Thursday, April 27, 2006

Spiral Scouts

For many years I have wanted my children to be a part of a group like Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts but without the Christian overtone and teaching. While I agree that both are good for kids they are also mostly only good for Christian children. Pagan, Atheist, Buddhist, and all other non-Christian children have pretty much been left out with nothing to call their own. Sure, they are invited to join GS and BS but they usually recite an oath that includes the word “God” when doing so.

Now personally I’m not against any religion or belief. I’m a very “to each his own” person but I do feel that people should feel comfortable while contributing to activities they love. So when I heard about SpiralScouts I was tickled to find a neutral ground for my children to learn on. Of course, at the time we were living in South Georgia and there was no chance of finding a local chapter there. Once we moved, you can imagine my joy when I learned that our new town started a chapter just a few months ago and was still in the beginning stages. I joined their local yahoo group and found out that they were having their next meeting the following Monday and decided we would go.

SpiralScouts has three different divisions. There are the Fireflies who are 3-8 years old, the SpiralScouts who range from 8 to 14, and the Pathfinders who are 14 and up. Personally I thought this was great because even though I know my oldest son is “too cool” for such a thing, it would still cover the younger two children and give them something fun to do while learning about nature, life, and Earth based teachings. This would mean that Lil Man could be a Firefly and Sissy could be a SpiralScout.

If you’ve never heard of SpiralScouts, they were formed in 1999 by the Aquarian Tabernacle Church. It was their answer to Boy Scouts without the Christian overtones and segregation of the sexes if you will. There are no just boys or just girls groups in SpiralScouts. All the children learn together as part of their philosophy. As the site itself says “The philosophy of SpiralScouts™ was based on children and parents working together on enriching activities based on our own religious paradigm, the ethics of personal and global responsibility, ecological principles and protection of our environment and planet. Our program is based on the concept that girls and boys should learn, play and work together, under the direction of leaders of both genders. We believe that someone’s personal orientations are their business alone, and that only experience and skill should determine the suitability of people as SpiralScouts™ leaders. After all, Paganism is all about the gender energy balance we see everywhere in nature all around us. It is about honoring both the maleness and femaleness we all harbor within us, and the abandonment of the unfortunate gender stereotyping of patriarchal culture”.

My favorite part of their philosophy can be found also on their website in this quote “Further, the philosophy includes teaching about all the world’s cultures, ancient and modern, its many mythologies, and about the diversity of faiths, ancient and modern. The program is being constructed so that religious based aspects of it are friendly to other faiths and may be easily substituted for by alternative religious programs from other faiths who may elect to sponsor SpiralScouts™ Hearths and Circles”.

Wow- tolerance, knowledge, and sharing. That definitely sounds like our kind of group. So we went to one of their meetings and my daughter loved it. It was hard for the lil guy to sit still and not try to get into everything but hopefully he will mellow out and learn to enjoy and participate. The people were friendly, they seem to have a lot of great ideas for activities planned for the children over the next year, and I honestly think my daughter (and eventually my lil man) will benefit greatly from it.

If you’d like to learn more about SpiralScouts please visit their website at www.spiralscouts.org and have a look around.

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