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Member resources

Spiritual development

The Scout Association is a Movement that explores faith, beliefs and attitudes as a core element of it's Programme, and is one of our Values within the Fundamentals.

Scouting does not seek to undertake responsibility for religious development or education, but learning about faiths, beliefs and attitudes can help make the world a more tolerant and less frightening place.

Both adults and young people commit to engaging in spiritual development when they make their Promise and become members of the Movement.

The spiritual development of all members is an important element of Scouting, and all members should be encouraged to follow the five principles.

The five principles of spiritual development

  1. To develop and inner discipline and training.
  2. To be involved in corporate (group) activities with others.
  3. To understand the world around them.
  4. To help create a more tolerant and caring society.
  5. To discover the need for spiritual reflection.

Leaders have a duty to support the spiritual development of youth members, and spiritual development should be an integral part of each activity, meeting and event. We can grow spiritually through a range of practical activities and experiences, and by the way in which we undertake them.

Sharing in spiritual reflection

Sharing in spiritual reflection encompasses the diversity of faiths of members and those with no affirmed faith. It is important to enable young people to spend some time taking stock of themselves and the world around them; there is great power in peace, quiet and contemplation.

Spiritual reflection is a very wide and deep activity. If it is to have meaning for those taking part, young people need to be actively involved and sharing the experience rather than listening or watching as observers. The Programme should provide the necessary time, atmosphere, opportunities and encouragement to allow reflection to take place. Periods of spiritual reflection can occur at any time; and may include during or after a particularly challenging activity and on special occasions.

Young people and spiritual development

To support spiritual development, youth members need:

Different faiths place emphasis on different things and have different approaches to spiritual reflection, expressed via prayer and worship. These differences are rooted in the experience and traditions of defined religious groups.

It is the Leader's responsibility to know the religious traditions of all the young people in the group, and to understand and respect those traditions. Spiritual reflections should be inclusive, and should also be comfortable and appropriate for all present, including those with no faith.


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