"Oh Lord, build me a Scout whose heart will be clear, whose goals will be high.
A Scout who will master himself before he seeks to master others,
one who will march into the future, yet never forget the past..."
The Boy Scouts of America celebrate annually in the month of February the Anniversary of the founding of the Boy Scout program by Lord Baden Powell in England. Scout Sunday was added to the scout celebration around the middle 1940s. Scouting's anniversary is celebrated on February 8. Scout Sunday is always the Sunday preceding the 8th, unless the 8th is a Sunday, in which case the 8th would be Scout Sunday. The Saturday following February 8th is Scout Sabbath.
Scout Sunday tradition was started to make people in church aware of Scouting, and to allow Scouts to live out parts of what is pledged each week.
The Scout Law says that a "Scout is Reverent" and the Scouts of all ages promise to do their "Duty to God". These values strengthen youth character in their family, community and faith.
An organization can adopt a specific Sunday to celebrate. In the instance of the United Methodist Church, Scout Sunday is celebrated on the second Sunday in February. It also is permissible for a local church to celebrate on the Sunday most acceptable to the pastor and congregation.
Steps for a successful Scout Sunday/Sabbathsted Time Line
- Set date of observance with Unit Leaders, planning committees, other organizations and sponsors of Scouting.
- Begin planning meetings 3 months prior to Scout Sunday/Sabbath.
- Submit announcements in the bulletin 2 months before Scout Sunday/Sabbath.
- Three weeks before Scout Sunday announce in the bulletin the need for youth and adult support through their attendance. Reconfirm the details with all contact members.
- Rehearse with all participants the day before the event.
- Scout Sunday - assemble 30 minutes or more before the service, set up displays and secure all final coordinations.
- Reflect on the Scriptures and Scouting Connections.
- Planning Scout Sunday/Sabbath activities, an overview of the recommended planning activities.
- Secure approval from the church.
- Work with planning committee.
- Music (Based on the readings and the season)
- Calendar event and pre-meetings.
- "Advertise" - Scout Uniforms (Shirt, Pants, and/or Hats), recognitions to be presented, Charter Presentation
- Role of the Scout/Scouter; Greeters, Ushers, Servers
Scout Sunday Observance
This is a suggested format for your unit's annual Scout Sunday observance:
There are a variety of materials to support Scout Sunday efforts, including a suggested order of worship for Scout Sunday titled A Scout Is Reverent, No. 5-961, that may be adapted to meet the organization's needs. This publication includes hymns, prayers, responsive readings, quotes, and benedictions. In addition, the council Scout Shop can provide religious service program covers, No. 3004, and one-page inserts, No. 3005B.
25 Scout Sunday Ideas
1. If your unit is sponsored by a Church, arrive together & in Uniform - During the service sit together at the front of the pews. This will allow the congregation to see you and make your unit more visible to church members.
2. If the church you attend does not have a Scouting program, come to Church in your Scout Uniform. Many pastors are aware of Scout Sunday and will discuss it at some point in the service. Often there will be quite a number of Scouts and Adults in uniform at this service. If possible, share your plans with your pastor, rabbi, or minister so they will be aware of Scout Sunday.
3. Have your Scouts serve as Ushers during the service
4. Have Scouts serve as Alter Bearers during the processional. Depending on your church's beliefs & customs, it may be appropriate to bring in the colors during the service
5. Have scouts lead the congregation in the responsive readings or as lectors when bible verses are to be read. If appropriate, choose from among several that incorporate the Scout Oath or Law. An excellent one can be found at the National Association of United Methodist Scouters (NAUMS) website.
6. Have a display in the hallway about scouting or present Scouting on a bulletin board. Try to sign up new members for your Pack or Troop
7. Have a Saturday Night lock in at the church, perhaps arrange a model campsite. It will attract a lot of attention on Sunday morning and many church members will want to visit the campsite and ask questions about the troop.
8. Have the scouts be in charge of the refreshments. Make it even more interesting by having the scouts cook some of their Dutch oven favorites
9. Present a plaque of the Eagle Scouts from the Church Sponsored unit or try to schedule an Eagle Scout Ceremony either as a part of the church service or immediately after. These are impressive events and will draw the interest of your church members.
10. Have members of the Congregation who were in Scouting or are Eagle Scouts Stand Up. You may also want to ask Girl Scout Members or those who have earned the Gold Award to also stand.
11. Use Scout Sunday to award religious emblems that your scouts have earned.
12. Present Adult Leader Religious Award recognition. These awards are by nomination only. It is a great way to recognize members of the congregation who have been involved in Scouting over a number of years.
13. If your troop has recently re-chartered, consider having the Charter formerly presented by the Pastor or a Local Scouting official to the Church.
14. Earn your Church's Religious Award for the Unit. Most church sponsored units can earn a special recognition for unit itself that is very similar to a BSA Quality Unit Award. Check with your church body's Scouting Committee to see what the requirements for the award are for your faith.
15. If you have been a Scouter long enough, chances are you have a cabinet full of Coffee Mugs. Consider donating them to the church's pantry. During the refreshment break after church all of the parishioners will be drinking coffee, talking to each other, and will be looking directly at your Scouting Coffee mugs for years to come - it is a great way to remind all in the church that there is a Scout Troop there.
16. Many Councils conduct a Scouting for Food drive as a part of Scout Week. Let the congregation know that your troop will be collecting canned goods and other non perishable items before and after the service.
17. Conduct a Service Project Work Day after the service. There are often many projects that need help at a church and a Sunday afternoon may be a great time so do some of these. A church based Eagle Project is often a great event to schedule on a Scout Sunday.
18. Let your more responsible Scouts offer to run the church's Nursery during the service so the regular members can worship with their families.
19. Have your Troop Historian prepare a photo spread of your troop and have the pictures on display as members enter the church so they can see what scouts do.
20. Does your church give scouts a separate building to hold meetings in? Try having an open house with the scouts demonstrating various skills. Have refreshments served there so everyone will stop by after the service to see what scouts can do.
21. If appropriate, have one of your scouts deliver a message or sermon during the service.
22. Some units have a program where scouts are recognized for wearing their uniforms to church on a regular basis.
23. Construct and erect a sign on the church property noting that the church sponsors a Scout Troop, Pack, Girl Scouts, etc. with meeting times. Be sure to check for any city ordinances before doing this. The sign is a great way to build community awareness about Scouting.
24. Consider using the BSA's Church Bulletin covers to print the Church Bulletin on. Supply Division has several excellent selections that will add a lot to the service.
25. Have the Troop's Chaplain Aide offer one of the prayers during the service.
Adapted with the permission of the Cimarron Council, Enid, OK