Scouts' Own

Scouts' Own

A Scouts' Own is a gathering of Scouts, held for the purposes of exploring spiritual beliefs and to promote fuller realisation of the Scout Promise and Law.

Scouts’ Owns are made up of a combination of stories with a moral or spiritual message.

When telling a story or parable, one need not explain its meaning. A parable hides the truth from those who are listening until they are ready to understand it. The Scouts may be turned off by the moralizing instead of leaving thinking about the story, later to find meaning in it.

Reflection on the Scout Law and Promise may take the form of a yarn, story or short play, illustrating some aspect. If a talk is given this should be brief.

To help the Scouts concentrate on the Scouts’ Own, it is a good idea to hold it in a special spot not usually used for other activities. Choosing a spot some distance from the camp site is beneficial in another way. At the end of the Scouts’ Own, the group can file back to the camp in silence and walking with several paces between each person, allowing a time for silent contemplation of the topic of the Scouts’ Own.

Scouts’ Owns should be planned by Scouts or leaders. When planning a Scouts’ Own, one can draw upon many sources for inspiration. Books of ancient wisdom, such as the Koran, the Christian Bible or other religious texts; children’s stories; the writings of Baden-Powell; and the Jungle Book are all good sources.

Remember that a Scouts’ Own does not need to fit any prescribed framework: one does not have to include a reading or a prayer if one does not want to. In fact, pointing out that what is being said is a prayer might distract the Scouts from the words.

If one is going to include a prayer, ensure that it is appropriate for those present. Prayers can be worded “We are thankful for...” instead of “We thank God for...” to get around the problem that many religions, such as Jainism and Buddhism, have no conception of God.

While it is important to set a Scouts’ Own apart from the rest of the day, if one makes too big a deal of it, the Scouts may be distracted and the point is missed. The Scouts should gain the understanding that thinking about spiritual concepts is a normal part of life and should not be restricted to special places and times.

Courtesy: WOSM Guidelines on Spiritual & Religious Development 2006

Resources

When you look at the resources, please see these as inspiration to use, learn and adapt (some of these documents have Christian prayers or structure to Scouts' Own, we encourage you to adapt to have more open, reflective and non-denominational while reflecting on the Scout Promise & Law).