Posts Tagged ‘Scout Oath’

Morally Straight… No More.

May 23, 2013
"Boy Scouts of America" march (sheet...

“Boy Scouts of America” march (sheet music) Page 1 of 6 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Today is a sad day in the history of Scouting.  Please indulge me one last time… for now.  I expect if you’re involved, or even interested, in Scouting you’ve heard the results of the BSA’s change in membership policy.  You may agree, or not, and I do not.  But at the end of the day, many—hopefully most–of us will cowboy up and muddle along.

I am disappointed that our organization that bills itself as having “timeless values” folded so easily to outside pressure.  And Yes, I do see this as an assault from outside Progressives bent on tearing down any institution of traditional values.  This is not the end.  They smell blood in the water and will circle the BSA like sharks.  The attacks on adult membership standards continues, and they will double down on atheism.  Moral relativism is alive and well as men of principle shirk their duty.

As a practical matter, this issue remains one more element of Character.  While the statement reaffirms that “sexual conduct” is contrary to the virtues of Scouting, have we ever withheld rank from a boy who was sexually active?  Have we withheld leadership from adults known to engage in extra-marital affairs?  Should we?  How about youth caught drinking?  Drinking and driving?  Bullying?

We say one thing, we do another, and society in general convicts us of moral hypocrisy.

And today they are right.

The Boy Scouts of America Statement (23 May 2013):

“For 103 years, the Boy Scouts of America has been a part of the fabric of this nation, with a focus on working together to deliver the nation’s foremost youth program of character development and values-based leadership training.

“Based on growing input from within the Scouting family, the BSA leadership chose to conduct an additional review of the organization’s long-standing membership policy and its impact on Scouting’s mission. This review created an outpouring of feedback from the Scouting family and the American public, from both those who agree with the current policy and those who support a change.

“Today, following this review, the most comprehensive listening exercise in Scouting’s history the approximate 1,400 voting members of the Boy Scouts of America’s National Council approved a resolution to remove the restriction denying membership to youth on the basis of sexual orientation alone. The resolution also reinforces that Scouting is a youth program, and any sexual conduct, whether heterosexual or homosexual, by youth of Scouting age is contrary to the virtues of Scouting. A change to the current membership policy for adult leaders was not under consideration; thus, the policy for adults remains in place. The BSA thanks all the national voting members who participated in this process and vote.

“This policy change is effective Jan. 1, 2014, allowing the Boy Scouts of America the transition time needed to communicate and implement this policy to its approximately 116,000 Scouting units.

“The Boy Scouts of America will not sacrifice its mission, or the youth served by the movement, by allowing the organization to be consumed by a single, divisive, and unresolved societal issue. As the National Executive Committee just completed a lengthy review process, there are no plans for further review on this matter.

“While people have different opinions about this policy, we can all agree that kids are better off when they are in Scouting. Going forward, our Scouting family will continue to focus on reaching and serving youth in order to help them grow into good, strong citizens. America’s youth need Scouting, and by focusing on the goals that unite us, we can continue to accomplish incredible things for young people and the communities we serve.”


Myself, I am troubled by the change, and how it was accomplished.  I’m not interested in telling other people how to live their lives, but there are many different things I can do with my time… things which align with traditional values.  I think after Summer Camp, I may take a break from the BSA and re-visit those values.

Yours in Scouting,

John S.





Scouting isn’t for Everybody

March 2, 2013

Two Scouting uniforms from 1917-1918

Please indulge me in one more Sound Off post, and I’ll get back to more fun & interesting fare…

Scoutmaster Jerry posted a provocative piece this week on his blog.  In part, he says:

I submit for the sake of discussion that maybe Scouting is not for every boy.  It may be that what Scouting offers is not what they want or need.  It may be that the boy is not ready for the adventures that Scouting offer and well-intentioned parents do not really understand what Scouting is all about.  It is also true that many Scout leaders do not know what Scouting is all about and therefore have promoted a program that misses the mark when it comes to achieving Scouting’s aims.  This has led to young boys joining troops that quickly disappoint or fail to deliver on the expectations they and their parents had on the join night.

As I’ve tried to note previously, any values-based organization is, inherently, “not for everybody”.  And that is OK.  There are, as Jerry notes in his blog, plenty of after-school programs that provide entertainment & exercise.  BSA doesn’t stand for “Baby Sitters of America”!  Jerry continues:

Not everyone wants what Scouting offers.  Numbers, while they drive much of what the professional Scouters track are not the program.  A great program that stays the course will bring in the numbers of boys that seek adventure, values, and ideals that are the hallmark of the Scouting program.  Numbers for the sake of numbers will be just that and we see this play out each year with amount of boys that leave our units.  They don’t want to play the game with a purpose and we should not make them.

We can not be all things to all people without sacrificing our core values.

Now I don’t want to misrepresent Scoutmaster Jerry’s views on membership.  I know from Twitter that he favors changing the membership policy, along with a few other Scouters whom I respect yet respectfully disagree.  I believe the BSA’s membership policy is all about character and how people choose to live their lives.

The BSA is an organization for people who choose to live their lives with character.

That is the larger question far beyond the immediate issue of membership standards.  That is the larger question that inspires the passion of people on both sides of the immediate issue.  That is the much more difficult question of maintaining BSA’s core values in a world of situational ethics and moral relativism that doesn’t much care for values any more.



Always Room at the Scouting Inn

December 22, 2012

en: Ideal Scout Statue by Robert Tait McKenzie...

And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in bands of cloth, and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn. -Luke 2:7

Did you recruit a new Scout today?

No?  Are you sure?

Like the original Unknown Scout in the London fog, every day each of us who are Scouts and Scouters represent Scouting and the BSA (or WOSM organization of your choice), in uniform or not.  At school or at work, on service projects or just puttering around the neighborhood.  When people know you’re a Scout, they judge all of Scouting by your actions.  When people don’t know you’re a Scout, each person you meet is a potential Scout/Scouter or supporter.

As I related in my last post, my family recently moved to a new city/state/Council, so my boys and I have been looking for a new troop(s).  In a time of transition like this, we faced (and are still working through) many decision points regarding participation in Scouting.  The boys, being at different ages and ranks, have their own interests and concerns–even whether or not to continue in Scouting at all.  So we poked around on the Council website looking for local Troop and Crew info.  I visited Roundtable to see which units were active.  I asked around when we got to town to see if anybody knew any Scouters… and we visited several meetings to see where the boys felt they could fit in.  In each case, someone had the opportunity to extend a welcoming hand… or not.

Not only does everybody win in the game of Scouting, but there’s also always more room for more players.  While Mary & Joseph were turned away from the Inn so long ago, there’s always room in Scouting for families who want to live by the Scout Oath & Law.  And every day, each and every one of us invite new Scouts in, whether we know it or not, by how we live the Scout Oath and Law.  Do you live On Your Honor?  Are you Courteous and Kind?  Have you Done A Good Daily?

There are no strangers to Scouting, only friends we haven’t met yet.

Merry Christmas.


SM Minute—When the World Stopped Turning

September 11, 2011
WTC during construction

Image via Wikipedia

Scoutmaster Minute—When the World Stopped Turning

Today is September 11th. Some of you remember the events of ten years ago today. Most of you have learned of them in history books and television. There are few days in the history of the nation when, as they say, “the world stopped turning” and everything changed direction. Pearl Harbor. Gettysburg. 9/11.

The events of the day speak for themselves. I would like to speak to how this days speaks to the Scout Oath.

On by honor I will do my best

Your honor is something that cannot be taken, but only given—it is what you do when nobody else is looking. The same with ‘doing your best’. Only you know what your best is, and you may not even know that until you are called to duty.

To do my duty to God and my country

Many people are paralyzed in an emergency. When the time for service comes, a Scout stands up—for his God and his country, for friends and family.

and to obey the Scout Law

A Scout is Trustworthy, Loyal, Helpful, Friendly, Courteous, Kind, Obedient, Cheerful, Thrifty, Brave, Clean, and Reverent, in good times and in bad.

To help other people at all times;

Times of crisis are a true test of character.

To keep myself physically strong, mentally awake, and morally straight.

It is much easier to do what must be done with stamina, smarts, and good common sense.

However, the best lesson of the day may actually lie in the Scout Motto: Be Prepared.

Be prepared, Scouts. Be prepared.


SM Minute—Twelfth-Point

January 30, 2011
Scouts reaffirm the scout oath at the 2006 Nat...

Image via Wikipedia

Scoutmaster Minute—Twelfth-Point

Next Sunday is Scout Sunday, the beginning of Scout Week and the celebration of the founding of Scouting over 100 years ago.

Many of you are members of a large, organized religion.  You might be Catholic, Presbyterian, Baptist, Jewish, or any one of a number of others.  As you know, part of being a Boy Scout is having a belief in God.  Every time you repeat the Scout Oath or Law, you reconfirm that you will do your duty to God, and that you will do your duty to God, and that you are reverent.

Keep in mind that some members of your patrol and troop might not belong to a regular church group.  That doesn’t mean that they don’t believe in a higher power.  Native Americans believe that the Great Spirit is the life force that flows through all living things and controls the wind, fire, and the Earth.  You might think of the Great Spirit as Mother Nature.  Nature has created a world for its creatures that allows them to live and prosper, from the lowest insects to the mighty eagle.  To me, that sounds like a higher power at work.

It doesn’t matter to me how you believe in God—whether you attend church every week or simply respect the power of nature.

(adapted from Troop Program Resources, p. 18)


Scout Sunday is a great time to promote the religious emblems programs, such as God and Family, etc..  BSA says:

To encourage members to grow stronger in their faith, religious groups have developed the following religious emblems programs. The Boy Scouts of America has approved of these programs and allows the emblems to be worn on the official uniform. The various religious groups administer the programs. Check with your local council service center or contact the religious organization directly to obtain the curriculum booklets.

Many organized religious bodies are covered by age-specific programs of the P.R.A.Y organization: .


Centennial of Scouting: SM Minutes on the Scout Oath and Scout Law

December 30, 2010

My Scoutmaster Minutes for Troop 25 on the Scout Oath and Scout Law for the Centennial Year of Scouting in the USA.  Some original, some re-posted from Troop Program Resources and other sources.

Scoutmaster Minute—What Does It Mean To Be “A Scout”

Scoutmaster Minute—The Scout Salute and Handshake

Scoutmaster Minute—A Scout is Trustworthy

Scoutmaster Minute—A Scout is Loyal

Scoutmaster Minute—A Scout is Helpful

Scoutmaster Minute—A Scout is Friendly

Scoutmaster Minute—A Scout is Courteous

Scoutmaster Minute—A Scout is Kind

Scoutmaster Minute—A Scout is Obedient

Scoutmaster Minute—A Scout is Cheerful

Scoutmaster Minute—A Scout is Thrifty

Scoutmaster Minute—A Scout is Brave

Scoutmaster Minute—A Scout is Clean

(A rebuttal from Mike RoweA Scout is Clean… Except When He Gets Dirty)

Scoutmaster Minute—A Scout is Reverent

Scoutmaster Minute—The Outdoor Code

Scoutmaster Minute—Why Are You in Scouting?


(edit: updated links)

Scoutmaster Minute—What Does It Mean To Be “A Scout”

January 10, 2010

Everyone joins Scouts for different reasons. The thrill of adventure in the Great Outdoors. Earning ranks and badges. Having fun with our friends.

But what does it mean when you say “I am a Scout”?

We know what the Scout Oath or Promise says:

On my honor I will do my best
To do my duty to God and my country
and to obey the Scout Law;
To help other people at all times;
To keep myself physically strong,
mentally awake, and morally straight.

And we know what the Scout Law says:

A Scout is trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean, and reverent.

We know the Scout Motto:

Be Prepared

We know the Scout Slogan:

Do a Good Turn daily.

And we know the Outdoor Code:

As an American, I will do my best to
Be clean in my outdoor manners,
Be careful with fire,
Be considerate in the outdoors, and
Be conservation-minded.

But what does that mean?

As we start 2010, the 100th year of the Boy Scouts of America, think about what it means to you to be a Scout. Think about how you “Demonstrate Scout spirit by living the Scout Oath and Scout Law in your everyday life”. Let’s talk this year about how your Patrol and Troop can help you be the best Scout you can be.


Relief of Maefking Camporee

October 12, 2009

Our District’s Fall Camporee this weekend took on ‘The Relief of Mafeking‘. The troop planning the program put on a 24-hour survival operation based on proficiency in First Class skills. Scouts were tested on their ability to react to a high stress, low-rest environment while performing Scout Skills in an outdoor environment.

Stations included:

  • Scavenger Hunt
  • Action Archery Lane
  • Canoe Crossing
  • Swimmer Rescue
  • Land Navigation
  • River Crossing (simulation)
  • Submarine Battle game
  • Bear Bag Hang
  • Shelter Establishment
  • Water Boil
  • Victim Extraction
  • Minefield Clearing
  • Breakfast
  • Scout Oath and Law

The Camporee guide outlined materials required for each Scout and each Team of 4. Individual Scouts were to carry items such as a 2nd Class First Aid Kit, mess kit, 2 quarts of water, raingear, a canoe paddle and PFD. Team equipment included a tarp, 100′ and 500′ lengths of rope, large skillet and spatula.  The guide recommended that Troops train to:

  1. Become familiar with identifying certain trees and shrubs
  2. Become familiar finding sings of certain prairie animals
  3. Become proficient tying two-half hitches, tautlines, bowlines, and timber hitches
  4. Develop methods of carrying victims long distances
  5. Develop methods to throw ropes with great accuracy
  6. Figure out how to light fires quickly, with and without matches
  7. Determine an azimuth and measure distances for land navigation

I like the idea of a challenging event. Our camporees often center around a Merit Badge, which is nice to expose Scouts to different topics but can end up too much like Scout School. The thing is, we have boys from age 7 to 17 in Scouting (and up to 21 in Venturing) with many different skills and interests. There’s a big difference in interests between a new Tiger Cub & his Akela and a 2nd year Webelos about to earn his Arrow of Life. Activities that draw a high school freshman Star Scout may draw yawns from the college freshman Venture Scout.

There has to be some balance in our Troop programs between learning skills and opportunities to demonstrate proficiency. This event drew the interest of several of our older Scouts, but the other half of our troop are still working on their First Class rank. It’s one thing to challenge youth. It’s another thing to set them up for exclusion and failure.

Even so, our Troop put together a team and was ready to go a week out. Then we got a look at the weather forecast. Low of 20*F and 4” of snow. This is doable with the right equipment; however, our Troop does NOT have the right equipment for 4-season camping. By Friday night there was One Scout standing: a Tenderfoot. Two Assistant Scoutmasters had volunteered to help out with the event so they did camp Friday night. I myself took the opportunity to be Akela with my Bear Cub for the Cub Scout day camp activities.

Hopefully next year we’ll Be BETTER Prepared.


Bridge to Adventure

May 18, 2009

Boy Scout Bridging Ceremony


Scout Bridging Ceremony

A Webelos Scout must show his knowledge of the requirements to become a Boy Scout to earn the Arrow of Light.  Among other things, he must repeat from memory and explain in his own words the Scout Oath, 12 points of the Scout Law, the Motto, and Slogan.

Scout Oath

On my honor I will do my best

To do my duty to God and my country and to obey the Scout Law;

To help other people at all times;

To keep myself physically strong, mentally awake, and morally straight.

Scout Law

A Scout is Trustworthy.

A Scout tells the truth. He is honest, and he keeps his promises. People can depend on him.


A Scout is true to his family, friends, Scout leaders, school and nation.


A Scout cares about other people. He willingly volunteers to help others without expecting payment or reward.


A Scout is a friend to all. He is a brother to other Scouts. He offers his friendship to people of all races and nations, and respects them even if their beliefs and customs are different from his own.


A Scout is polite to everyone regardless of age or position. He knows that using good manners makes it easier for people to get along.


A Scout knows there is strength in being gentle. He treats others as he wants to be treated. Without good reason, he does not harm or kill any living thing.


A Scout follows the rules of his family, school, and troop. He obeys the laws of his community and country. If he things these rules and laws are unfair, he tries to have them changed in an orderly manner rather than disobeying them.


A Scout looks for the bright side of life. He cheerfully does tasks that come his way. He tries to make others happy.


A Scout works to pay his way and to help others. He saves for the future. He protects and conserves natural resources. He carefully uses time and property.


A Scout can face danger although he is afraid. He has the courage to stand for what he thinks is right even if others laugh at him or threaten him.


A Scout keeps his body and mind fit. He chooses the company of those who live by high standards. He helps keep his home and community clean.


A Scout is reverent toward God. He is faithful in his religious duties. He respects the beliefs of others.

Scout Motto

Be Prepared.

Scout Slogan

Do a Good Turn Daily.

Welcome To Troop 25!