Scout's Own

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A Scout's Own (or Scouts' Own) is an inspirational or spiritual, informal ceremony held as part of Scouting activities. It is usually short, often lasting no longer than 15 minutes. They may be made up of a mixture of readings, prayers, reflections and music. Many Scout's Owns are based on a particular theme, such as friendship, using resources wisely, or fairness. The Scout's Own need not be religious, or if it is, should cater for the variety religions that may be present.

What is a Scout's Own

A Scout's Own is a gathering of Scouts held to contribute to the development of their spirituality and to promote a fuller understanding of the Scout Law. This can be in groups as small as two or as large as a whole World Jamboree. In smaller groups, Scouts are able to get involved, share their experiences, and see that spirituality is something that effects everyone.

A Scouts' Own is held for the development of the Scouts' spirituality. Spirituality is that which is beyond the material; that which gives meaning and direction to one's life.

Scouting is primarily concerned with how people live out their beliefs in everyday life. Hence, a Scout's Own should connect in some way to the Scout Law, the ethical code of Scouting. Usually, this is done by mentioning the Scout Law, making allusions to it, and/or including a recitation of the Law as part of the Scouts' Own. Some Scouts' Owns may simply include ethical content which the Scouts can connect to the Law themselves. [1]

Should Scout's Owns be religious?

Not necessarily. They need only focus on reflection or spirituality, and do not need to have a religious element. If they do have a religious focus, you should be careful not to exclude any particular religion that pay be in attendance. You may decide to let a representative of each religion say a prayer or reading that ties to their religion. If you are unsure, you could keep the ceremony neutral. Prayers can be worded "We are thankful for..." instead of "We thank God for..."

Planning a Scout's Own

You should always have a plan, and be prepared. Anyone who will be doing a reading or prayer should have sufficient time to prepare. To help the Scouts concentrate on the Scouts' Own, it is a good idea to hold it in a special place, such as a lookout or pretty clearing in the forest. It should be a spot not usually used for other activities. An example plan could be as follows:

  1. Gentle music playing while people gather and take their seats
  2. A brief welcome to the Scout's Own, and introduction to your theme
  3. A reading or inspirational quote
  4. A story or yarn that ties in with your theme
  5. Singing a song, or listening to music. Sometimes you can play a song with inspiring lyrics, and ask the participants to listen carefully to the words.
  6. Another reading or quote
  7. Another brief story
  8. A quiet time for reflection. Possibly with background music.
  9. A word of thanks, last thought, and departure

To encourage participation, you could allow a different Scout to take charge of each item above - but only after you have prepared them.

Theme ideas

A Scouts' Own should be focused on a few closely related concepts. If the topic of the Scouts' Own is too broad, the Scouts will be unable to grasp it. The Scouts' Own should concentrate on a simple message which is illustrated with many examples.

  • Friendship and fellowship
  • Scout Promise and Law
  • Packing a backpack for life
  • The importance of trust
  • Helping others in need
  • Doing your best
  • Respect for others: accepting differences
  • Environment: conservation, recycling , appreciating world around us


See also