Reinforcing Scouting's Nonpartisan Citizenship Training
Approach and Resources
In today’s polarized political climate, it is more important than ever that all of us – Scouts, parents and Scouting volunteers – clearly understand that Scouting teaches civics and citizenship in a way that’s based on the Scout Oath and Law and favors no political party or philosophy. Although there is a wide disparity of political views within the greater Scouting community, like our society generally, Scouting remains non-political and nonpartisan! We need to share that understanding with others in the communities we serve.
For more than a century, Scouting has helped raise young people to be responsible, respectful citizens with critical thinking skills. That can only be done in a nonpartisan environment in which Scouts learn to understand and appreciate others’ points of view.
Selected Citizenship Teaching Resources - We Have the Tools! Here are just a few examples:
Scout Oath and Law – Cub Scouts, Boy Scouts and Venturers pledge on their honor to do their duty to their country. When they repeat the Scout Law, the twelve traits are the characteristics of good citizens. Each of the grade level handbooks include citizenship training, with the entire second chapter of the Boy Scout Handbook, pages 49 – 71, dedicated to helping Scouts learn how they can be good citizens now and even better citizens when they grow up.
“Boy Scouting is a laboratory of citizenship. Scouts demonstrate good citizenship through community service projects and practice democracy within their troops by electing leaders and working as a team” (Page 49)
“Being a citizen starts at home, with participation in family activities and good stewardship… It extends into your local community, where you are expected to give back where you can and into your nation, where you should exercise your rights as an American citizen to help the country run smoothly. Good citizenship even applies on the world stage where your role as an American fits into the great melting pot of world politics and humanitarianism.” (Page 50)
Citizenship in the Nation, Citizenship in the Community, and Citizenship in the World (all required for Eagle Scout rank) – Among the requirements:
Explain what citizenship in the nation/community/world means and what it takes to be a good citizen of each…Discuss the rights, duties, and obligations of a responsible and active American citizen…. Explain how you can demonstrate good citizenship in your community, Scouting unit, place of worship or school.
Have you ever been caught up in the excitement of a crowd of young people? If so, was everyone’s behavior appropriate? If you have ever been in such a situation that was not appropriate, were you able to think for yourself about right and wrong behavior? How would you show leadership to those who might not behave appropriately?