01 August

"I invite you to be faithful to the rich tradition
of the scout movement, committed into the
formation to dialogue, the sense of justice, loyalty,
brotherhood in social relationships.
Such a style of life may be your original contribution
to the realisation of a greater and more authentic fraternity
between the European peoples, a precious
contribution to the life of the societies in which you live 
"

Scouting and Citizenship

Why Scouting? 

The purpose of Baden-Powell was primarily to train good citizens and good Christians through “the school of the woods”. 

What does “to be a good citizen” mean?

To be a citizen means to live in the city, and to take an active part in the life of the community, from the smallest unit (the family). But to Baden-Powell being active wasn’t enough. He had spent his life serving first and foremost the British Empire, he had lived close to many diverse populations and had understood that the strength of a community -of a nation-, could be measured against the virtue of its members. 

So, you need more than to think that recognising the good values is enough, you must be able to live them daily.  Baden-Powell offers us values through the Scout Law, values that we choose to live through the Promise we make. Camp life allows us to practice living them in conditions which are not easy. Let’s take advantage of these days of rovering and brotherhood: we all know it very well, we the rovers committed in the city. We need to leave our material comfort and our relational comfort to practice living these values, and to truly integrate them in our daily actions. 

Saint Benedict had quite understood the need for this training and had proposed community life guidelines. He invites the community to discern ceaselessly how to apply the rule; the father abbot ensures with thoughtfulness that all look for the “common good”. Just like the father abbot, a scout leader (commissioner), a family patriarch, an office manager, a team supervisor, a political leader or a parish pastor… should have this lasting concern. 

To us Christians, it is important to find the guidelines which help us direct our authority. The Acts of the Apostles, the Fathers of the Church seeked ceaselessly to give directions. The Rule of Saint Benedict gave the whole of Europe an impulse, the importance of which we don’t quite measure…

So, to live as a scout is to practice living in society where all benefit from the skills and competencies of every one, however little they might be, at the service of a small community: we learn that the dignity of everyone should be respected, whatever the weaknesses and the handicaps. Councils allow members to seek together the common good, under the leader’s eyes: the good of all and of each member, with a progression from stage to stage. Councils will help every member to grow by taking part in the building of community life, by adding and taking part in God’s work ‘in all his life and the world around him’. Each member will take his responsibility, from the lowest level; the most experienced, instead of doing it, will support the littlest with patience and thoughtfulness… 

In the three branches, the scouting method operates with a progression indicated by badges and responsibilities of service to one another. Councils ajust the course of action of the community at every level and allows each member to grow towards holiness. 

Renaud Lannoy, Assistant to the Federal commissioner 

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