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? 

Michelle Carpenter
is a reporter for the Voice of Scouting and a marketing associate for The Utah National Parks Council. Her father, husband, and brother are all Eagle Scouts, so she firmly believes some of the best men did Scouting.


  1. john R says:

    Your sure about that church­es do not own scout­ing units. They dont own scout units they are Char­tered by church not owned. Scouts are kids not slaves, you own a dog and the dog is your own­er. You own a car. Church­es dont own scouts I been a ful­ly trained leader for over 20 yrs. Please fake check thank you.

    1. Michelle Carpenter
      Michelle Carpenter ( User Karma: 2 ) says:

      Actu­al­ly, the major­i­ty of this con­tent came straight from the Nation­al Boy Scouts of Amer­i­ca. Please refer to this state­ment made by them, “The unit is church-owned and church-admin­is­tered.”

  2. Darryl Alder
    Darryl Alder ( User Karma: 8 ) says:

    One of my great­est accom­plish­ments as a Field Direc­tor was help­ing the Catholic boys from a unit that was going away move to a Methodist Church in Price UT. This exper­i­ment gave the unit 15 more years of life, serv­ing many youth from both faiths.

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