My daughter's Girl Scout Troop doesn't have much emphasis on the religious aspect of Scouting. Her Troop is very involved with helping the community, helping younger Girl Scouts, and having fun as just girls. My daughter is learning about respect for herself and for others. The girls are learning to be independent, responsible, and strong young women.
My older son's Boy Scout Troop doesn't seem to be very religious focused either. The do lots of camping and outdoorsy type activities. Their Troop is boy run. Meaning primarily the older boys plan the activities and teach the younger boys. It is amazing how much more responsible my son is becoming because of this. He is learning from the examples of the older boys in the Troop.
Cub Scouting is very different. At each age level, Tiger through Webelo, there is an achievement requirement called Duty to God. This year my youngest son is a Wolf Cub and for Faith he has to:
- Talk with your family about what they believe is their Duty to God.
- Give two ideas on how you can practice or demonstrate your religious beliefs, choose one and do it.
- Find out how you can help your church, synagogue, mosque, temple or religious fellowship.
This is how we worked it out.
For #1, we talked about doing no harm. Which means no harm to others, ourselves, and the Earth. We talked about ways to do this, like being respectful, using nice words, keeping our hands to ourselves, and the many things we do in our daily lives to help the earth. I also told my son, "I feel it's my duty to teach him and his siblings about our families beliefs."
My son came up with one idea for #2 and I helped him with the second idea. His idea was to recycle. He said, "Because when we recycle Mommy, we're taking care of the Earth." Since Ostara was just around the corner when we started working on this, my idea was to have him help with our Ostara preparations. (A job that usually done be me or my oldest daughter.) We did choose to do the second idea, because we decided to use his idea (and some others) for #3.
We don't belong to an "official" religious fellowship. I am mostly a solitary practitioner, except for when I'm working with my children. So my son and I decided to talk about how we could help the Earth, since she is sacred to us and we do plenty of outdoor rituals. Of course he talked about recycling again, this kid loves to recycle it's his favorite job. We just started gardening and composting last year. Composting helps the earth by reusing plant matter instead of just dumping it in the garbage. When we grow our own food in the garden it tastes better and is healthier. It also cuts down on our buying of food that is mass produced. This is how our family is helping the Earth which to us is our place of worship.
I think that being a Scout is important to my children's growth and learning outside the family. I know it is a bit of a challenge to work in our personal faith with Scouting, but it is definitely worth doing.