Scouts' Own is a traditional scouting activity that focuses on the spiritual but should not be church per B-P. He stated that it is a "a voluntary uplifting of their hearts by the boys in thanksgiving for the joys of life, and a desire on their part to seek inspiration and strength for greater love and service for others" (B-P's Outlook). We are all-inclusive but function as a secular scouting organization, but still as scouts we should explore ethics and our beliefs.
Has anyone done a Scouts' Own perhaps as an extended scoutmaster's minute, discussion of the scout law, reflection of past events (in the troop or outside the troop), meaningful stories or songs, etc?
Greetings... it's been a while since I've been on here. Yes, whenever I used to do a Brownsea Training Camp in the early days of BPSA-US, I would set aside some time in the program on Sunday for some form of Scout's Own. I would generally use a lot of care to tailor the experience for the audience; i.e. I frequently shied away from any form of overt religiosity especially if the people attending were themselves not overtly religious. I would put Scout's Own in the context of its place in Scouting, and would allow people the time to ground themselves after a weekend of learning and new adventures, to pause and reflect about how perhaps they grew as a result of the experience. We often would do some form of sharing though this would not be required of everyone or done every time. Every Scout's Own I've ever done would come out differently, depending on the audience and the energy of the weekend. And of course, the point to anything along these lines would be to give people ideas on traditions that they could bring home to their groups. Hope this helps.
Dave Bielski, RS
For a secular organization, original texts on the subject are always going to be problematic. Focusing on universal themes of reflection creates equal opportunity and enfranchisement for all Association members, and does nothing to diminish the spiritual practice that many imbue these quiet times with. It is much the same with the Knight vigil.
That said, the North American Jamboree will feature a chaplain, and a chapel.
Well said Ethan. BPSA-US scouting is all-inclusive scouting for everyone and not just alternative scouting for a few.
Scouts own is a very important part of a Scout experience, in my opinion. It is my favorite part of every camping trip. Interestingly, although I am a deeply religious person, it hasn't ever really had a spiritual aspect for me. I use it more as a mental exercise. It is a moment to slow down, cut out the distractions and the wildness and drink in your experience. Hold onto it. Solidify it in your long term memory so it will remain with you.
At every meeting, with the otters, before we sing Vespers, we talk about what it means. We talk about quiet reflection, and about our favorite things we want to reflect on as we go. We leave the meeting in silence, and they have the option of journalling. This is useful both for them and for me. When I hear their favorite experiences and see what they have drawn or written in their journals, as a leader, I know what resonated and what was meaningful so that I can adjust future plans according to their interests. I think it is also helpful for young or developmentally delayed scouts managing transitions. It is a pared down version of scout's own we use at regular meetings. The discussion part takes about 10 minutes, and those that choose to journal tend to spend 10-15 minutes doing so.
For camps, we do it every single time. It takes about 30 minutes. We actually do everything just like we do at a meeting as I described above, but before going to the journalling portion, we tell the scouts to find a special spot and have them sit in silence for 5 mintues. Some of them will choose to spend the whole time climbing a tree. Some will sit still. Some will move around a little bit. All of that is ok. We just don't let them make noise or distract each other. Give them a minute to themselves after days of being with others. I feel like it's a rest for the brain.
Anyway, that's how the 503rd does Scout's Own with our Otters. It's a magic time. It's peaceful and it's a moment of processing and connecting that I don't think can happen without that quiet moment. When I am with just Rovers, scouts own is a deeply meaningful time for me personally. It's a moment that I can stop being "on" and just be. I make it a priority on every single campout.