USA: Religious Emblem Programs
Michael F. Bowman (mfbowman@CAP.GWU.EDU)
Thu, 1 Dec 1994 00:47:32 -0500
Alan, et al,
This is a long post made with the intention of answering Alan's question
about the possibility of a book with the requirements for all of the many
As Mike Walton has indicated, the Relationships folks at National are
thinking about a book/booklet on the various Religious Emblem Programs.
Many people have expressed an interest in having such a resource available.
Because of that need, Jim Bryant and I (Religious Relationships Committee,
National Capital Area Council) have spent the last three years trying to
get copies of everything relating to Religious Emblem Programs that we can
get our hands on. As an interim measure we put out two editions of a book
called A SCOUT'S DUTY TO GOD AND COUNTRY running to about 150 pages. In
that book we attempted to list every award, known requirements (when
permitted without violating copyrights, otherwise using outlines), policies,
sample presentation ceremonies, and much more including citizenship stuff.
To date our effort has been non-profit with expense coming out of pocket
and reproduction through donated services. About 1000 copies are in
circulation around the US. And, yes the Relationships Division has a copy.
(The remaining few copies of the book we have are now spoken for, so I
can't offer copies to the list at this time) :(.
We now have almost every packet, set of requirements, bit of literature
that we could identify. Consequently, we are currently in the process of
making many necessary additions and countless revisions for a third edition
that will run to about 200 pages.
In the process of developing this book, we've received a lot of favorable
comment from many of the national committees of various faiths and
religious Scouting associations. We are also grateful for the support we
have had from P.R.A.Y. in St. Louis. We have received consistent support
whenever we have asked for materials from various faiths to use a source
material. In addition many of the folks on Scouts-L have shared
information, resources and ideas with us.
We've learned that reproducing the exact requirements for each emblem is
not really going to be possible. Many of the materials in the emblem
packets, brochures and other literature are copyrighted and it is only
possible to summarize the requirements in a general way. Similarly, the
funding for many of the programs derives directly from the sale of these
materials. What we didn't want to do was to create a substitute for these
materials which are more detailed and important to the learning/growth
process, because that would ultimately harm the very programs we are
trying to help and support.
Our next edition will be in a 3-ring binder format and will include:
* How to information
* Explanations of Religous Emblem Programs in General
* Sample Prayers, Songs, etc.
* Sample ceremonies
* Summaries of Each Religious Emblem Program and the Emblems Available
* Adult awards
* Mentor Programs
* Religious Scouting Associations
* Bibliographies of Material related to each faith available through BSA
* Citizenship Program Ideas
* Duty to Country Ideas
* Flag Ceremonies
* Flag Ettiquette
* Flag Destruction
* Some Scoutmaster Minutes
I should add here that in content, we try very hard to be accurate and
neutral, encouraging tolerance and understanding.
We are hopeful that this 3rd edition will be available for distribution at
the Northeast Region's Akela Calls in June 1995. We plan to offer it free
of charge to those Scouters attending the Religious Emblems Sessions,
provided we can arrange free reproduction.
Beyond that we are considering how to get the book into publication where
other Scouters can get it. We're discussing this with the Relationships
Division now. While we've received encouragement, we've been told we
probably will have to go it alone. That is no inexpensive proposition. It
costs upwards of $5,000.00 to get a book in print. This means that for it to
work, we'll have to sell the books at a price sufficient to recapture the
costs - we're hoping to keep the price as low as possible with a target of
under $15, but its too early to be sure. We had thought about making it
available on disk or archiving it, but we can't afford to cover the cost
and make it free at the same time.
We're continuing discussions on a lot of fronts and with National on this.
And of course, as soon as we are done with the 3rd edition, they'll get
one of the first copies. We are hopeful that we will find a way to get
this book out to as many people as possible sometime in 1995.
I would be remiss without again saying that we owe many thanks to all
those who have and are helping us in this effort. We also appreciate
the support we have been getting at National (Please - don't contact them
on this issue).
While I commend Alan's willingness to make the requirements for the Jewish
Religious Emblems, which are not copyrighted, available on Scouts-L, I
would caution against trying to build a file of all the different emblem
requirements, because many are copyrighted. Another consideration is that
many of these emblem programs depend on the sales of these materials to
fund the program. Right now we are very luck that P.R.A.Y. acts as a
clearing house for distributing materials, emblems, etc., including
the Jewish emblems. It relies heavily on those sales to cover its
operating expenses. If we deprive it of those funds, it probably will
cease to exist, making it much more difficult for many Scouts to
participate in a Religious Emblem Program.
My apologies for such a long posting.
Speaking only for myself in the Scouting Spirit, Michael F Bowman
Used to be a Beaver, National Capital Area Council, B.S.A.
mfbowman@CAP.GWU.EDU (mfbowman@CAPACCESS.ORG after 12/13/94)
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City