Spirituality in Scouting
With Scouts Australia’s New Youth Program being introduced, the Youth Program Review brought up some interesting conversations regarding Spiritual Development within the Scouts Australia program. This allowed the opportunity to renew the program ideas and activities to be relevant for our members in the 21st century.
The focus on spirituality and the spiritual development of Scouts can be a challenging area for some members to explore through the program. It’s important for all involved to understand what we mean when we talk about spirituality in Scouting.
Duty to God & spiritual development
Members should develop their relationship with the spiritual values of life by adhering to their spiritual principles, whilst respecting the spiritual choices of others.
Policy & Rules, November 2018
In Australian Scouting, we use an inclusive approach to ‘Duty to God’, focusing on exploring spiritual beliefs and the use of reflection as a tool for development. You’ll notice this approach to Duty to God, including spiritual development, reflected in our Promise.
Scouting is inclusive and open to all; we have no requirement for our members to be religious or believe in a God.
Those who are religious are encouraged to explore and develop their relationship with their own religious practices and beliefs. Those who are spiritual are encouraged to explore and develop their own spiritual practices and beliefs - while all Scouts must respect the spiritual choices of other Scouts and the members of their community.
As a leader in Scouting, you’ll work with a whole range of Scouts with different beliefs and spiritual perspectives. Some people aren’t too sure about how to approach this, which is why this is a pretty well-resourced aspect of Scouting. We use an ongoing focus of stopping for reflection, exploring beliefs, being thankful and respect for others through a symbolic tool called the internal compass.
When thinking about spirituality in Scouting, it’s important to understand what this means.
Scouting & Spirituality
The feelings or beliefs of a person regarding their purpose in life, connection to others and place in the world around them. These spiritual feelings or beliefs may change as a person develops, and guide their actions throughout their life.
This definition of spirituality relates directly to how we work towards the principle called Duty to God, and of course, the personal growth of the young people we work with. Exploring this definition of spirituality with the Scouts you work with is key – it provides context for them to be able to understand and explore their own position, and their understanding of the world.
As with all the SPICES, particular Scouting experiences may lead to spiritual development of an individual. Spiritual experiences might include:
- Scouts conducting a Scouts Own
- Reflection at closing parade (in replacement of a prayer)
- Sleeping under the stars with your Patrol and talking about the wonders of the universe.
- Spotting a rare animal and taking a moment to appreciate its beauty and place in the environment.
- Pushing your boundaries at a certain activity and being proud of yourself and your achievement.
- Taking a moment to reflect on and be thankful for the experiences of a weekend camp.
- Sharing a meal within your Unit and holding a discussion about how hard many people need to work to feed their families.
The Internal Compass Program Resource (Scouts Australia)
WOSM Spiritual Development eLearning Module ** Note – you will need you create or use your free Scout.org login to access this free eLearning opportunity**
Games on Spiritual Development (please adapt to your local Scout Group/Unit settings)