church leaders can connect activities to principles of faith. Scouts go out, appreciate, and care for God’s creations in nature and among mankind. Through these activities, they can better know God.
There are many brilliant youth organizations out there. Each offers unique benefits. But, Scouting offers God. In my mind, this sets us apart in a grand way.
What experiences do you have being in a church-owned unit?