The Boy Scouts of Belize, who claimed they were a national organization some ten years ago, and were accused on this listserve of not being national at all. The Scout Organization of Belize has been expanding nationally ever since.
There are about 400 communities in the country of Belize. Ranging from a 100 people to some around 3000 people and the biggest at 55,000 people.
I think it is a good thing the Scouts are going National in Belize, I like the Scout organization. Read a week ago, about the end of a small troop leader training course in the northern town of Corozal, presumably for smaller district villages. There was another blurb on the listserve about a new troop formed in the remote hill village of San Pedro Columbia which is a twin community with San Miguel populated by traditional slash and burn subsistance farming jungle Mayan Indians. So yes, the Scouts of Belize are slowly expanding into a national organization. One day soon, they will actually deserve the "National" part of their title. Certainly they are on the right track, with little or no resources, or money. Help from richer international sources would be of great help to Belizean Scouts. But we are not begging!
But notice of the opening of the Scout troop in the foothills of the remote jungle clad Toledo District in San Pedro Columbia and San Miguel leaves a curious question?
In Seattle, Washington, USA, the National Scout Association of that country has just told an Eagle Scout, Darrell Lambert of Port Orchard, across the Puget Sound on the Olympic Peninsula, to leave the Association based on his belief in Atheism. The argument taken, is that the National Scout Association of the USA is a FAITH organization. It does not stipulate your religious choice, but you must believe in ONE GOD. Now how does that leave the National Scout Association of Belize? In Belize, particularly in the Toledo Foothills jungle communities, the religions are mixed. There are atheists, there are Christian cults like Roman Catholics, Jehovah Witnesses Hindus, Buddhists, Sikhs and others of that ilk. There are some even believe in the Supremacy of a Black Hole at the center of the Universe, or a belief in a scientific reason for existance. But most of all in those 28 villages dotting the jungle clad hills of Mayan village subsistance slash and burn farmers in Belize, is a belief in the old Mayan Gods. The Maya had a Pantheon of Gods. Not one God as the imported evangelical religions claim.
Does the stand taken in the USA Scout Association effect worldwide Scouting movements? Do you have to believe in just ONE GOD? The article on the issue in the USA of evicting Eagle Scout and troop leader, 19 year old Darrell Lambert is written by Dean E. Murphy and found on the New York Times Service. Sunday, November 3rd, 2002.
From my Boy Scout and Troop Leader days, religion never came up in the scouts. We were taught that Baden Powell created the scouts as part of the spying activities in the Boer War in South Africa. When Dutch Boers warred against an invading English Army of conquest. Both of different religious churchs, but both of one of the many Christian cults. I never ever thought much about the Scouts being a religious based organization? Should the Scouts of Belize be a FAITH based organization? If so, what kind of faith? Should the Scouts of Belize have to believe only in ONE GOD? What about our Mayan Pantheon of Gods? Or the concept of a physics and scientific basis to creation? What if anything do these FAITH ideas have to do with character building in a Scout Association? Should such ideas be promoted and restricted to discriminate and deny some of our youngsters in Belize from the Scout Association experience? Do you get the feeling as I do, that those Scout Association characters in Seattle, USA are a little bit nuts?