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Religious Emblems Coordinators can help you retain Scouts

URECLooking for a time-tested method for retaining Scouts? Put your faith in religious emblems.

The research is clear: Scouts working on their religious emblems remain in Scouting longer.

And considering that more than two-thirds of our chartered organizations are faith-based, religious emblems represent a way to make your relationship with your unit’s chartered organization more of a two-way street.

I first told you about the Unit Religious Emblems Coordinator position a year ago. The unit-level coordinator, along with the Council Religious Emblems Coordinator and District Religious Emblems Coordinator, will educate, motivate, evaluate and facilitate the religious emblems program.

What I’ve always loved about the religious emblems program is that there’s something for everyone of any faith. That means any Scout (or Scouter) — Baha’i or Baptist, Moravian or Methodist — can team with his faith leaders to earn religious emblems and become closer to his faith.

Find more about these new positions at this Unit Religious Emblems Coordinator orientation page.

REC-3-patches


Photo from Flickr: Some rights reserved by ankatank

30 Comments on Religious Emblems Coordinators can help you retain Scouts

  1. Bryan It has become ironic about religion in scouting the argument for allowing youth homosexuals in to Scouting was that we are not a religious organization it looks like the BSA wants it both ways you can promote scouting through religious emblem coordinators but please except homosexuals that are against most of the religions of the world. This world has become confusing enough for our youth and scouting should not become another den of confusion. My hopes are that our scouts can figure things out for themselves they certainly are not receiving moral guidance from the National Board only confusion. Trenton Spears

    • http://now.msn.com/british-scouting-association-changes-pledge-to-include-atheists?ocid=vt_fbmsnnow

      After 106 years, scout pledge changes to include atheist members

      The British Scouting Association has been around for more than a century, and, for the first time, it’s altered its pledge for atheist children. For 106 years, the U.K.’s version of Boy Scouts have held up three fingers and pledged, “On my honor, I promise that I will do my best, to do my duty to God and to the Queen, to help other people and to keep the Scout Law.” There have been variations on that pledge for Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists and non-U.K. citizens (sorry, your majesty) but never one for members “who are without a faith.” At least until now.

      The new pledge, which will be available beginning in January 2014, swaps the first line for “I promise that I will do my best to uphold our Scout values.” This change follows the Girl Guides’ decision to also remove the phrase “to love my God” from their own pledge. “This is a massive step forward,” the president of the National Secular Society told NBC News. “It means that the Scout movement is at last open to everyone, and young people who don’t have a religious belief can join in good conscience.” Amen to that

      Not exactly what Baden Powell had envisioned for his organization.

  2. Hi Trenton,

    As a Catholic Religious Emblem Coordinator for Cub Scouts, I felt the same way at the beginning of this controversey. I sought guidance from my faith and found more understanding. I suggest this for anyone and their struggle with this issue regardless of their faith.

    May God bless you!

    • Glenn no struggle here I have the King James Bible to guide me on religion not the BSA and its new and changing policies. When God reveals through his prophets that homosexuality is not a sin then I will obey His new and everlasting covenant for his children till then man cannot change the present laws of Gods doctrine for their misguided reasons. I firmly believe that Scouting has left its values for the sake of policies that were not very researched and at best discrimination against religion. I believe we have come to the point that the BSA should not be referring to anything religious in scouting they tossed that out with the new policy on admitting Youth Homosexuals into scouting. Glenn when you sought guidance on this issue whom did you receive your answer from and please explain how your source was able to convince you to change your mind and have a better understanding of excepting homosexuality as not a sin. Sincerely, Trenton Spears

  3. Very timely post. My son recently completed the religious emblem requirements to receive this Hindu religious metal and received approval of this work from the NAHA. He is being sent the Dharma religious metal and Certificate of Completion. We requested information on how to report completion of the requirements to the BSA from our Troop Advancement Coordinator who was not sure. It’s the first time in memory that a metal was earned. The District Religious Emblems Coordinator is not sure BSA records the religious emblems in the scouts records but is checking.

    Does the BSA track the emblem when earned and is the youth religious knot recorded with the other awards?
    What documentation does the BSA required for the scout to receive the youth religious knot?

    Any help is appreciated , thank you

    • Congratulations to your son for his hard work!
      I would not count on anything being recorded automatically.
      I think most scout shops will sell you the knot upon presentation of the certificate of completion. Some might do it on “scout’s honor.”

      • you go to you go committee person who is in charge of order rank/merit badges and ask them to order your scout a religious knot for his uniform. At the next Court of Honor they should give him his knot and tell everyone why he got it. They can also present the medal. You can ask a member of your faith to be there too. Most faiths present the medal itself in the house of worship.
        :)

    • Congratulations to your Son for his achievment! The Scout office does not record this information, nor restrict the purchase of the square knot for this award since this award was earned through his church, not BSA.

  4. If a boy is a Cub Scout, they can use the medals as fulfilling requirements for bear and Webelos rank. I have always been a bit disappointed that while most religions do have a Boy Scout-aged religious medal, there is nowhere in the rank structure for a boy scout to acknowledge earning it.

    Medals are not awarded at a pack meeting/court of honor. http://Www.usscouts.org has a good explanation, that basically boils down to medals are awarded at the place of worship, and the universal silver knot on purple background is awarded at a pack meeting/court of honor.

    If your son is a Cub Scout, the proper channel is to tell the den leader he has finished the requirements for the award, and the den leader should alert the Advancement chairman to purchase the knot and the cubmaster so s/he can plan a small ceremony at the next pack meeting. If your son is a Boy Scout, he should speak to the Advancement coordinator and tell him/her the same thing, and the knot can be awarded at the next Court of Honor.

    As for medal presentation, the parents/scout need to talk with the religious leader who assisted the scout and plan an appropriate ceremony at the religious institution.

    I’ve acted as our pack’s unofficial religious emblems coordinator for years, but seeing as I just moved to a new state/units, I have to now work my way into the official title.

    • Hi Elizabeth. On the purple leadership knot signifying a youth religious emblem, you can add small devices to it which show what level of cub/boy scout earned the religious emblem. An example is below.

      http://anglican-scouting.org/423/wp-content/uploads/2013/02/youth_religious_award_with_devices.jpg

      There are gold metal devices for a Cub Scout, Webelos Scout, Boy Scout and Venturer, which can be worn all the time. My son has three and primarily wears them for Courts of Honor because the device backs sometimes scratch the skin.

      Hope this helps.

      • I know about the extra rank devices to show when the boy earns a second or third medal (my oldest three sons have earned all three, and my younger three are working on #’s 1 and 2). But I have found the knots so thick with embroidery it’s hard to poke the pins through! I still don’t know why earning a medal or discussing faith (as is in the Bear and Webelos requirements) isn’t somehow a part of Boy Scouts.

      • Candace Mack // October 7, 2013 at 9:10 pm // Reply

        Rubber pin backs solve that problem. They are less apt to fall off too. http://www.amazon.com/Black-Rubber-Pin-Backs-Pack/dp/B0038Y0RDK

  5. Laurie Wiltse // October 7, 2013 at 11:29 am // Reply

    We are Catholic and my boys were presented their religious emblems of faith at mass yesterday. As Scouts we all believe in a higher power, but Scouts Law does not dictate what our morals should be beyond Trustworthiness, Loyalty, Helpfulness, Friendliness, Courtesy, Kindness, Obedience, Cheerfulness, Thriftiness, Bravery, Cleanliness and Reverence. As we teach our children our personal moral codes remember that your beliefs and mine may be different, but we can still both be good people. There should be no room for hate or judgement in religion or Scouting. We are stronger because of our deversity.

  6. Religion should NOT be part of the organization. You want kids to stay longer? Help them actually EARN the Eagle award and Order of the Arrow.

    • Patrick, you obviously have read the writings of Lord Baden Powell. I suggest you do then get back to us.

  7. The only long term record I have seen is that if the medal is purchased through praypub.org, which is where most medals can be recorded and purchased, they do register the medal’s completion. If anyone ever loses their medal or need proof they earned it, praypub will have a record of it.

  8. Bob Basement // October 7, 2013 at 1:23 pm // Reply

    So why should the BSA record an award earned outside the organization?

    My son had league lowest handicap for the season on the wednseday night bowling league, should that be recorded?

    We are both Leave no trace master educators….Should that be recorded?

    You would answer no to both.

    • Maybe someone is concerned that it be recorded somewhere so if the boy enters it somewhere as an accomplishment on an Eagle application (whether a third party mentions it in a reference letter or the boy references it regarding his project) he knows that it can be verified? Many people fake awards and medals and ribbons, so I can see making sure there is some sort of third party verification. That’s one reason I can see having the medal recorded as being useful.

    • Candace Mack // October 7, 2013 at 9:06 pm // Reply

      Religious emblems are officially recognized by the BSA and are part of A Scout is Reverent, an inherent part of the scout oath. That is the difference.

    • Bob Basement // October 8, 2013 at 7:47 am // Reply

      Sports awards are also part of the scout oath,

      Physically fit.

      Leave no trace is also part of the scout law, clean

  9. Wow, its hard to believe so many make this a platform to try to dictate to others how to believe, etc… BSA decided to establish the Religion Coordinator position and its their right to do so and to publicize it here. If you don’t like it, don’t fill the position with your group and don’t villianize those who do. Sheesh.

    And of course Religion is a part of Boy Scouts – every religion. With so few organizations actively teaching morals, we need both the BSA and organized religion’s help to teach boys how to be men. Few others are stepping up to the plate. So let the boys learn from all good sources and then let them follow the dictates of their hearts.

  10. Candace Mack // October 7, 2013 at 9:05 pm // Reply

    Religious emblems are officially recognized by the BSA and are part of A Scout is Reverent, an inherent part of the scout oath. That is the difference.

  11. I have had the privilege of teaching the boys the Christian Religious emblems, I have taught all the levels. As a Director of Christian Education at my church, I do a lot of teaching and have seen many great books to teach from. I have enjoyed all the Pray publishing books except for the high school level. It is so out of date for high school teens, Many of them struggle with faith as it is, and this high school book does not make it fun or attractive for a teen. I have taught this class once, and really struggled with it. This program needs to be revamped. This can be a great tool for those who do not practice faith daily, but needs to be made more current with todays teens. Kudos to all that teach these classes!

  12. If a troop is affiliated with a religious institution and has a troop chaplain, having a unit REC would be superfluous if the chaplain is promoting the religious award for that religion..

  13. I’ve been a religious awards advisor for the Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts of our Eastern Orthodox Christian church for many years. We have awards for multiple age levels (St. George, Chi Rho, and Alpha Omega), and I have found them to be a very positive way of engaging parents with the Scout in discussions of their faith in action. Family involvement is a good predictor of success in school, in transmitting values and faith, and in participation in long-term, values-based activities like Scouting.

  14. I am a Council Religious Emblems Coordinator. Even though the Religious Emblems are designed and administered by the different faith groups. The earning of the religious emblems is part of the duty that every Scout promises to do when they recite the Cub Scout Promise, Boy Scout Oath or the Venturer’s Creed. “A DUTY TO GOD.”

  15. Cub scout leader // February 18, 2014 at 2:19 am // Reply

    Religion should not be a part of scouting. Leaders and the organization should be focusing on promoting good parenting, The scouts well being, leadership, confidence and attaining goals.

    Leave spirituality to the parents and churches where it belongs.

    One should remember – It is the boys and young men lacking guidance that need Scouting the most.

    Once 411 takes effect in 2015. I will tolerate my parents and search for an adult to volunteer to teach the my scouts the upcoming new religious requirements or resign my post as a scout leader.

  16. Cub Scout Leader, My thoughts are you should just resign your post now and be done with it. The point of the Religious Emblems Coordinator IS to promote spirituality with parents and churches. Religious education is part of the foundation that makes good citizens and good scouts. Leadership, confidence and attaining goals are also parts of the foundation as well but don’t discount religion as you know reverance is part of the oath.

  17. Contrary to your statement, Bryan, there is not “something for everyone of every faith”. Native American religions, Unitarian Universalists, pagans, Wiccans, and those of faith who do not espouse organized religion as a matter of conscience cannot earn any faith-based award, yet we are all able to honestly sign the Declaration of Religious principle, do our duty to God, and live the last point of the Scout law (reverence). I’m not clamoring for an emblem, but it can be problematic when you have an overly zealous leader who hounds your sons to earn a religious emblem… which doesn’t exist for them.

    In our last troop (chartered by a secular community organization) the Scoutmaster placed quite a bit of emphasis on earning religious emblems. Woe unto the Scout who confessed to not being part of one of the BSA-sanctioned religions! Sadly, he felt justified in part because certain belief systems are not acknowledged or expressly approved by the BSA. This was not appropriate or healthy for my sons, nor for anyone who wanted to teach their sons to value diversity.

    We left that troop.

    I think we all do a fine job of teaching our children the principles of faith we as parents find important. BSA should place less emphasis on religion and place more emphasis on respect for others, no matter their faith tradition (or lack of it).

  18. Some do not know they sin. God’s Law shows us our sin and our need for God. By having religious emblems coordinators, scouts of all backgrounds, sinful, those who are lost and in the dark, those who have fallen away from their faith can be shown the way. Don’t refuse the children, teach them. Help them come to God.

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