Local Lutheran Scouters
You’ve no doubt heard the adage “Think globally, act locally?” The National Lutheran Association on Scouting (NLAS) provides important services in encouraging youth in their “Duty to God” and in encouraging Lutheran charter organizations to use the scouting programs in their youth ministry. As a national organization with our members and officers scattered over the United States, it is difficult to provide personal interaction in the local councils. There are a number of local Lutheran Scouter Associations (LSAs) that promote similar goals at the local level. While they are not part of NLAS, NLAS values their partnership in action.
Getting the Most Out of Lutheran Scouting
Activities of the local LSA organizations are limited only by the imagination and vitality of their membership. Here are a few ways they can encourage Lutheran Scouting on the local level:
- Provide personal and public recognition of youth religious emblems award recipients. Write letters of congratulations to each individually. Develop a patch or pin to present. Submit church newsletter articles recognizing the accomplishment of youth awardees. Hold an annual recognition banquet or ceremony for awardees and their parents/families. Encourage establishment of a council-wide recognition banquet or ceremony or inclusion in the annual council awards banquet (similar to Eagle class recognition) for those of all faiths who have earned their religious emblems in the year.
- Provide personal and public recognition of adult religious award (Servant of Youth and Lamb) recipients. Both youth and adult Lutheran religious awards are administered through P.R.A.Y. and reported to NLAS. NLAS can in turn report awardees to affiliated local LSAs.
Religious Emblems Coordinators and Counselors
- Encourage the establishment and active use of the Religious Emblems Coordinator (REC) position at the unit, district, and council levels. RECs encourage the completion of the religious emblems by scouts, encourage recruitment of counselors and establishment of classes for teaching the religious emblems, enable reporting of completions and ensure recognition of scouts in both their units and in the congregation.
- Volunteer to become a REC at the unit, district or council level.
- Encourage local congregations to recruit religious emblems counselors and establish classes to teach the religious emblems.
- Make religious emblems classes available to youth of your unit and congregation. Become a religious emblems counselor at your congregation. In consultation with your pastor (some pastors prefer to instruct the religious emblems themselves as part of their spiritual shepherding), establish, advertise and conduct religious emblems classes.
Scouting in Youth Ministries
- Encourage your congregation to incorporate scouting into their youth ministry. There are mutual benefits that scouting units provide their charter partners through strengthening the youth’s relationship with God, promoting family sharing of their faith, outreach to the community, and building and retaining church membership. Scouting provides access to reasonable cost facilities for wholesome, exciting activities for scouting based youth groups.
- Encourage your congregation to charter a BSA Pack, Troop or Crew, an AHG Troop, or to host a Girl Scout Troop in your facility.
- Encourage, help plan, and participate in Scout Sunday at your congregation.
- Ask your congregation to appoint Chaplains to your local unit and encourage your unit to employ Chaplain Aids to conduct Scouts’ Worship at all outings, and to honor God during meetings and Courts of Honor. Research and recommend resources for Scouts’ Worship, such as the online version of “Scouts Worship” by LCMS pastor Rev. Leo Symmank, or “Eagles Soaring High,” a worship resource used at BSA’s high adventure base at Philmont.
- Engage your pastor in providing Chaplain support at district and council events and at council summer camps. Your pastor may have contacts with other clergy or senior seminary students who would welcome the opportunity to go to camp on a weekday night to conduct worship services for youth. Many if not most Scouts’ Worship services today seem to be planned from the start as interfaith. Interfaith worship enriches a scout’s perspective of religious beliefs and practices and encourages respect for the faith and beliefs of others. This is a good thing. As a practical matter, the selection of interfaith worship as first choice seems to arise from lack of Chaplain availability to conduct a variety of denominational or faith specific worship services. Increasing the number and availability of Chaplains at council camps and district events could promote youth in fulfillment of their own-faith worship experience and obligation.
NLAS Affiliation for LSAs
- Affiliate your local LSA with NLAS. The fee for organizational registration is trivial, but affiliation can provide significant advantage in terms of communication, resources, and national representation. NLAS encourages its members to establish or participate in the local organizations. NLAS likes to post local LSA activities on its website and also to post local LSA contact information. NLAS invites local LSA participation on its Facebook page and to submit articles for the Lutheran Scouting newsletter.
- To request recognition of your LSA with NLAS, complete and return the LSA Application.
- To renew or update your LSA information with NLAS, complete and return the LSA Renewal Form.