Archive for the ‘Scouts’ Category

A letter to the author (and response)

July 2, 2007

Regarding “Scout Troop Blessings” 

From: Martin Foster Scoutmaster 9th Irene Air Scout Troop.

Here in South Africa Scouting is interdenominational and no one has to demonstrate their allegiance to any particular religion.

In my view each person has three categories of belief.
1. Personal individual beliefs in God, angels, heaven, devils, baptism, or whatever.
2. Social belief – how one interacts socially with others of the same or different religious beliefs or culture.
3. One’s life script – How you live your life. How you treat others. How you react to those with a different view of life then yourself.

It seems you have come to a realization in your life that means much to you. Let others, also, in their time attain their own realizations. 

In Response:

Dear Martin,

In the US, scouting requirements are broader than interdenominational.  Having a denomination assumes that you are Christian.  I know of no other mode in which the term is used.  Scouting, in the US, is open to any person who believes in a “god”.  There are many however who believe this to be too restrictive.  In recent years, our organization was challenged by atheists who wished it to be free of religion.  It was also challenged by homosexuals who wished to be unrestricted morally (actually, I suppose that they would say less restricted).  In both cases, scouting was forced to defend itself in court.  Our defense was, as I understand it, that we were a private organization and as such had a right to determine who our members would be.  You see there must be a line.  There must be rules.  For your organization, you are welcome to place the line and the rules where you will. 

This is how we have set our rules.  Anyone who doesn’t like them is welcome to create their own organization.  Strangely, I don’t see them doing this.  In the US, people that felt that scouting wasn’t conservative enough, started their own organizations.  Girl Scouts now has a more conservative form called American Heritage Girls.  Boy Scouts has a variant called Contenders for the Faith.  (Why do liberals feel that they must hijack our organizations rather than start their own?  Just a rhetorical question.)

But you see this is not where it ends.  When the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) said “we have a right to associate as we please they had to admit that every organization had a right to do the same.  You see, the BSA can’t sponsor the thousands of scout troops needed in America.  Other organizations with like goals have to sponsor them.  For that reason, the sponsoring organization has the right to adjust the line and the rules. 

Instead of a line,  lets think of the line and the rules making up two circles.  There is an outer most circle that you may not cross with out breaking out of scouting.  There is an inner most circle that the BSA requires as minimums.  The sponsoring organization must then draw their circle so that it is completely inside the outer one and completely contains the inner one. 

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

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

“As a citizen of the world, 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.”

These are the basics of BSA scouting.  We won’t go into full detail here of what the minimums are, but you should be able to get the idea!

As a final note, I would like to say the following.  No mater who you are or what you believe, your life influences others.  You can’t help it.  Even attempting to prevent the influence, influences them.  Additionally, youth are sponges.  You can pour almost anything into them.  If you prevented anything from being poured into them, they would be hollow, fragile, and pretty much useless.  In America, we’ve forgotten this.  We’ve been trying to prevent them from receiving direct influence, to quote, “so that they could make up their own minds”.  In the mean time, our youth have become either hollow or dark with ill influences.  Witness the state of our culture.  Today we have children massacring their fellows in school so that they can feel significant. 

I intend to pour in as much light as I can!

Neal Wilhite
Who admires you for supporting Scouting!


Scout Troop Blessings

June 28, 2007

I’ve been looking around.  Around here, it appears that Scouting is in decline.  I see troops loosing members. I see troops with insufficient adult leadership.  The word languish really does come to mind.  I thought that we were doing God’s will.  That we were leading a next generation to a greater place in the kingdom.  Where’s the blessing for my troop?

“Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord…” PS 33:12.  I don’t really think that David meant only nations.  I think that he could have as easily used people or church or organization here.  The Jews have often been referred to as the “nation” of Israel.  I’d say that a group of people that is united in their dedication to the Lord would receive this blessing.  So again I say, where’s that blessing.

I’ve always said that we were a Christian troop.  We say that we only take leaders with strong Christian values.  We say that we will only provide Christian mentorship for the boys.  Don’t we qualify as Christian?  So I started looking around.  OK, I wasn’t really looking.  The Lord just tapped me on the shoulder and asked a question.  “Are you doing it the my way or are you doing it your way (the convenient way) in my name?” 

I imagine that He gets annoyed with our tossing stuff on His plate that he would never feed us.  Lord if I’m a scout, then I’m yours, right? “No!”  How about if I go to church?  “Pagans have been to your church to attempt to damage it with their supposed powers.  Were they Christian since they came to church?”  So what will it take?  Do you know what He told me?  He said, “Do you consistently unite in prayer?  Do you seek my will in your decisions?  Do you listen and obey?”

I am determined to change my plan.  There will be no more settling for the convenient.  There will be no more walking the easy paths.  If I can’t get the Lord’s blessing than I’d rather that the troop died anyway.  If it’s not serving His purpose then what good is it.  If you’ve got a troop you are welcome to join me.  If you are already doing these things, I want to come see and be further inspired!

Who’s Responsible (A Scout Master’s Minute)

June 26, 2007

Suppose that, at work, my boss wants me to produce a program for an executive that will give a false evaluation of what’s going.  The executive asked for the program to be made that way.  He asked my manager to get it made for him.  My manager asked me to make it.  So who’s responsible?  Do you think a lie will be perpetrated with it?

[Give them a couple of moments to talk about it.]

The executive is surely responsible for asking for a lie.  What is he going to do with the program?  He’s responsible for that too.  My manager is responsible for accepting the order.  He’s also responsible for evaluating how it will be used.  I’m responsible for accepting the order from my manager.  I’m responsible if someone gets hurt by the lie that my program will produce.  I’m responsible for pointing out all of the failings that the program will have in case someone doesn’t know.


Lies (all lies, no mater how small) only exist by agreement.  Once exposed, a lie melts away because it has no substance.  Who’s responsible for protecting the truth?  I am.  You are.  They are.  Everyone is.  A scout stands tough for the truth.

Building a Human Pyramid

June 8, 2007

“So, who’s going to go first?”, I said.  “Come on Darnel, you’re the football player, show us!”, they all chimed in.  BSA Tenderfoot rank requirements ask you to prove not that you are physically fit, but that you are willing to improve your physical fitness.  Sit-ups, Pushups, Pull-ups, Broad Jump, Quarter Mile Walk/Run.  We’d do’em all.  We’ll do’em again in 30 days and show that (with practice) we’ve improved.  So Darnel banged out 40 good solid military pushups.  Ok the last 10 might have been a little less solid, but when I was his age, I don’t remember making 40 on my first try.  And yes, I was a defensive tight end.

Not everyone is a football player though, so some of the boys were toughing it out for 1 or 2 pushups.  That’s OK, they were there to improve.  Now, with your random bunch of boys, you expect some serious taunting.  “Two, You are soooooo lame!”  No, I did not hear one taunt.  It was more like, “Come on man, try it again.  I know you can do more.”  And the spirit in the place was so encouraging that even when they had taken their best shot they wanted another go.  Here I was prepared to make men out of them, jumping on their barbed edges to hammer them flat.  They were already looking back at me from the next level.  “Come on, Mr. Neal, we’re heading up.”

So, today I was sitting wondering why these boys needed me at all.  They already have the spirit of scouting!  They are Loyal, Helpful, Friendly, Courteous, and Kind.  They are founded on their love of God.  I’ve got nothing to do.  Why did God give me guys that would make anybody proud.  I thought I was here to raise up a lost generation.  My answer was simple.  Ever try to build a human pyramid?  Your strongest people must be at the bottom.  They are the ones that will hold the others up.  If a man falls at the top, he falls and perhaps takes another with him.  If a man at the foundation falls the whole pyramid is doomed.

You know in the big picture, the scout master won’t actually build character in the boys.  The boys inspire each other.  What the scout master really does is open a window so that the boys can help each other through.  He limits the options that they are going to be presenting to each other.  Those limits are his window. 

God was telling me that he didn’t have time for me to develop a solid core.  “Here you go, I want your troop founded on the rock.”  Now why would that be?  I guess I’ll be watching for some new boys to be walking past my window