Religious Life

Religious Awards

By

Michael Moore, Religious Emblems Coordinator

Religious awards are not part of the BSA program.  However, they are endorsed by BSA and the earned awards (medals, pins, and badges) are allowed to be worn on the Boy Scout Uniform.  The award requirements and program curriculum are established by the various religious organizations.  The intent of the program is to help youth and families grow in faith.

It has been stated that there are eight recognized worldwide religions.  The majority of the religions run their own programs, and related information for those organizations can be obtained directly.  Examples would be the Catholic Church, The Church of Latter Day Saints, various Jewish groups, Hindu, Buddhist, etc.  The majority of Protestant churches are represented by P.R.A.Y (www.praypub.org) a non-profit organization.  PRAY is the source for materials and awards associated with their member denominations.

Each church sets up its own criteria, and levels, which are normally based on the boy’s age.  PRAY runs their program on four levels (age related), and run from grade 1 through grade 12.  In the PRAY program the boy can earn up to four religious awards.  The PRAY program curriculum includes a combination of scripture memorization, understanding of select Bible passages, and community service.  As previously indicated the program is set-up for both the boy and his family.  PRAY sets up their program so it can involve multiple individuals.  As a result they provide three work books for each program level. There is participants work book, the mentors (normally parent(s)), and the counselors (local pastor or his designated representative).  The non-PRAY organizations are similar in layout and intent with the PRAY program. 

The registration process is different with each religious organization.  As such, interested parties should talk with their local pastor.  There are multiple denominations associated with PRAY, for those churches/denominations the program registration is through PRAY.  PRAY registration can be handled on-line (www.praypub.org) or use the forms in the back of the student work book.

The generic process for getting started (remember not all groups do it the same) includes the following steps:

  1. ·         Order the appropriate program booklets.

  2. ·         Meet with the Pastor, and agree on who will be the counselor.

  3. ·         Complete the requirements under the supervision of the counselor.

  4. ·         Present your work to the Pastor for final approval.

  5. ·         Order the recognition items.

  6. ·         Plan a special ceremony to receive the award.

The Boy Scouts of America has a color brochure, Duty to God #05-879 (can be obtained at Council Office/Scout Store), which lists all involved religions and related contact information.  The brochure also lists the number of program levels for each religion, and pictures of the awards. The contact information for PRAY is www.praypub.org and 800-933-7729.  If your religious organization or denomination is not listed below then contact your church directly.  PRAY also has a non-denomination program for churches that are independent or are stand alone and not associated with any denomination.  The website also has PowerPoint presentations that outline the program and the various elements.  The denominations associated with PRAY include:

  • ·         African Methodist Episcopal Church

  • ·         African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church

  • ·         Baptist

  • ·         Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)

  • ·         Christian Methodist Episcopal Church

  • ·         Church of Christ, Scientist

  • ·         Episcopal

  • ·         Lutheran

  • ·         National Association of Anglican and Traditional Catholic Scouters

  • ·         Presbyterian Church in America

  • ·         Presbyterian Church (USA)

  • ·         Protestant and Independent Christian Churches

  • ·         United Church of Christ

  • ·         United Methodist

  • ·         United Pentecostal Church International

Scouting values are based on Judeo/Christian values.  Surprisingly a Scout is Reverent was not part of the original Scout Law.  But was added along with two others (There were originally nine Scout Laws) in 1923.  Lord Baden-Powell recognized early on that the development of boys into men required a spiritual element.

'''A Scout is reverent'''. He is reverent toward God. He is faithful in his religious duties and respects the convictions of others in matters of custom and religion.

According to the website   http://scouting.org/scoutsource/Media/Relationships/ascoutisrevernt.aspx
The Boy Scouts of America designates the Sunday that falls before February 8 (Scouting Anniversary Day) as Scout Sunday, which is the primary date to recognize the contributions of young people and adults to Scouting. However, each chartered organization can use either of two other options to celebrate this special day.


To encourage members to grow stronger in their faith, religious groups have developed the following religious emblems programs. The Boy Scouts of America has approved of these programs and allows the emblems to be worn on the official uniform. The various religious groups administer the programs. Check with your local council service center or contact the religious organization directly to obtain the curriculum booklets. For more information, please visit the national website

http://www.scouting.org/Awards/ReligiousAwards.aspx

Is your congregation's youth ministry running a program? Let us know and we'll post event information here.

Popular Sites:

A big list for most faiths: http://old.scouting.org/awards/religious/awards/index.html

Sponsoring organization contact info http://www.etexscouts.com/reverent.html