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To think scouts guides etc

(246 Posts)
alicetrefusis Mon 27-Jan-14 01:41:31

Are bloody weird. And the adults even more so. The uniforms!I speak as an ex guide ran away- but shit all that weirdly pseudo military stuff.looked at from the outside v disturbing. Also the cannibalistic rites and torture bits of the Christian service awful. Yet look around and church full of daily nail blue rinses and young parents desperate to get em into school, scary,

alemci Thu 30-Jan-14 20:32:09

yes chocolate my guides and brownies were affiliated with the anglican church but it happened to be 5 mins down the road so was convenient. There was an expectation to attend church parade every month

it was never pushing Christianity though in an evangelical sense.

my sons explorers is also at the scout hut behind another Anglican church but he has never been to church parade.

RedToothBrush Thu 30-Jan-14 18:20:02

Interesting read about religion and scouting

Its a lot more enlightened as an organisation than a lot of people on this thread realise. (Boy Scouts of America perhaps being the exception).

The fact they actively encourage questioning of faith in the UK as part of understanding their promise is brilliant.

Not forgetting that both the guides and scouts recently voted FOR the religious element to non-essential. Even with its links to the church. I think its more reflective of society rather than trying to influence.

The other thing is that, if you are unhappy with the views of local leadership, there is always a way you can improve it. Thats to volunteer yourself...

CaptainGrinch Thu 30-Jan-14 18:16:36

Grennie - Which youth organisations do you agree with then? I remember that you were vehemently anti-cadets as they were a "recruiting hotbed for the forces", Guides & Scouts are all God Botherers, what Youth Organisation would fit your criteria then? There aren't many more out there that I'm aware of - or should the whole lot be abolished as "not quite right"?

ChocolateWombat Thu 30-Jan-14 18:08:05

I think Scouting and Guiding would happily say they have a heritage of of a connection with the Church, in that they have often met in their halls etc. however this isn't the same a being a Christian organisation. They don't aim to promote Christianity. The mention of God in the old promise was not promoting was open for those making the promise to interpret S they liked. It was a personal promise for each boy or girl. These days Guiding is keen to emphasise Guriding is open to Christians, those of other faiths and those of none. They try hard to be inclusive to all. At the same time, they are not throwing their heritage out and value it. Many Guides and Scours also value the heritage and that they are involved in something 100 years old. As earlier posters have often said, when the kids are offered the chance the ditch Brownie Bells or Guide Taps, they have often chosen to hang onto them. It's not for religious reasons, but those of heritage. New traditions keep coming too. These are likely to be those that are part of today's culture. In the future not everyone will like them either. Those traditions won't define the purpose of the Guiding or Scouting movement either.

RedToothBrush Thu 30-Jan-14 17:55:20

The organisation and the individuals in it are a different things though.

The agenda of an individual who is a leader can be very different to the agenda of the organisation.

I think there's nothing dishonest in that.

Grennie Thu 30-Jan-14 17:41:52

Yes our country is a Christian one.

I actually haven't any issue with any voluntary organisation having a religious component. I just like honesty about it.

RedToothBrush Thu 30-Jan-14 17:40:19

Grennie, then your issue is more about Church and State in the Uk, rather than about Scouting.

The head of this country is the head of the Church of England. The French have a President. Its simply a different state structure.

RedToothBrush Thu 30-Jan-14 17:38:32

I think its interesting what DHs district has a march for. They have two per year. These are St George's Day and Remembrance Sunday. Whilst part of these is a church service, its more about recognising sacrifice and national pride (in a positive way) and giving thanks. These are values that can be important in this country, whether you be Atheist, Christian, Jewish, Muslim or Jedi. Yes, because traditionally in the UK, the Church and State are closely linked and Christianity is the main faith thats why it has been tied together. But I don't think its about promoting Christianity as such.

LeBearPolar Thu 30-Jan-14 17:38:18

DS is going parascending with Scouts this summer - that's not an opportunity he's been offered anywhere else so far. He has also done loads of camps and outdoor activities.

No cannibalism or torture yet though confused - I'm guessing the OP is someone who has no actual idea what scouts and guides are all about but was just bored and wanting to stir a bit.

Grennie Thu 30-Jan-14 17:35:53

I agree with the French approach that religion has no place in public institutions.

ChocolateWombat Thu 30-Jan-14 17:27:15

Would you also call non Church schools which have the odd prayer or hymn religious organisations too. What about trade unions and guilds which often have a motto in Latin which refers to God. Or the Rotary or the Lions who may have prayers before meetings. Do you object to all of them on that basis? Do you object to parliament in the same way you do Guides etc. This country has a heritage which cannot be swept away in an instant. This heritage does not make all these organisations religious in purpose. They just value their heritage....and most people have a sense of heritage too which is not connected to being religious.

RedToothBrush Thu 30-Jan-14 17:23:37

If its a Christian organisation as such, why does it encourage different faiths? Historically, it has been one of the most proactive organisations that have respected individual faiths of all different kinds. In other countries it does not encourage Christianity at all, but instead supports the local culture - something pretty unique for an organisation founded at the height of the British Empire. The purpose of the scouts is to make rounded individuals who are active citizens, with one of its core principles being respect, and it always has been.

I won't lie and say that it doesn't attract and has a sizeable percentage of leaders with very strong Christian beliefs - DH has come across a few with some 'interesting' beliefs (and expressed a desire to ram their bigotry and quite frankly racist opinions back down their throats). But I actually think thats more about attracting a certain percentage of type of more traditional and conservative and dare I say it 'middle class' leadership. Not that the organisation's values itself are Christian.

And its certainly not true that this is reflective of the entire districts leadership. DH has been very involved at a district level as he has specialist skills and has met a very wide range of people, many of whom are a LOT more liberal minded.

I would say that its probably worth considering the age of the leadership at whatever group you might be considering. A large number of younger leaders is likely to be more reflective of 'new' scouting.

ShoeWhore Thu 30-Jan-14 17:07:22

My dcs have done Beavers/Cubs and had an absolutely brilliant experience. They've done all sorts of activities from camps to abseiling to junk modelling to cooking and learned a lot about teamwork and and independence and themselves along the way. Ds1 caught his own fish and cooked it on the campfire. Ds3 surprised himself by finding the confidence to try the abseiling when he thought he didn't want to.

I really like the fact that it brings together children with all sorts of different skills and strengths and pretty much everyone will be good at some activities and find others harder. I think that's a great lesson.

We're not religious and I haven't particularly noticed an overtly religious emphasis. They do attend the Remembrance Day parade in town but I don't think it's a bad thing for the children to reflect on how many people lost their lives.

Our Beaver/Cub leaders also work hard to provide a varied programme while keeping the subs within the reach of most local families, which I also think is really important. I absolutely take my hat off to them - they work so hard and put so much in. I think they know how much we appreciate it, I hope so.

Grennie Thu 30-Jan-14 16:55:05

wombat - You are wrong. Parliament is a Christian organisation.

Grennie Thu 30-Jan-14 16:54:12

Lottie, this was in the 80's. There were lots of aetheists around then. Although the organisation has always seemed a bit old fashioned, so maybe that fits.

ChocolateWombat Thu 30-Jan-14 16:50:53

ATTHESTROKE I have never referred to Guiding as authority. Perhaps you are confusing me with another poster.

I think there is confusion about what is meant by a Christian organisation. Saying prayers does not make an organisation Christian. parliament has prayers before it sits and so do county councils. They are not Christian organisations. Likewise, Brownies and Guides etc who have prayers are not Christian organisations. You need to look at the founding of an organisation and most importantly it's purpose to see if it is a religious organisation. Lots of organisations in the past had LINKS to the Church or other religious organisations but themselves did not have a religious purpose. Many organisations have a TRADITION of things like prayers, not becuae they were ever religious organisations but because in the past, it was culturally relevant and widely accepted to do those things. Parliament, councils, many schools and also Guides have a long history and tradition is important to them. They say prayers as part of that. Some of the people involved are religious and involved with the Chirch, but many are not. Most adults and children are able to accept this without any issues.
There seem to be some people who cannot tolerate or stand to be in any building or have any contact with an organisation which follows these kind of traditions. They see them as being religious, when in actual fact they usually are not. These people I think find much to object to in society, not just Brownies and Cubs. Of course they are free to not join. But the organisations are not inherently wrong and they are not actually religious.

Lottiedoubtie Thu 30-Jan-14 15:36:27

Grennie I think the Christianity evident in guiding past is cultural, God was a bigger part of English culture in times gone by and this was reflected in most organisations.

I think when people say 'we aren't a Christian organisation' they mean the stereotypical 'scary Christian spinster' guiding anecdote was always a rogue minority issue.

Grennie Thu 30-Jan-14 13:16:21

I totally understand that Guiding has changed. But I can't agree that it has never been a religious organisation. The promise that was used until recently, made it clear that it was.

And in Brownies the closing prayers sung are also religious.

And children have always not being allowed to attend because of the religious element. Just because that is not your experience, does not mean it is not others.

RedToothBrush Thu 30-Jan-14 13:11:26

Oh and DH is very unusual in that he left scouting at 14 and then didn't rejoin until he was 30. Why? Because all the scouts did when he was 14 was play football and he got bored. So he has had a negative experience of scouting himself.


RedToothBrush Thu 30-Jan-14 12:49:10

Cannibalistic Rites?

Clearly you are not aware of how risk assessments have changed scouting. Axe throwing might pass Health and Safety, but I'm not sure how they could manage to get Cannibalism past it.

DH is an staunch atheist. You won't meet anyone more liberal or with a greater dislike for the Daily Fail. The God stuff really put him off and he was worried that his views would mean he wasn't allowed to become a leader. He refused to lie. He definitely does not like a lot of the petty bickering and power trips some of the old guard have.

Fortunately the changes in Scouts, particularly the God Stuff have come at just the right time for him. Which is just as well as they are desperate for new leaders who have experience with outdoor activities, particularly in his age group.

There is a lot of older leaders and a good crop of younger ones coming through due to the fact they changed the age bands for scouts/explorers a few years back with helped reduce kids falling out the organisation. But his age group are a novelty and are really needed as the older leaders will quite literally start dying out soon. There is a recognised need to change from the more stuffy institution it was and things are being done to do that. Though perhaps not quickly enough.

The health and safety stuff has helped to kill a lot of the 'fun' stuff - not because its dangerous as such, but simply because its more difficult to do, and there isn't always the trained youthful yet responsible people to support it. These things are great for teaching kids to be adventurous yet sensible at the same time. Amazing life skills. Give it a few more years and hopefully the situation will have improved, but the organisation is definitely going through a transition phrase.

So DH does it as its a great way to get involved in outdoor activities such as canoeing and climbing - as well as a cheap way to get trained in supervisory roles for them. He wants to give kids the same opportunities to do these as he had and to share the things he loves. Particularly kids from 'the wrong end of town' who don't get the same opportunities as their rich neighbours.

Can't see whats weird about that? Please tell me why its weird?

atthestrokeoftwelve Thu 30-Jan-14 12:22:58

chocolate- you also describe the guiding movement as authority?

Please don't flatter yourself.

NigellasDealer Thu 30-Jan-14 11:58:50

They hate the idea of their PFBs doing things outside the protection of their wing
sorry but that is bollocks, both of mine have done plenty of things without me, probably more than most, and I did send them to cubs, but tbh the general weirdness of the leaders was overwhelming. I do not speak for any pack but the one we joined of course. and no I am not going to volunteer myself.

atthestrokeoftwelve Thu 30-Jan-14 11:49:17

What rubbish!

My DD was happy going to dance class at the age of 5, and both my kids did week long residential trips with the school at age 7.

I was happy being a school prefect, I am a schoool Governor atm, a member of the local Authority children's panel, my son is on the student's council at secondary school and represents his school at the Model United Nation forum.

Where you get this idea that we don't want our kids doing independant activities or that we have a problem with authority is laughable.

alemci Thu 30-Jan-14 11:11:58

fair point chocolate. perhaps it brings up difficulties connected with parents own childhood where they has hurts and misunderstandings and difficulties with authority.

DioneTheDiabolist Thu 30-Jan-14 10:21:18

YY Chocolate.

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