February 2017 marks the 107th Anniversary of the founding of the Boy Scouts of America in the United States. Our organization has certainly grown in that time and continues to evolve. Two things that have remained constant are the Ideals for which the BSA stands for as well as the method of learning by Advancement.
To some, these could stand in opposition to one another – how can you preach ideals of helping others when part of you is focused on advancing and personal recognition? To me, these go hand-in-hand as part of Scout self-development. When Scouts first join and earn the rank of Scout, they are able recite the Scout Oath, Law, Outdoor Code, BSA Motto, and BSA Slogan. But just because you can say a word, doesn’t mean you can also explain and demonstrate it in your daily life. These traits come as Scouts mature and grow in their understanding of what it means to ‘help others at all times’. And since February is Scout Sabbath and Scout Sunday month, I’ll focus on Reverent as the 12th point of the Scout Law and the first in the Oath “Duty to God and Country”. For a 5th grade Scout, these usually mean and are demonstrated by going to church, learning about his religious faith traditions, and continuing on his faith journey. By the time a Scout sits with me for his Eagle Scoutmaster conference, these meanings have evolved to become everything from more questions than answers to a life-long vocation choice and commitment. These conversations and reflections help both to reinforce our ideals by discussing and sharing his growth stories as well as explore their meanings more deeply. In today’s society of always on, always on the move, the need to sit, think and reflect is key to growth. So our way through Advancement with Scoutmaster conferences and sharing our own stories helps bring our Ideals to the forefront of what we do and who we are.
So, this month, I hope every Scout and Scout parent in Troop 283 continues to grow in their faith tradition by reflecting on where you each were at this time last year and where and how you will grow to become more Reverent in 2017.
Yours in Scouting,