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Why the chaplains aide?

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The original thread brought this back to my consciousness, but why do we have a POR of Chaplain's Aide?

Why not a Chaplain. We have a Quartermaster, a Scribe, a Guide, a Bugler, etc etc. But only one Aide. Why? Do we not trust a scout to be the troop spiritual leader? Must he work under the authority of an adult? Is that adult trained like the SM? Why does this POR the only one that is not truly boy led? Can't scouts be full Chaplains?

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I've noticed this discrepancy as well.


BSA says that the chaplain is "usually an adult member of the clergy." That may be their intent, but I'm doubtful that it's the typical case.


The quartermaster has a committee equivalent - the equipment coordinator. But we don't call the Scout an aide. I think the same thing could be true for the chaplain. Call the Scout the chaplain, and call the adult the, well, hmmm, not sure what title would really work. "Spiritual coordinator", "Religious leader" - maybe - but it does seem like those titles don't work great and "Chaplain" is the most natural title. But clearly we could get along with some other title.


I suspect the real reason is a desire not to trivialize the position. Religious leaders are typically quite thoughtful and are generally respected by the other members of their community. Not so easy for a boy to pull off. Having an adult chaplain is a reminder that the job is a serious and important one. It's not always quite natural for a boy to capture the aura of the more typical religious leader.


At least, that's my theory.

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We requested from and were assigned by our chartering organization which happens to be a large denominational church a chaplain. They chose not a full time minister but one of the men involved in the men's ministries at the church. This seems to be a logical tie in. This gentleman works with the chaplain's aide to come up with services and graces for the troop as well as assisting with presenting religious knots as an important part of the BSA program. This has worked for us. Parents are uncomfortable in this position mainly because they don't want to impose their belief's on other boys and may not have wide experience with other faiths. Having an older person who has knocked around a few years and has some interdenominational experience may work much better. If your not chartered by a church then seek out an interdenominational group such as the Gideons, Full Gospel Businessman's Assn., or Promise Keepers group that may have a Chaplain candidate.

posted same comment on the other thread. Clergy are usually too busy with their other duties to be chaplain's for boy scout troops.

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For the same reason we don't have a youth Surgeon.


It's adult in nature. OT and NT both have passages on the tremendous responsibility to raise up a child in the correct way. I suspect the Koran has similar.


I DO NOT WANT A CHILD screwing up another child's faith. It's that simple.


It's an accountablility to God thing, imo.

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I have a hard time believing that any one's faith can be so fragile that a chaplains aide can screw it up. No youth is going to screw up my faith nor that of my kids. For Pete's sake, a Troop Chaplain shouldn't be ministering to the youth anyways. That should be their own shaman, rabbi, pastor, parent or priest. The troop chaplain should only be organizing scout's own services, opening and closing prayers at CORs and leading grace at meals.


But I think I'm seeing a common element. Faith is so important to us that we cannot delegate this responsibility to a youth even though we are boy led. And many troops tiptoe around the issue for fear of offending individuals. Some troops even eliminate it from their program for fear of screwing it up. Yet, we make faith a requirement for membership. I'm getting a headache.

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A few hours ago I was taking a very neat young lady to a concert. She was one of two French Hornists for the orchestra.


We spent time talking about her and her boyfriend. He's Faith X by upbringing, but is having significant troubles with the organization of that denomination and its emphasis on LAW.


I have no problem believing an 11-13 year olds faith is more fragile than a 17 year olds faith (the young man of which I spoke above).

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In the three years I've been an ASM in my son's troop, none of the boys (as far as I know) have brought this up.


This sounds like another thing that adults wring their hands over that the boys don't seem to worry about . . .

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Because the Chaplain has responsibilities far beyond what I would expect of a youth:


Responsibilities of the Chaplain, from BSA's The Roles of Troop Chaplain and the Chaplain Aide, No. 5-216A (1992) (as found on usscouts.org)

1. Serve as a resource to new families on opportunities for worship in the area (at no time should the chaplain proselytize).

2. Help in the event of accidents, illnesses and other problems.

3. Work with Chartered Organization Representatives.

4. Support unit leadership through recruitment and recognition.

5. Encourage Scout participation in Religious Emblem study programs.

(and several others)

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Duty to God is a responsibility of Scouting. We are to provide the youth opportunities to worship.


FAITH is the responsibility of the family. Mom and Dad, not us, are responsible to raise the child up.


Matthew 19:13-15

13Then little children were brought to Jesus for him to place his hands on them and pray for them. But the disciples rebuked those who brought them.

14Jesus said, "Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these." 15When he had placed his hands on them, he went on from there.


DO NOT HINDER THEM. That's our job as Scouters.


Proverbs 7 applies as well:


Proverbs 7

Warning Against the Adulteress

1 My son, keep my words

and store up my commands within you.

2 Keep my commands and you will live;

guard my teachings as the apple of your eye.


3 Bind them on your fingers;

write them on the tablet of your heart.


4 Say to wisdom, "You are my sister,"

and call understanding your kinsman;


5 they will keep you from the adulteress,

from the wayward wife with her seductive words.


6 At the window of my house

I looked out through the lattice.


7 I saw among the simple,

I noticed among the young men,

a youth who lacked judgment.


8 He was going down the street near her corner,

walking along in the direction of her house


9 at twilight, as the day was fading,

as the dark of night set in.


10 Then out came a woman to meet him,

dressed like a prostitute and with crafty intent.


11 (She is loud and defiant,

her feet never stay at home;


12 now in the street, now in the squares,

at every corner she lurks.)


13 She took hold of him and kissed him

and with a brazen face she said:


14 "I have fellowship offerings [a] at home;

today I fulfilled my vows.


15 So I came out to meet you;

I looked for you and have found you!


16 I have covered my bed

with colored linens from Egypt.


17 I have perfumed my bed

with myrrh, aloes and cinnamon.


18 Come, let's drink deep of love till morning;

let's enjoy ourselves with love!


19 My husband is not at home;

he has gone on a long journey.


20 He took his purse filled with money

and will not be home till full moon."


21 With persuasive words she led him astray;

she seduced him with her smooth talk.


22 All at once he followed her

like an ox going to the slaughter,

like a deer stepping into a noose


23 till an arrow pierces his liver,

like a bird darting into a snare,

little knowing it will cost him his life.


24 Now then, my sons, listen to me;

pay attention to what I say.


25 Do not let your heart turn to her ways

or stray into her paths.


26 Many are the victims she has brought down;

her slain are a mighty throng.


27 Her house is a highway to the grave,

leading down to the chambers of death.



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Well I stand corrected. Our unit does not have a chaplain who is a member of the cloth, but a well meaning born again parent. Sounds like the only one who should even step forward as troop chaplain better be ordained.

I also see now that faith is such a powerful force that it should not be put in the hands of children or the lay people. I'm cool with that.


Our chaplain's aides have been, well, one of those "easy" PORs generally taken by the scouts who don't really want a leadership position.


Now for troop surgeon, we don't have those? Not sure too many scouts would want to be surgeon's aide. Probably be relegated to closing incisions and irrigating wounds. Leave the serious field surgeries and amputations to the troop surgeon.


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I don't know if what I'm about to add to this will help but here I go...

If you look across Christianity, there are many issues that separate denominations. In fact, different denominations exist because people within those denominations believe that their understanding/interpretation of scripture is the most accurate. So, from that standpoint, you can understand how a parent might think that their child could be "screwed-up" by teachings from someone of another "faith"/denomination. If you really care about your beliefs, then you have chosen a church based on that churches doctrine and you probably don't appreciate someone teaching something different to you children.


Now, having said that, in my former Troop I had Catholics, Baptists, Lutherns, Independent Christian, and Mormon faiths represented in the boys. When approving messages (and yes I had to approve any boy-lead messages) I'd always make sure that the message didn't step on any denominational "hot topics". For example, telling the story of Joseph and his faithfulness and tying that into our personal integrity crosses denominational barriers and would not step on anyone's feet. I know a lot about Christian denominations and what beliefs separate them, but I did struggle a bit with my 3 Mormon Scouts, so from time to time, I'd check with their father. Man, you talk about being appreciative; he and his wife were always very supportive and appreciative of my trying to be sensitive to how they wanted to bring up their boys.


Parents who understand Christianity or Judism understand that it is the parent's place to train their children spiritually. So, the bottom line here is that people can feel like someone is messing with their children when they try to teach something that might differ from their Church's understanding of scripture. In my opinion, this is why we need to have Chaplain Aides working closely with an adult. If for no other reason than the comfort level of the parents who may worry.



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In our troop, as far as I can tell, the chaplain's aide only ever does two things:


1) lead grace at the three courts of honor we have each year


2) at the end of each troop meeting, says "Hats off--Scout sign of reverence. May the great master of all Scouts be with us 'til we meet again. Good Scouting."


That's it.


As far as I know, we don't even have a chaplain.



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