Religion, Scouting & Pack 167

Perhaps the #1 question we get from new parents is regarding religion. There is a long tradition of religious ties to Scouting, and there are "Duty to God" requirements in the program.  Pack 167 is also chartered by Mount Olivet United Methodist Church, and we regularly meet there.

Boy Scouts of America Policy on Religion
Article IX of the BSA charter specifically addresses religion as a core aspect of Scouting. But that is as far as it goes.  It can be as simple as an acknowledgement of a duty to God, to provide a firm footing and anchor for a moral code.  How each Scout views the duty is up to them and their families.  The BSA charter specifically forbids a chartering organization (such as our own sponsor) from requiring religious affiliation, and literally the final words in the Scout Law are to "respect the beliefs of others".

Scouts who are particularly active in their religious community can earn special knots for their service and devotion.  The list (found here) is always growing, and is a good representation of faiths.

What Does That Mean to Pack 167?
This means that our Pack is officially non-denominational.  We typically leave any and all "Duty to God" style requirements entirely up to the family to complete.  As we are based in Arlington, at any given time we probably have 5 or 6 religions represented in the Pack.

Why Are You Sponsored by a Church, Then?
Scouting is a community outreach organization, an all-volunteer effort.  There are few community organizations that can offer the financial, organizational, and insurance backing for groups like ours, and of those only a very few have meeting space.  Some civic organizations do sponsor Packs and Troops, but there are churches everywhere that offer this as part of their general community outreach - about 70% of Packs nationwide fall into this category.

What Does Mount Olivet Expect from Pack 167?
Mount Olivet asks nothing of us but to run a quality Scouting program that parents can respect and the boys can enthusiastically enjoy.  One member of their congregation sits on our Committee, but they are not directly involved in program activities - they generally offer coordination and community service advice.  We do try to offer them an annual day of service from our Pack as a way to say "thank you". Usually that's doing light grounds-keeping and cleaning.  We are grateful for their support, and will continue to "do our best" to provide a quality program.