The mission of the National Jewish Committee on Scouting (NJCOS) is to prepare young Jews to make ethical and moral choices over their lifetimes by instilling in them the values of Judaism as expressed in the Scout Oath and Scout Law.
This is the vision statement from NJCOS chairman Bruce Chudacoff and the Leadership Committee:
Young Jewish children will be raised primarily by their parents and in their synagogues and JCCs with a view toward inculcating in them a basic knowledge or Judaism and the tools to develop self-esteem and self-reliance. Parents will use existing programs such as the PJ Library to assist their children in the early stages of development.
As Jewish boys and girls enter Kindergarten and First Grade, they will have the opportunity to join the Tiger Cub and Cub Scout programs of the BSA. The programs, operated by chartered organizations such as local JCCs, synagogues, temples, Chabad Houses and JWV posts, will help them develop leadership skills, lifelong friendships and social skills as well as a more comprehensive grounding in Judaism through the religious emblem program. Additional partnerships with such groups as PJ Our Way and Jewish fraternities will further their Jewish identities as they grow older. Parallel programs for girls can provide them with the same opportunities.
As the children reach age 11, they will become eligible to join Scouts B.S.A. troops, again operated by chartered organizations. There they will be able to expand their horizons and develop the life skills they need to succeed in the future. As they participate in the graduated religious emblem program of the National Jewish Committee on Scouting, they will become full-fledged members of the Jewish community and will be able to associate with Jewish children in Scouting around the country and throughout the world. Again, parallel programs for girls can provide them with these opportunities as well.
As young Jewish teens reach the eligible age for Venturing, both boys and girls can join Venturing units, again operated by chartered organizations, which will further develop their skills and Jewish relationships. Scouting can act as a youth program for many different chartered organizations.
As older Jewish children graduate from high school and determine whether or not to go on to college they will have a background with Jewish organizations which can lead them to join Jewish fraternities and sororities if they go on to college or remain committed to local Jewish activities if they do not do so. Utilizing such programs as Birthright Israel, they can solidify their relationship with our homeland.
As our young adults begin to marry and have families of their own they will have had the positive experience of association with our organizations and will be more likely to remain actively involved in Jewish life as they begin the process of establishing themselves as the volunteers and leaders of their own Jewish organizations.
Our chartered organizations and Jewish fraternities and sororities can encourage their members to assist with Scouting units and later encourage their members’ and alumni’s children to join Scouting. Thus, the process will repeat itself and the entire Jewish community will become stronger and more closely knit.
I look upon Scouting as the one organization that can provide the glue to cement the future of Jewish development in America. We can act as a bridge to all different Jewish organizations and programs to bring us all together for a better future.