Eagles soar on faith

Four Union County Eagle Scouts recently fused Scouting with faith and friendship through God and Life – a merit program that incorporates spirituality among Boy Scouts.

The four Scouts (above) recently took part in the God and Life merit program through Boy Scouts. All are members of Troop 276.

The four Scouts (above) recently took part in the God and Life merit program through Boy Scouts. All are members of Troop 276.

Jordan Croskrey, George Hayes, William Hulme and Matthew White, all members of Troop 276, recently received the God and Life Award – complete with medals and an embroidered emblem to be sewn onto their Scout uniform, signifying their completion of the program.

God and Life is organized through P.R.A.Y. (Programs for Religious Activities with Youth), a nonprofit made up of ministers and leaders of Protestant churches who partner with the Boy Scouts of America. The intensive, 12-week program consists of a workbook, daily Bible readings, individual service projects and a written statement of commitment.

“I think (God in Action) shows that as Scouts we take the Scout law and Scout oaths very seriously,” George, a junior at Union Academy, said. “We want to do everything we can for God and for our country.”

Assistant Scout Master Wes Croskrey, a leader and Bible teacher in his own church, guided the Scouts through the God in Action learning sessions. The group teamed up with Rev. Jim Johns, pastor of Indian Trail Presbyterian Church, where the group meets. Johns oversaw the program and administered a final review after the workbook and projects were completed.

Unlike Eagle Scout projects, which consist of extensive individual planning and collective group efforts, the God in Action program focuses on group fellowship and discussion followed by smaller, individual service projects.

The Scouts had to plan and lead devotions for their family, youth group or Sunday school group and share their experience. They also had to carry out random acts of kindness, such as visiting someone in the hospital or helping a neighbor, and research ministry-related occupations.

Jordan, a recent Weddington High School graduate, took his research a step further. While many people might have limited their focus to the more obvious choices like a pastor or a missionary, Jordan said, he chose to think out of the box and zero in on how ministry can be incorporated into other jobs.

“What I did was I went through some of the less thought of (occupations), like construction or personal training, because with those occupations you develop opportunities to build relationships with clients,” he said. “You’re building the right to be heard. As the relationship between you and the client grows, you begin to talk more about personal issues and faith.”

The Scouts also were required to write a personal statement of commitment and studied the lives of Biblical characters like Moses, Elijah, Mary and Paul. George said the lessons led to some deep discussions that brought the four Scouts closer to one another.

“The discussions we had around the little bonfire we had whenever we were meeting for the program, going through the workbook and things, (were) some really meaty, good, quality discussions,” he said.

Jordan said the toughest part about the entire program was the amount of self-exploration the Scouts were required to do.

“The thing I found most challenging, the hardest part was pointing out my flaws and what I had to work on, realizing things I’ve done wrong and working to make them right,” he said.

George and Jordan both said they hope their award will encourage fellow Scouts to stay committed to their faith, and they hope it will serve as a reflection of their own commitment throughout the community.

Find more information about the God and Life Award at www.praypub.org.

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