Troop 113 gets it's number from Psalm 1:1-3 which describes the sort of man that we pray our scouts will grow up to become. As part of the scouting program, we include a "scoutmaster minute" -- a short devotional -- at the end of each troop meeting. Our scouts range in age from 11 to 18, and are mainly homeschoolers (but with some conventional schoolers, too).
I've learned that the best way to engage the boys, who've just spent two hours playing basketball, working on skills, planning trips, etc. is to facilitate a discussion and get them involved in dialog. Lecturing fails 9.9 times out of 10. The other adult leaders are helpful in prompting the boys to get involved in the discussion.
Early on we decided to investigate each of the scouting program ideals -- the scout oath (or "promise" or "pledge"), the scout law, the motto ("Be Prepared") and slogan ("do a good turn daily") -- and discuss whether these ideals compliment (are in parallel with) or contradict scriptures. For if these ideals are in parallel, we can pursue them -- not as replacement or addition to scripture, but with the simple confidence that we're not going against scriptural ideals for the behavior of young men. Many of these are summarized at our troop blog site.
One of the concepts that proved difficult to explain really well (in a short time span of 10-15 minutes) was "A Scout Is Loyal". Loyalty is a commitment to a person, group or set of ideals -- that we will adhere to them, follow them and be ready to sacrifice for them when needed. Inevitably, the boys rightly asked questions like "when are we justified in abandoning our loyalty" or "How can I be loyal to a government that is working against my personal interests?" We had some good discussion about those kinds of concepts.
I've been itching to revisit "loyalty" with the troop and have been digging around for more insights, examples, ideas.
This week, we revisited "loyalty" by investigating another point of the scout law -- "A Scout is Friendly" and how they relate to each other in the area of relationships. During the discussion the boys also made the connection to "A Scout is Obedient" by suggesting that we demonstrate loyalty to God by obeying his commands and by pursuing relationship with Him.
Based on that conversation, I wrote up a summary blog article for the parents of the troop to use in continuing the discussion at home.
Here's a link to that article if anyone would like to review it and offer any additional feedback -- http://troop113.wordpress.com/2013/03/12/thoughts-on-a-scout-is-loyal-a-scout-is-friendly/
Thanks, in advance, for reading and contributing to the discussion.