Here is the text of the ministry moment I spoke about at our Scout Sunday services this morning.
Good morning. My name is Jeff Hoppe. You may (or may not) recognize me as I normally blend in with the choir while wearing a purple robe. This morning, I am here wearing a different outfit, my Scout uniform. Today, in the Methodist church, we are celebrating Scout Sunday and I have been asked to share a few things with you about Scouting.
The Boy Scouts of America is one of the nation’s largest and most prominent values-based youth development organizations. The BSA provides a year round program for young people that builds character, trains them in the responsibilities of citizenship, and develops personal fitness.
The scouting program is more than just an activity for young people to do crafts and learn about the outdoors. Scouting provides fun, fellowship and training to youth in our various communities. It emphasizes honesty, self-reliance and respect of others and the outdoors.
I personally have benefited from the scouting program. I started out as a Cub Scout when I was eight and stayed in the program until I earned my Eagle rank, the highest rank in the Boy Scouts. I learned so much, did so many things and traveled to so many places I would otherwise not have been able to do if it were not for the Boy Scouts. I valued the program so much that I remained connected as an adult leader for a few years before life and a family became a bigger priority.
When our first son was born, I knew immediately that I would at least introduce him to Scouting. I couldn’t wait to do so. When Aaron was old enough, he and I both joined scouts, he as a Tiger Cub and I again as an adult leader. He and I have journeyed along his scouting trail together now for four years and as he prepares to continue on toward his Eagle, our youngest is waiting in the wings to start down his own path. He is so excited that for the past year or so he has been the unofficial “Buddy Scout” mascot of the older one’s den.
Today there are over 2.8 million registered scouts and just over a million adult volunteers. Locally there are no less than 10 units charted within two miles of here at various locations including a Cub Scout pack chartered by Immanuel. Over the past 101 years, 114 million members have registered with the Boy Scouts.
Scouting and the church have a long history together. Since its inception, a “duty to God” has been a core value of the Boy Scouts. The organization firmly believes that no member can grow into the best kind of citizen without recognizing an obligation to God. When you look at the Boy Scout Oath and Law and the other principles on which Scouting is based and teaches young people, all of those things are basically biblical principles.
Serving others is a prime example of how scouts follow the teachings of the bible. Across the country in 2009 Scouts and leaders, contributed nearly 37 million service hours in various activities such as: food collection and distribution, litter cleanup/community beautification, conservation projects, Serving food at shelters and supporting the military. The Cub Scouts in the pack Aaron and I belong to have helped with the holiday meal distribution at the Grace Ministry center the past two years and regularly supply the food pantry there with food collected by the scouts themselves. The founder of Scouting, Robert Baden-Powell said, “The most worth-while thing is to try to put happiness into the lives of others” and in his very last message to the Scouting community, he said “Leave this world a little better than you found it.” Collectively in the things we do as scouts and as a church, I believe we are successful on both accounts.
Lastly, to show the reach of the scouting movement, if you were ever a Cub Scout, Boy Scout, Girl Scout, Scout leader or at any point ever helped a Scout, please stand. As you can see, scouting stretches into the fabric of our lives. Thank you for support and contribution and for helping leave the world a better place.