Scouting for Presbyterian Youth

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Background

  • 2.7 percent of the U.S. population is Presbyterian. (Source: 2007 U.S. Religious Landscape Survey, Pew Forum)
    • 1.9 percent are affiliated with the Mainline Presbyterian tradition
    • 0.8 percent are affiliated with the Evangelical Presbyterian tradition
  • National organizations that individual Presbyterian churches may be affiliated with in the U.S. include:
    • Presbyterian Church U.S.A.
    • Presbyterian Church in America (PCA)
    • Reformed Church in the United States
    • Evangelical Presbyterian Church
    • Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church
    • Orthodox Presbyterian Church
  • Presbyterian churches have the following leadership in place:
    • Elders: Chosen by the people, elected and ordained, work with the ministers to exercise leadership, government, and discipline, and have responsibilities for the life of a particular church as well as the church at large
    • Session: Body of elected elders and ministers who govern a particular congregation
    • Presbyteries: Body composed of several Presbyterian church sessions
    • Synods: Body composed of several presbyteries
    • General Assembly: Body representing the entire Presbyterian denomination
  • 2010 membership in Boy Scouts of America included:
    • 69,903 Cub Scouts from 1,467 packs
    • 53,783 Boy Scouts from 1,817 troops
    • 3,283 Venturers from 430 crews

Role of Scouting in the Presbyterian Church

Presbyterian Church bodies work with the Boy Scouts of America to:

  • Develop and strengthen mutually beneficial relationships with the BSA
  • Foster a regard for Scouting as a resource for ministry and assist congregations that operate Scouting units to use them as effective ministry tools
  • Help provide literature related to Scouting and the church’s ministry with children, youth, and families
  • Provide and administer religious growth programs for Presbyterian youth in Scouting
  • Emphasize the religious aspect of the Scouting program
  • Promote religious worship at outdoor Scouting functions and a chaplaincy program at Scout summer camps
  • Help Presbyterian adults understand and carry out their ministry roles and recognize those who faithfully serve children and youth through the Scouting program

The National Association of Presbyterian Scouters (NAPS):

  • Formed in 1986 to assist and encourage congregations in becoming chartered organizations, NAPS is a part of the:
    • Religious Relationships Committee of the Boy Scouts of America
    • Programs of Religious Activities with Youth (P.R.A.Y.) board
  • Encourages and supports Presbyterian congregations and their ministries with youth in using the program of the Boy Scouts of America by:
    • Encouraging Presbyterian congregations to become chartered organizations and incorporate units into their ministries with youth, thereby extending their programs of leadership training and community outreach
    • Assisting BSA local councils in the promotion, chartering, establishing, and supporting of Scouting units in Presbyterian congregations
    • Fostering young people’s individual religious growth through the God and Country program, with recognition given by P.R.A.Y. (God and Me, God and Family, God and Church, and God and Life emblems), and the use of the chaplain’s aide position in the BSA
    • Promoting and encouraging training opportunities to improve individual skills, awareness of the Scouting ministry, and spiritual growth
    • Advocating a chaplaincy program as a mission issue in Scouting activities
    • Cooperating with other denominations and faiths through the BSA Religious Relationships Committee and local council and district relationships committees

Scouting Youth and Adult Recognitions

According to P.R.A.Y.’s 2007 Religious Emblems Program, the God and Country religious growth program award was earned by:

  • Presbyterian Church U.S.A
    • 514 Cub Scouts
    • 535 Webelos
    • 229 Boy Scouts
    • 80 Venturers
    • 125 adults
  • Presbyterian Church in America (PCA)
    • 101 Cub Scouts
    • 104 Webelos
    • 34 Boy Scouts
    • 11 Venturers
    • Four adults

Youth Emblems

God and Me

Purpose

  • Encourages children to become best friends with Jesus and tell their story of “God and Me” together

Eligibility

  • Youth in first through third grade

Requirements

  • Designed to be completed in four to five sessions
  • Youth completes sessions on God Created Me, Jesus Is God’s Gift to Me, I Can Talk With God, Because God Cares for Me, I Can Care for Others

God and Family

Purpose

  • Help youth understand the importance of family and God’s role in a healthy family

Eligibility

  • Youth in fourth and fifth grade

Requirements

  • Designed to be completed in six to seven sessions
  • Sessions include:
    • We are God’s Family
    • Family Heritage, Spiritual Heritage
    • Our Talents and Gifts Strengthen Our Families
    • In God’s Family We’re Loved No Matter What! Because We’re Loved, We Follow Rules
    • Being in God’s Family Helps Us When Things Are Tough
    • In God’s Family, We Share as a Response to God’s Love

God and Church (Presbyterian)

Purpose

  • Gives youth an opportunity to understand the church’s structure and objectives, and to participate in service projects that will give them a better understanding of the mission of the church

Eligibility

  • Youth in sixth through eighth grade

Requirements

  • Designed to take three to five months to complete
  • Sessions include Meeting Christ, Worshipping God, and Witnessing and Ministering for Christ
  • Must complete a video or photo album to share what they learned

God and Life

Purpose

  • Teaches youth to study the lives of men and women in the Bible, discovering what their lives teach them about God, and challenging them to integrate the faith of those in the Bible into their daily lives

Eligibility

  • Youth in ninth through twelfth grades who do not necessarily have to belong to a Boy Scout troop

Requirements

  • Completion of five sections covering:
    • How God calls all kinds of people
    • God doesn’t expect us to do it on our own
    • Each of us must make a personal response to the call of God
    • God gives strength to face adversities
    • God can accomplish great things through those who are willing to do God’s will


Spiritual Growth Certificate

Purpose

  • Awards youth for their dedication to the God and Country religious growth program

Eligibility

  • Any youth who is a member of the Presbyterian Church or a member of a unit sponsored by a Presbyterian Church and working within the God and Country religious program

Requirements

  • Successfully complete three of the four God and Country religious growth programs


Presbyterian Unit Award of Excellence

Purpose

  • Recognizes outstanding leadership and youth participation in Cub Scout packs, Boy Scout troops, Varsity teams, and Venturing crews and ships charted by Presbyterian congregations or associated organizations

Eligibility

  • Quality program as recognized by the Boy Scouts of America
  • Youth membership participation in the appropriate religious growth program for their age level
  • Unit participation in worship services
  • Representation of chartered partner members on the unit leadership team
  • Completion of a service project of significant contribution to the church

Requirements

  • Awarded annually from applications submitted by the chartered organization representative, pastor, or head of the chartered organization and the unit leader to the National Association of Presbyterian Scouters

Adult Emblems

God and Country Mentor Program

Purpose

  • Provides an adult with additional opportunities to model his or her Christian faith and to help a young child talk about his or her belief in God

Eligibility

  • Parent or guardian of a youth in the God and Country program series

Requirements

  • Completion of the God and Country curriculum working alongside youth for whom parent or guardian is responsible

God and Service Award

Purpose

  • Acknowledge distinguished volunteer service by adults in ministry to young people by service through the church and the Boy Scouts of America

Eligibility

  • Minimum of five years of service to the church
  • Minimum of five years of service to Boy Scouts of America
  • Encourage and assist young people in earning the God and Country award
  • Promote religious observances at Boy Scouts of America functions at all levels
  • Encourage youth to participate in community service projects
  • Recruit volunteers to give leadership to Boy Scouts of America programs
  • Promote the organization of Boy Scouts of America units among a church other than his or her own congregation
  • Be a person whose Christian example is highly regarded by others in the church and whose lifestyle is a model for young people

Requirements

  • Nomination application and letter of recommendation must be submitted to P.R.A.Y.

Celtic Cross

Purpose

  • Recognizes adult leaders who have given exceptional service to children and youth

Eligibility

  • Active as a youth leader associated with a Presbyterian Church program and demonstrates exceptional Christian character or has given faithful service to a youth program of a congregation by serving in church leadership positions
  • Continuous record of using and supporting youth ministry with a minimum tenure of two years with programs such as the Boy Scouts of America
  • Serves the organization at a level where he or she works directly with youth
  • Encourages religious growth of the youth

Requirements

  • Nomination forms must be completed with history and supporting information and submitted to the National Association of Presbyterian Scouters or the chartered organization representative for review

Organizational Information

The National Association of Presbyterian Scouters and the BSA have developed several resources to show how Presbyterian Scouting works in local congregations:

  • Presbyterians and Scouting, Building Values Together, No. 522-974
  • Presbyterians and Scouting, Building Values Together video offers specific examples of how local congregations use Scouting as part of their youth ministry program.

Resources are available through:

  • The local Scout council
  • The Presbytery Resource centers

P.R.A.Y. has developed the following literature: Duty to God Medals and Duty to God descriptive brochure. Additional videos have been developed that are excellent resource materials, including Promoting Duty to God and Bringing Youth to Christ.

  • For more information and materials concerning the religious growth programs or the God and Service nomination, contact P.R.A.Y. (Programs of Religious Activities With Youth)
    • Write to P.R.A.Y. at 11123 S. Town Square, Suite B, St. Louis, MO 63123-7816; toll-free phone: 1-800-933-7729; phone: 314-845-3318; fax: 314-845-0058
    • Web site: www.praypub.org
  • For additional information about the National Association of Presbyterian Scouters, contact the NAPS president:

 

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