By tradition Scouting is associated with the Christian church and in Falkenberg we have had our end of year ceremony in the church, but this year we decided to make a new tradition, to make sure that everyone who for different reasons feel uncomfortable about church still could join in.
All the scouts and many parents and syblings gathered in the market square. Some had candles or lanterns with them, others were given flaming torches. Then they marched together through town, in the perfectly still, winter light. It was exciting to walk off the road, onto the path through the wood surrounding the Hut, were there are no street lights and the only light except for the candles and the torches, were the almost full moon and some stars looking down on the procession.
The last part of the mile long walk was lit by torches stuck into the ground and storm lantern. By the outdoor theatre there was a fire lit and Scout Master Marcus was waiting for the scouts. In his speach he told us that this place had been used in "the olden days" (before 1963, when Guides and Scouts merged in Sweden) to initiate Brownies and welcome them into the group. So what better place to welcome all new scouts? 19 new Tracker Scouts were called up, four Discoverer Scouts and one new Adventurer were introduced and gave their Scout promise in front of the group (see upper right corner for explanations of the new names).
Then Marcus talked about the importance of doing to them around you, what you want them to do to you, and how bad behaviour and bad words bounce back onto yourself. He also gave out rewards to leaders who had been active for 5 and 10 years, and introduced our two new Tracker Scout leaders to the group.
When we dispursed, wishing everyone a merry christmas and everyone walked back along the candle lit path to the parking lot, the frost had begun to settle on the ground and the moon and the stars felt close enough to touch over the bare branches. The fire was dying. We made sure that everything was as we found it, only a little bit better and went home. For the Tracker Scouts spring term starts on the 22nd of January. But I will be back before then with some news on the program and other things.
The Swedish Guide and Scout Association, of which Falkenberg Scout Group is a part, is one of five directions within The Swedish Scout Federation. The other four are all part of some mother organisation, like The Mission Covenant Church, YMCA/YWCA or the Temperance movement. Although all groups accepts everyone, it's only natural that the Temperance scouts should promise not to drink and that the Christian scout movement should mission. But the SSF, Swedish Guide and Scout Association, should always be indipendent of any political view or belief. This doesn't meen that we don't discuss faith or get involved in the society around us, although the focus is on ethical issues, democracy and human rights.