Scout Sunday 2016 and Scout Sabbath 2016: Your complete guide

Scout-Sunday-2016-patchScout units and religious-based chartered organizations share a special bond that lasts all year.

But on certain days each year — namely Scout Sunday and Scout Sabbath — we set aside time to celebrate a partnership that benefits all parties involved: the religious institution, Scouts, Scouters and the communities they serve.

On these important days, which are timed to fall near the Feb. 8 anniversary of the Boy Scouts of America, Scouts give back in visible and meaningful ways.

In some units, that means simply wearing the full field uniform to worship services, where the worship leader presents religious awards to Scouts and Scouters. In others, the pack, troop, team or crew conducts a service project that benefits the religious organization.

How does your unit participate?

To get started, visit this BSA guide to Scout Sunday observances or this BSA guide to Scout Sabbath services.

Then keep reading for your complete guide to Scout Sunday and Scout Sabbath.

When is Scout Sunday this year?

There’s a short answer and a longer answer.

Short answer: It’s the Sunday before Feb. 8 — the birthday of the Boy Scouts of America. That means this year, Scout Sunday is Feb. 7, 2016.

Longer answer: Each chartered organization can adopt any specific Sunday to celebrate. Officially, the BSA says a local church may celebrate “on the Sunday most acceptable to the pastor and congregation.” In the United Methodist Church, for example, the second Sunday in February is set aside for Scout Sunday. That means this year it’s on Feb. 14, 2016.

Your best bet is to check with your chartered organization representative.

Scout-Shabbat-patch-2016What about Scout Sabbath?

Scout Sabbath, for Jewish Scout units, is always the Saturday after Scout Sunday. This year, it falls on Feb. 13, 2016.

Learn more about this special day here.

NOTE: Though the National Jewish Committee on Scouting has designated Feb. 13 as Scout Sabbath this year, some councils will celebrate the occasion on other days. Check with your council or local Jewish Committee on Scouting to verify the date.

How can I celebrate Scout Sunday 2016 or Scout Sabbath 2016?

These come from our friends on the Scouting magazine Facebook page:

  • “Lowes UMC has asked us to hold an Eagle Ceremony during the church service for a very deserving young man. As Scoutmaster, I was unsure at first, but now I feel this a wonderful way to celebrate Scout Sunday and thank the church for their many years of support.” – Derick S.
  • “We’re celebrating our troop’s 75th anniversary! We’re having a dinner with all of our troop’s past Eagle Scouts and then celebrating eight new young men earning their Eagle Scout.” – Seth C.
  • “We have a member from the troop reading the Scout Law while members of the Webelos light an eagle that has 12 candles on it (one for each part of the law). I also have a guest speaker lined up that will talk about what Scouting means to them. Our service is usually really meaningful. I try to use as many of the Scouts in the service fromgreeters to readers to ushers to members of the color guard.” – Amy Q.
  • “All the boys in our troop and pack and their leaders are encouraged to attend services that day in their ‘Class A’ uniforms. The following week, photos taken of the Scouts with their clergy are published in the local paper.” Mary L.
  • “The youth in our pack, troop and crew will serve as greeters and gift bearers in Mass and then have an information booth at Coffee & Donuts.” – Linda C.
  • “Our church has invited Scoutmaster Brian Wallace (featured in Scouting magazine) to be our guest preacher at First United Methodist Church of Germantown.” – Ann P.
  • “My Scouts have earned their Light of Christ religious medal and they will be receiving it at church on Scout Sunday.” – Lorie T.
  • “We established a Scout Sunday service where we invite all Scouts — Boy, Girl, Cub, Venturer, Life (past and present). We collect food for our local food pantry, have special guest speakers such as local leaders and Eagle Scouts, show photo slideshows of Scouts in action, play videos, share refreshments, display awards and projects, and of course have a very special sermon. It’s a great event!” – MJ N.
  • “Our troop attends the first service on Sunday. Between the services we host a pancake breakfast for the parishioners. The Scouts serve and bus tables as needed.” – Heidi B.
  • “Being the only BSA member within 100 miles, I’ll wear my dress blazer with Catholic International Awareness medal and Silver Beaver to Mass at the chapel here in the mountains of México.” – Dean W.

Find more great responses here.

Where can I get Scout Sunday 2016 “stuff”?

Visit your local Scout shop or to grab these official item:


    • **Encourage your Scouts to pursue the award for their faith. Look in the back of the Scout Handbook for info, or google “Scout award XYZ faith” . Their faith leader can be contacted and invited to serve as the counselor for that award.
      ** Sometimes, a neighborhood House of Worship can be contacted and the faith leader may invite Scouts to attend in uniform. Maybe charter their own Unit?

    • Encourage the boys to wear their uniform to their respective worship services on that day. (Depending on how diverse you youth are, you might want to make sure no particular dress is required for their worship). They may want to buddy up with scouts from other units who attend their church.

      P.S. – Seasoned scouters: if your house of worship does not host a BSA unit, be on the lookout for boys and girls from other units wearing their uniforms. Consider having a patch from your mothballed collection to give to each scout who wears his/her uniform. Better yet, ask whoever leads the service if they could take a moment to recognize those scouts.

      Obviously, consider wearing your uniform to your house of worship that day.

  1. If only my unit treated them the same. The boys get credit for attending Scout Sunday at our CO Church, but the Jewish boys in the troop, who feel uncomfortable attending a church service, do NOT get credit for attending Scout Sabbath.

    • “Get credit”? Who gives out that “credit”? If the Scout attends the worship of his/her family’s faith, then he/she has fulfilled their Duty to God, yes? Why would they not “get credit”? Perhaps you can contact the Rabbi for those boys and see that they have the opportunity to “get credit”.
      If your CO’s Sabbath is on First Day (sunday) and their Sabbath is another day, who is to judge? Every day is the Lord’s day, we just “borrowt” it.

    • Units not chartered by religious organizations, and for those boys whose faith practice is different from their chartering organizations, can either approach a local congregation to host a Scout Sunday/Scout Shabbat, can contact the religious institutions represented by the boys in the unit, or hold a Scout’s Own service of their own. I am organizing a Scout Shabbat for the Jewish boys in the district whose synagogues are not having a Scout Shabbat event themselves. I have just been appointed our District Chaplain, and am looking at how to communicate this event to the units in our District.

    • Your unit is missing a lot of opportunities here. Having youth members attend their unit’s CO
      s worship service on this day is not just about their faith, but a show of appreciation of that congregations support of their Scouting adventures. Also, if you have youth members of many faiths than showing support (A Scout is Loyal) of fellow Troop members by attending their House of Worships services is a learning opportunity. No one says any member of the Scout unit must participate or convert, just willingly attend (and maybe learn something). I don’t get the “credit” thing, somewhere in the Christian Bible it mentions something about judging others, but that’s not the point of Scout Sunday.

    • Credit for what? Our pack is chartered by a Catholic Church but we live in a big city and have families of many faiths in our pack. All duty to God requirements are to be completed at home. Who I am to judge how another person on their faith? Who are you? Who is your CO? Is he God? No? Then he can stop with trying to dictate another persons faith.

  2. If it is timely, Scout Sabbath is a perfect time for your Commissioner to present the IH the Charter Certificates for the Scout Units the CO sponsors. Our Methodist church charters 4 Scout Units. If only I could get the CCerts in time, but usually not until about March or April (!).

  3. I like Scout Sunday, but dislike the fact that the Catholic boys and parents in our Troop/Crew seem to think they don’t have to attend Mass if on a campout. These are the same kids who want to get their religious award. No one is perfect, but to miss Mass on purpose is considered wrong. How do other Catholic parents handle this?

    • I would not be so quick to judge. For example, how do you know that they are not attending a Mass when they get home? Sunday evening Masses are quite common. Also, if you are that passionate about this issue, then perhaps you are the ideal volunteer to seek out opportunities that allow your Catholic membership to fulfill their obligation. As a youth, I recall our Scoutmaster (a devout Catholic) making such arrangements for the Catholic troop membership. What a great excuse to sport the full uniform while checking out new parishes.

    • It certainly isn’t mass, but we try to have an interfaith or scouts-own service when we’re out on the trail. This has satisfied many Catholic parents (and has been a positive opportunity for the scouts and venturers who organized the service). I guess that partly worked because their priest was a scout and encouraged scouting.

      At one event, one friend asked if he could step out to drive to Saturday evening mass. His daughter went with him. I offered that we could all go, but he said that was okay.

      In general, try to work with the priest and the youth to come to an understanding of how best to fulfill their duty to God in these circumstances.

    • It is none of your business how another person fulfills their faith. If you dislike it so much maybe instead of posting here in judgement you can say a prayer for them. You don’t need to tell anyone about your silent prayer. It is not about looking faithful. It is about being faithful.

    • This isn’t an issue with our troop but in most cases there are sufficient options for Catholic scouts. I realize that some small communities won’t have the range of Mass options but if you have at least one Sunday evening option you should be good even if the Troop arrives home a little later than usual. If not, it is a good idea to try to be back in time for the last Mass when ever possible. When our Troop camp outs take us farther afield, we look for Saturday evening or early Sunday Mass near the camp or appropriate Mass times along the road home. On one occasion we were able to bring a priest with us and had Mass at the camp site. Also, our Diocesan Catholic Committee on Scouting arranges a Mass at Camporees

      Ultimately, along as the Troop plans allow the Catholic Scouts the opportunity to attend Mass, the only other thing you can do, individually, is offer rides to the later Mass.

      In our Troop, until our parish (and CO) added a Sunday evening youth Mass,the problem we had was with parents who wouldn’t allow kids to go if we couldn’t guarantee we’d be back in time for their family’s traditional Mass time, or would come and pick Jr.up early. (There was a 5:30 p option 5 miles from our parish). It was frustrating because we had scouts who had never helped strike camp and unload the trailer.

  4. We were planing a court of honor for Scout Sunday. Then we looked at the calendar and realized it’s also Superbowl Sunday.

    • Good for you! There’s no reason why the grossly commercialized exhibition of grossly overpaid athletes beating up on each other should interfere with the celebration of your Scouts’ achievements. It also presents to your Scouts (and their parents) the opportunity to think about how Scouting is perhaps more important that an athletic contest. Go for it.

  5. LDS troops don’t celebrate Scout Sunday or Scout Sabbath. They’re already there in church every Sunday. They also shouldn’t wear their Scout uniform to church.

    • For clarification, the LDS Scouting Handbook states the following on Scouting Month:

      “February has traditionally been designated as Scouting Month in the United States. Leaders of Scouting units chartered by the Church may plan and carry out approved activities to recognize this tradition. However, in keeping with the purposes of Sabbath observance, boys and leaders do not wear their uniforms to regular Sunday meetings or while administering and passing the sacrament.”

      Although scouting uniforms are not worn to church on Sundays (white shirt and tie with dress slacks are the “Sunday uniform” for LDS scouts), sometime during February, LDS chartered units, under direction of the bishopric who typically includes the COR, could focus some of the Sunday Sacrament meeting talks and /or priesthood quorum discussions on the blessings of Scouting.

  6. The 2016 patch has no religious references or image. None at all! Sunday should have a capital “S”. What does a bird looking at a Kaleidoscope image have to do with religion?

    • Friend, hast thou seen the “COEXIST” bumper sticker that includes in it’s font the symbology of the Hebrew, Christian, Muslim, B’Hai, Taoist and LGBT ? It is hard to evoke a spiritual feeling that does not exclude some by purpose. How wouldst thou have designed such a patch? We have a patch for a Faith Walk open house weekend, it uses a rising flame against a blue background.
      The BSA is , of course, a religious organization but contrary to my spouses opinion of my activities, NOT a religion! Nor is it of any one faith in particular, and there is the rub. In my capacity as a Scout Chaplain, I have , on more than one occasion , had to disabuse folks of the idea that the BSA is ONLY a Christian organization.
      I think it is a good looking patch.

  7. As a Catholic unit, our Scout Sunday is a Mass and we don’t have the “options” others may have. We involve all the BSA units and the American Heritage Girls sponsored by the parish. The altar servers are selected from the units, the lectors, ushers,and those who bring up the gifts are uniformed youth. One of the uniformed Scouters in the choir is the cantor. Of course all members of all units (and parish members in other units) are encouraged to attend the designated Mass in uniform.

    There is a special prayer for Scouts and leaders in the General Intercessions and the priest does a special blessing at the end.

  8. I am very disappointed of this year design of the Scout Sunday 2016 patch. I will definitely not use this patch but design our own and pass it out to scouts. What does an eagle have to do with the Scout Sunday? There is no religious connotation. Moreover, the Christian churches (Catholic, non denomination, Baptist, Protestants) worship on Sunday, thus called Scout Sunday. The least they should do is to include a symbol of Christianity on the Scout Sunday Patch.

    • I agree the patch is not particularly faith specific. It was not intended to be. It is very colorful and maybe even pretty.
      Of course, we could nitpick about the name of the day. The usual name of the first day of the western week is named after a pagan god. Should we give that name the honor of a day of the week? Same with the rest of the names of the days and the names of the months! Except for September … December, named for the number of their position in the old Roman calendar, until ole Caesar Julius needed a new month to straighten out the calendar, but that’s another looong story. Should we honor pagan gods and pagan emperors thereby? Or just go along and worship God as he would want us to , that is, in all things?
      Then too, we could debate whether we worship corporately on the wrong day of the week (or are we merely counting our weekdays from the wrong end?) see Ex. 20:8–11.
      Thank you for your service and example to our youth. See you on the trail !

  9. The eagle in Christian art is emblematic of St. John the Evangelist, because like the eagle he looked upon, “the sun of glory.” The Word of God has the power to raise us up on eagles wings and bring us to heaven.

  10. Scout Sunday covers Christian Scouts and Scout Sabbath covers Jewish Scouts. Is there a day for Islamic Scouts? Is there a Scout Jumu’ah or other special day to commemorate Scouting in the Muslim faith community?

    • Matt, there is a Scout Jumu’ah… and it’s today!

      Disappointing to see that Bryan’s post only focused on the Judeo-Christian faiths (which sadly is typical of the BSA, and America, in general). Given some of the ugly Islamophobia going on in the country, it would be really nice to see some coverage on here of Scouting in the Muslim faith community. Perhaps Bryan could do a blog article on an Islamic Scouting event or unit. I know that the National Islamic Committee on Scouting has done some wonderful things for the Scouting world.

      • Actually, this effort is from a new organization called the National Association of Muslim Americans on Scouting. Scout Jumuah is a new effort that hasn’t previously been around as so there is reason to why Bryan may not have yet been aware of the effort. God willing, next year, there will be more visibility about this effort and more. As an Eagle Scout and a US Army Veteran, I believe strongly in the vision of Scouting. I’m joined by many at NAMAS in the vision of helping promoting Scouting in the Muslim Community. Learn more about us at

        • Abdual Rashid Abdulla –

          What is the difference between the National Association of Muslim Americans on Scouting (NAMAS) and The National Islamic Committee on Scouting (NICS)? Are they separate groups within the BSA? Why are there two groups with seemingly identical missions?

  11. I’m pretty sure Scout Sunday and Scout Sabbath only apply to observances on those days of the week. Any day can be chosen as a day to commemorate Scouting in a faith community.

  12. Last year a Committee member mentioned Scout Sunday can be any Sunday in February. Is that correct? Basically she advised the boys could serve any Sunday in February for it to be recognized. I can’t find anywhere it says this.

  13. There are lots of ways of making things like this happen.

    Last weekend, our Troop participated in a Scout Sunday service with our Charter Organization.

    None of the Scouts in our Troop belong to that congregation, but we view doing so as a show of respect and support for the folks who provide us a meeting place, “sign on the dotted line” each year when we recharter, etc. Scouts actively participated in the readings and other aspects of the service. It’s a great opportunity to learn about other faiths, I think.

    Today, I coordinated a Scout Sunday event at one of our local Catholic churches. It’s not the parish which my family belongs to, but I picked this up from a now retired Scouter who’d started it as part of his Wood Badge ticket. We had participants from 3 local Scout Troops, 2 Cub Packs, and Girl Scout Brownie and Junior Troops. A different flavor from the CO event described above, but I think both were valuable for both the Scouts and the congregations at both churches.

    There are probably a whole host of other ideas as well, anyone have any more to share?

  14. Ugh, 2 years in a row now we have gone to our Scout Shop the day after Scout Sunday to find that the patches are all gone, and will not be restocked! Our only option now is to spend $7.50 in shipping on a $3.50 patch. Is this a mess up at the National level, or local?

Join the conversation