This blog was started in the Fall of 2010 as a way to chronicle the adventures of Boy Scout Troop 113. This unit is now defunct and had originally been sponsored by First Baptist Church of Hackensack (FBC) from November 2010 thru the end of 2013.
We chose troop 113’s unit number specifically. It comes from Psalm 1:1-3 and it was our hope to see our scouts grow to become described as the man discussed in those verses.
We considered ourselves a “faith-based troop” which simply means that we placed special emphasis on encouraging the boys to understand, and strive to fulfill, their duty to God in their daily lives. We believed this was in keeping with BSA practices and customs — nothing out of the “ordinary” as we welcomed any boy to the unit openly, but also encouraged them to explore faith as part of their ongoing character development.
This had been accomplished in a variety of ways:
- scoutmaster minutes exploring scouting ideals and how they compare to faith ideals expressed by the boys;
- discussions about how to live a lifestyle that is distinctive from the world and marked by adhering to higher principles including respecting the right of others to hold conflicting beliefs (reverence includes respecting the beliefs of others even if we don’t agree with those ideals or hold to them ourselves);
- incorporating basic, but important, steps of reverence into our activities (i.e. saying grace before meals, etc.)
The point of scouting isn’t to indoctrinate a specific faith practice (that’s a right reserved for parents and the boy’s church), but to excite scouts to want to participate actively in their own faith practices — to make the connections between those ideals and living joyful and active lives while learning valuable skills, practicing leadership through assigned responsibilities and developing self-reliance (i.e. learning to take responsibility for one’s self).
Scouting is a “Father and Son” or “Family and Son” educational ministry that focuses on getting outdoors and learning practical skills that are quickly becoming “lost” in today’s electronic society.
We no longer meet as a troop since the individual families decided not to recharter with BSA over a growing divergence of attitudes and compromises being put in place by BSA. A few have elected to become “Lone Scouts” and others are joining alternative programs that provide a better fit for their family’s needs. There are quite a large variety of alternatives to scouting that range from secular, fully inclusive to religious and segmented.
We have been fortunate to have had a great three years with BSA. We appreciate BSA’s curriculum and facilities, but many good things (like our troop) do come to an end.