I like to think that I am fairly open minded when it comes to my scouting. I’ve been a member for 21 years so I have heard every joke or insult that can be mustered. However whilst browsing the BBC looking at news from the Jamboree I came across a “Have Your Say” article titled “Is Scouting Still Relevant”. I’m still fuming from some of the comments, no really I am incredibly angry at some of the small minded stupid comments made by some of the posters.
I’m going to post a few and then tear them apart.
“Scouting could be relevant today, if only it got rid of the uniforms, religious references and outdated traditions which do much to turn people off.”
Scouting is relevant today 28 million members can’t be wrong. The uniforms give us a sense of belonging some thing missing today in the lives of young people if it wasn’t for the uniform and traditions we would just be another youth club with a broken pool table. As for the religious references all we ask is for leaders and helpers to have a belief, we don’t dictate from high that you must be a member of a particular group just that you should hold a belief.
“As an atheist who believes that a monarchy has no place in the 21st Century I see an oath “To God and the Queen” as absurd. There’s no reason why the Scouts can’t be a completely secular organisation and still uphold the values of honour and good citizenship at its core.”
Unfortunately for you the Queen is still the figurehead of the United Kingdom so the “and to the Queen” stays, however in countries that have no monarchy they generally make their promise to their country instead. If you where a young person in my troop I would of course invite you to explore atheism and to use it as a tool to develop. However It is a core of the promise and something which a lot of us hold on to. Just because you choose not to believe doesn’t mean that me and the other 28 million shouldn’t.
Most of the arguments come from left wing floppy wristed liberals who are too scared to discipline their own children that they end up on the endless stream of super nanny style programs on the television. All this seems to produce is young people that seem to want to stand on the street corner drinking cheap cider and smoking whilst swearing and being generally a nusence to everyone. whilst the left wingers stand around condemning anyone trying to do some good. Yesterday evening I attended two presentations for the units from Birmingham that attended the Jamboree both where polite hard working groups of young people a tribute truly to their leaders and their country.
At the Jamboree 42,000 people from 200 countries and territories lived in peace and harmony. I think you will find that it is us in Scouting and Guiding that have got it right not the other way around.
Scouting and Guiding is a movement for positive change based around a really simple idea, a Promise. A promise you make to yourself, your family, your Scout leaders, and to the world.
On my honour
I promise to do my best
To do my duty to God and to the Queen
To help other people
And to keep the Scout law.