By - Ed Henderson
NCS Chaplain B.S.A.
The first week of February is often referred to as Scouting Anniversary Week to commemorate the founding of the Boy Scouts of America and the issuing of our National Charter from Congress. The first Sunday in February (February
3rd) is called SCOUT SUNDAY (The United Methodist Church recognizes this day on the 2nd Sunday in February which this year is on February 10th).
Scout Sunday is celebrated by thousands of scouts each year at Churches & Synagogues across the United States. Here are 25 ideas you can incorporate into activities this year:
- If your unit is sponsored by a Church, arrive together & in Uniform - During the service sit together at the front of the pews. This will allow the congregation to see you and make your unit more visible to church members.
- If the church you attend does not have a Scouting program, come to Church in your Scout Uniform. Many pastors are aware of Scout Sunday and will discuss it at some point in the service. Often there will be quite a number of Scouts and Adults in uniform at this service. If possible, share your plans with your pastor, rabbi, or minister so they will be aware of Scout Sunday.
- Have your Scouts serve as Ushers during the service
- Have Scouts serve as Altar Bearers during the processional. Depending on your church's beliefs & customs, it may be appropriate to bring in the colors during the service
- Have scouts lead the congregation in the responsive readings or as lectors when bible verses are to be read. If appropriate, choose from among several that incorporate the Scout Oath or Law. An excellent one can be found at the NAUMS website: http://www.umcscouting.org/services/scout_sunday_1987.htm
- Have a display in the hallway about scouting or present Scouting on a bulletin board. Try to sign up new members for your Pack or Troop
- Have a Saturday Night lockin at the church, perhaps arrange a model campsite. It will attract a lot of attention on Sunday morning and many church members will want to visit the campsite and ask questions about the troop.
- Have the scouts be in charge of the refreshments. Make it even more interesting by having the scouts cook some of their Dutch oven favorites
- Present a plaque of the Eagle Scouts from the Church Sponsored unit or try to schedule an Eagle Scout Ceremony either as a part of the church service or immediately after. These are impressive events and will draw the interest of your church members.
- Have members of the Congregation who were in Scouting or are Eagle Scouts Stand Up. You may also want to ask Girl Scout Members or those who have earned the Gold Award to also stand.
- Use Scout Sunday to award religious emblems that your scouts have earned. For more information on the specific awards for your religious faith visit http://bsa.scouting.org/awards/religious/index.html
- Present Adult Leader Religious Award recognitions. These awards are by nomination only. It is a great way to recognize members of the congregation who have been involved in Scouting over a number of years.
- If your troop has recently rechartered, consider having the Charter formerly presented by the Pastor or a Local Scouting official to the Church.
- Earn your Church's Religious Award for the Unit. Most church sponsored units can earn a special recognition for unit itself that is very similar to a BSA Quality Unit Award. Check with your church body's Scouting Committee to see what the requirements for the award are for your faith.
- If you have been a Scouter long enough, chances are you have a cabinet full of Coffee Mugs. Consider donating them to the church's pantry. During the refreshment break after church all of the parishioners will be drinking coffee, talking to each other, and will be looking directly at your Scouting Coffee mugs for years to come - it is a great way to remind all in the church that there is a Scout Troop there.
- Many Councils conduct a Scouting for Food drive as a part of Scout Week. Let the congregation know that your troop will be collecting canned goods and other non perishable items before and after the service.
- Conduct a Service Project Work Day after the service. There are often many projects that need help at a church and a Sunday afternoon may be a great time so do some of these. A churched based Eagle Project is often a great event to schedule on a Scout Sunday.
- Let your more responsible Scouts offer to run the church's Nursery during the service so the regular members can worship with their families.
- Have your Troop Historian prepare a photo spread of your troop and have the pictures on display as members enter the church so they can see what scouts do.
- Does your church give scouts a separate building to hold meetings in? Try having an open house with the scouts demonstrating various skills. Have refreshments served there so everyone will stop by after the service to see what scouts can do.
- If appropriate, have one of your scouts deliver a message or sermon during the service.
- Some units have a program where scouts are recognized for wearing their uniforms to church on a regular basis.
- Construct and erect a sign on the church property noting that the church sponsors a Scout Troop, Pack, Girl Scouts, etc. with meeting times. Be sure to check for any city ordinances before doing this. The sign is a great way to build community awareness about Scouting.
- Consider using the BSA's Church Bulletin covers to print the Church Bulletin on. Supply Division has several excellent selections that will add a lot to the service.
- Have the Troop's Chaplain Aide offer one of the prayers during the service.