Sunday will be a big day at churches across the country. And no, I don’t mean Broncos and Seahawks fans stopping by to say a prayer for their teams.
I’m talking about Scout Sunday, a chance for faith-based chartered organizations to celebrate and recognize Scouting and for Scout units to show their appreciation for the religious institution that supports their unit.
This Sunday (Feb. 2), at churches nationwide, you’ll see Scouts and Scouters in uniform greeting the congregation, participating in worship services, earning religious awards and conducting service projects to benefit their place of worship.
By official BSA designation, Scout Sunday is always the Sunday that falls before Feb. 8, Scouting Anniversary Day. In years when Feb. 8 falls on a Sunday, such as 2015, the BSA’s birthday and Scout Sunday are combined into one glorious day.
Scout Sabbath, for Jewish Scout units, is always the Saturday after Scout Sunday. This year, it falls on Feb. 8, 2014, meaning Jewish Scout units get their special day on the BSA’s actual birthday.
All of that said, chartered organizations may choose any Sunday to celebrate Scout Sunday or any Saturday to recognize Scout Sabbath. The United Methodist Church and the Presbyterian Church (USA), for example, celebrate Scout Sunday on the second Sunday of February.
At the most recent count, religious organizations make up 65 percent of chartered organizations using the traditional Scouting program. As those units know, chartered organizations provide much more than a place to meet and store gear. Scout Sunday is our chance to say thanks.
But how? For tips, I asked our Facebook friends. Here’s what they said:
Tips for making Scout Sunday and Scout Sabbath special
- Greet church members and visitors: “Our church’s Cub Scouts, Girl Scouts, Boy Scouts and Venturers will assist with greeting at the church doors, and will process in ahead of the choir at the 11:00 service. Our Charter Organization Representative has five minutes at the beginning of the service to recognize our units and to recognize everyone who has been impacted by Scouting in their own lives.” — Jim H.
- Assist during the service: “At the 10 a.m. family mass at the church where our pack and troop meet, we usually have three or four Scouts being altar servers, while others volunteer to be ushers and gift bearers. Then we serve pastries after mass downstairs.” — Pat L.
- Bring Scouting elements to the service: “As part of it, have the pastor ask the Scoutmaster to come forward and lead all current and former Scouts and leaders in the congregation in the Scout Oath. It’s amazing when folks see about 75 percent of the congregation stand up to do it!” — Gary W.
- Serve food: “As it turns out, we have a troop pancake breakfast at my church this Sunday morning, so I will probably show up to lead the music at the 11:30 mass attired in my Class A uniform, along with a few other Scouts in the congregation. I think it’s good when Scouts and Scouters mingle in the broader community.” — Serafin G.
- Present religious awards: “If any Scouts have earned a religious award, we present it to them.” — Pat L.
- Present non-religious awards: “[We're having] a court of honor for our newest Eagle Scout!” — Elizabeth H.
- Do some light recruiting/advertising for your unit: “Also, it is a good time to promote your troop, pack, crew or team. We bring a poster with pictures to show some recent activities.” — Pat L.
See more responses here, and share your ideas in the comments section below.
Another Scout Sunday/Scout Sabbath resources
Read Mark Ray’s piece on Scout Sunday and Scout Sabbath in Scouting magazine for even more great ideas.