At councils across the country, Ten Commandments hikes help Scouts and Venturers learn more about their faith and the faiths and cultures of others.
An upcoming example: the 10th annual Ten Commandments Hike in the Baden Powell District, part of the North Florida Council. It’s scheduled for Feb. 4, 2017.
Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts will visit 10 houses of worship in downtown Fernandina Beach, Fla. At each stop along the way, they’ll learn about the faith, see the worship space and hear an explanation of one of the Ten Commandments.
“It is an interfaith and cross-cultural event,” says Pamela Anno, the event’s coordinator. “Scouts will gain greater understanding of religions of fellow Scouts and a greater tolerance of others’ religious beliefs.”
Multiple faiths are represented. While there’s no synagogue in Fernandina Beach, Anno says a rabbi will explain one of the Commandments from a dock overlooking the ocean.
Anno says many Scouts will be interested to learn that some faiths, such as Judaism, use a different numbering system for the Commandments. Catholicism’s First Commandment, for example, is the same as the First and Second Commandments in Judaism.
Planning an event where 200 to 400 Scouts and Scouters walk to 10 different places of worship isn’t easy. Anno recruits some Scouts to serve as runners who dash ahead to the next place of worship to let everyone know they’re on the way.
Other Scouts and leaders carry first-aid kits. Two police officers help with traffic and street crossings.
“Usually this is something we would have to pay for, but the same two officers volunteer to do this every year,” Anno says.
Scouts and Scouters enjoy walking to each location, Anno says, The people of Fernandina Beach seem to like what they see as well. A Ten Commandments hike offers a visible sign that Scouting is thriving in this community.
“When we are stopped in public, the tourists and people who live here stop and sometimes ask questions,” Anno says. Sometimes they’ll ask, “where can we get more information about joining?”
Other Ten Commandments hikes
In addition to this Florida event, Ten Commandments hikes have taken place in California, Indiana, Louisiana, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Texas and Utah.
Have you participated in one? Leave a comment below.