<< Our most recent posts are listed to the left … but the letters below give some context for what you might find on the website.
Imagine writing this letter to a parent in your Troop:
Dear Mr. Jones.
I am sorry about Johnny Scout’s horrible allergic reactions to the peanut butter sandwiches that we serve on all of our campouts. I didn’t ask the boys about their food alergies because I didn’t want to offend or embarrass anyone.
Most of us would never have to write the letter above, because we understand how important food allergies are. So, we are mindful of them before we serve food — and we handle each boy’s food requirements and preferences with sensitivity on an individual boy’s basis.
How about writing this one:
Dear Scouts and families,
This is to inform you that effective immediately, we will no longer be serving food on our campouts.
While we have always enjoyed preparing and serving food with your sons each weekend, we recently discovered that one of the boys is a vegetarian. Since we are used to serving meat with most meals, we have decided it is easier to simply not serve any food over the campout weekend. Those boys who are interested in eating should bring their own food and eat privately within their own tents.
Most of us would not write this letter either, because we know that we cannot deny the boys food over a weekend. Instead, we might visit with the vegetarian Scout’s parents to clearly understand their wishes, and then accomodate that boy. When we have boys who cannot eat pork or beef, we might prepare a vegetarian meal to cover all of those boys, and then later add chicken/turkey (or beef/pork) for the remainder of the boys, depending on the meal. But again, we would ask in advance and then accomodate each boy’s needs by organizing the meal in such a way that everyone gets what they need.
It is okay to ask Scouts and their families about their Faith. In fact, you need to !
The BSA is not a public organization like a public school or workplace, where faith issues are often considered taboo. Instead, the BSA explicitly states that reverence to a diety is a mandate of membership, as part of the Scout Law, the Cub Scout Promise, and the guiding principles of Sir Baden Powell. Faith is part of how a boy grows into the man that they are capable of becoming.
Our job as Scout Leaders is to enable each boy to grow in their own faith, so that they can reach their own potential. You cannot accomodate each boy’s faith needs any more than you can accomodate their eating requirements, if you do not know what each boy needs.
Once you know about each boy, then you can accomodate their needs, both physically and spiritually. Without that knowledge, you run the risk of really offending someone with an ‘allergic reaction’ to your religious program, or starving them of any deity recognition at all.
This website is intended to provide you with links to tools and resources that will hopefully help you with running a Scouting program that respects and encourages the faiths of all of its members.