Scouts is open to people of all faiths and of none; we don’t identify exclusively with one faith.
As an inclusive and values based movement, we support our members to engage with spirituality in an exciting and meaningful way.
Faith events have always been an important part of Scouts. However, it's important to make sure that Promise renewal and events that involve moments of reflection, such as Remembrance, are inclusive and culturally appropriate for everyone.
Scout events are a good opportunity for young people to share in moments of reflection.
Sharing and taking part in moments of reflection is a very wide and deep activity and can take place in many different ways. It's important to let young people spend some time learning about themselves and the world around them.
So that everyone taking part is comfortable, any event should be planned carefully.
There're many reasons to have a moment of reflection in Scouts.
You may wish to mark a particular event or milestone in Scouts locally or nationally, such as St George's Day, Remembrance Day or the centenary of Scouts.
Other events to consider may include religious festivals, such as Christmas, Diwali, Eid or Hanukkah.
Moments of reflection may also be part of a Scouts activity, such as on camp.
Getting young people involved
Your event should be planned in partnership with young people. Include them in all of the planning stages, let them make some important decisions and ideally they should be the main deliverers of the event.
Open to all
Once you've decided on the aim of your event and your intended participants, you need to ask yourself if it's open and welcoming to everyone. It's very important that you make everyone feel comfortable at your event.
For large events, the best way to ensure the event is appropriate for all participants is to form a planning team which includes members of the different faiths, beliefs and attitudes who'll be attending.
Whatever your event, it's important to remember that most Scouts activities in the UK will be attended by people with a range of faiths, beliefs and attitudes, including those with no affirmed faith.
When you're planning your event, always consider your audience and make it inclusive for everyone.
Date and time: Choose the date of your event carefully. By knowing your potential audience, you can ensure that the timing works for everyone and ensures that the event doesn't exclude anyone. For example, check it doesn't fall on a Jewish Sabbath, which excludes Jewish groups from travelling on that day or the evening before.
Schedule: When creating your event schedule, running order and timings, incorporate allowance for things, such as prayers and rituals around sunset and sunrise, which are important in many faiths.
Food and drink: Think about implications around food and drink. If that's part of your celebration, you'll need to carefully consider the menu. For example, Roman Catholics may abstain from eating meat on Fridays. You may need to have halal, vegan, kosher, vegetarian, nut free, dairy free and gluten free options available, too.
Venue: Be imaginative about your venue. A reflection event doesn't always need to be held in a faith building. It can be a field, on a river bank, within a hill fort, in a theatre or a town hall. The more open you are in choosing your venue, the more likely it's that a variety of people will attend. If you decide to organise your event in a faith building, it's a good idea to send out some guidelines about the venue to inform visitors of expected behaviours and norms that may help them feel prepared for the visit. For example, you may need to tell people to remove their shoes before going into a Hindu temple or a Mosque.
Accessibility: Make sure that your event is accessible for people with different abilities. You could have interpreters or BSL signers, versions of text in large print, print outs on coloured paper for dyslexia, and an accessible building, ensuring you've planned for physical access to the space for those with limited mobility
Dress code: Think about the dress code. For example, some faiths will remove their headwear during prayer or reflection, where some people are required by their faiths to keep their heads covered.
Guidance during the event: Think about the guidance you give during the event. It may help simply to provide guidance at the start of the event to ensure that everyone can participate in a way that is appropriate to them.
Inclusive wording: Use words and phrases that encompass all faiths, beliefs and attitudes in any reading, songs or reflections. For example, ‘you may choose to bow your head, you may choose to close your eyes'.
The content of your event will depend on why you're holding the event, who the event is for, the venue and the theme.
You might want to consider using:
- Readings, poems and stories
- Inspirational figures
- Games and activities
- Pictures and photographs
- Projections or slideshows
- Clips from films and TV shows
Keep your readings short and relevant to keep the audience engaged. Incorporating a variety of different readers, music and activity should ensure all your participants remained interested.
Try mixing old and new, so that everyone participating enjoys singing something. Songs that require everyone to join in work better when everyone knows the song and the words. You could send out the words in advance, or use call and repeat methods during the event. Make sure there is variety in the music chosen. Ensure the music used is inclusive, and not representative of any faith exclusively.
If you wish to use some songs or readings you may need to get permission from the publishers or owners of the copyright. At the bottom of the songs or readings there will be a © symbol and next to that will be the name of who owns the copyright.
You'll need to write to them and ask for permission to use their material. There may be a charge for this and the whole process can take a while, so it's best to plan ahead so you're not left waiting for permission, this could hold the whole event up.
Choose a strong and fun theme for your event that can be incorporated into your Programme.
Doing your best: taking part, overcoming challenges
Helping others: elderly, emergency services, responding to global disasters
Self respect: true to yourself, healthy relationships
Respect for others: being open and appreciative of difference, created equal
Courage: heroes, such as firefighters, Suffragettes or sporting, against the odds
Family: jamborees, local/national/global community, different families
Friends: thinking of others, welcomes
Peace and reconciliation: remembrance, world affairs, conflict, recovery
Environment: conservation, recycling, appreciating world around us
Loyalty: sticking together, trust
Duty: parliament, rights and responsibilities, justice
The decision of whether a Scout section should run a Halloween-themed meeting is left to the local volunteers to decide.
We realise that Halloween can raise issues for some people, however we also recognise that it's a tradition which many young people are used to celebrating.
Therefore, we think that only the local volunteers can judge what is most suitable for people in their group.
Most, if not all, sections possess Colours.
The design and wording of flags are outlined in Policy, Organisation and Rules (POR).
Both the Union Flag and the sectional Colour are used frequently at religious services, investitures, parades and in camp.
While current practice varies considerably throughout the country, the following factsheets have been created to help volunteers.
The Union Flag
The Union Flag is not normally flown overnight. At camp the flag sho
uld be lowered on or around sunset. Often three whistle blasts are made so that everyone is aware of that the Flag is being lowered. It's customary for all who hear the whistle to turn and face the Flag as a sign of respect, until a single long blast on the whistle is heard.
The flying of flags on buildings is controlled by Statutory Instrument 1992 no666 – The Town and Country Planning (Control of Advertisements) Regulations 1992. This dictates which flags can be flown and the size of flags.
The Union Flag is exempt from some of the regulations, but there are further protocols (not in Law) that you should obey when flying the Union Flag.
Any Scout premises wishing to fly a flag should consult their local planning authority for their interpretation of the Law, as it’s enforced by local planning authorities.