Scouting is a resource for religious organizations, schools, and community and civic groups to use in their program for young people. Scouting is an educational program based on "duty to God" and designed to enhance
If the troop is operated by a religious organization, it is customary for the religious leader to serve as the chaplain. The religious leader may ask a member of the staff who is qualified to serve in that position. A unit not operated by a religious organization may select a chaplain for the troop from the local clergy.
In this capacity, you as the chaplain have an opportunity to be a friend to the Scouts and leaders and to contribute to their spiritual welfare and growth. You as the chaplain, by virtue of your position and personality, can encourage the boys in their Scouting work and other aspects of their total lives.
Many times one of the first contacts a new family has in the community is with the Scouting unit. As new members are registered, you will learn of their religious affiliations or interest and can extend to them an invitation to join you in worship. Or you may share with them other opportunities for worship within the community. At no time should the chaplain proselytize.
Ask the leaders to report accidents, illnesses, and other problems of members to you. You should become aware of situations where a pastoral call would be appropriate and beneficial. Leaders who are in regular contact with their members often are the first to know of situations that may need pastoral attention.
If a member misses several meetings, it may be an indication that something is wrong. Ask that the names of absentees be shared with you. As chaplain you have the opportunity to visit and discover the source of the problem. If the problem is with some aspect of the Scouting program or leadership, you should discuss this problem with the appropriate individual or committee.
This person is the representative of the chartered organization to the district and local council of the Boy Scouts of America. This person must be able to represent the organization's concern in both policy-making and program. The chaplain should work closely with the chartered organization representative for the interest of the chartered organization and its ministry, as well as for children, youth, and families.
Remember, volunteers sharing their time and effort are what makes Scouting work. Support them. Recognize them for a job well done. Commend them personally for their ministry. Thank their family members, too, for their sacrifice makes Scouting possible.
Unit leaders are charged with fulfilling the purpose of both the chartered organization and Scouting. The leadership should demonstrate awareness of and understanding of both. It should be evident that Scouting activities are fulfilling spiritual needs, in addition to developing Scouting skills.
Encourage Scouts to earn their appropriate religious emblems. The troop possibly includes Scouts of various faiths; therefore, a knowledge of all emblems would be helpful. The chart A Scout Is Reverent, No. 5-206A, will be most helpful. Procedures within various faiths differ. A call to your local council service center will help to identify the requirement book, method of ordering, and presentation information.
Every troop going away for a weekend needs to plan to conduct or attend a service in keeping with the 12th point of the Scout Law. You may be invited to conduct the services or work out a program with the chaplain aide and other adult leaders. An overnight event should include worship experiences, either for the individual or for the troop. You may want to recommend scripture readings or devotional readings to be used at the close of the evening or as a morning meditation.
Service projects for advancement are required of all Scouts. Helping others is a Scouting tradition.
You have the advantage of being able to identify many possible service projects for individuals and families, for the chartered organization, for the community, and beyond the community. You will need to be on the lookout for service projects that are helpful and significant.
A particular emphasis in service projects is to focus on concerns and cares of the faith community, such as persons living in impacted areas (neighborhoods isolated by highways, interstates, commercial developments, etc.); aged, homebound, hungry, and illiterate people; ethnic minority groups needing help; and persons with handicapping conditions.
Working with leaders and youth will offer you an opportunity to relate to them at a level where you will become sensitive to needs not yet expressed. Be alert for personal, family, or social situations that may require special care.
Unit Religious Emblems Coordinator (R.E.C.)