Boys and girls of the Eastern Orthodox faith have been involved in Scouting for over ninety years.
In 1953, Orthodox priests from various dioceses approached the Boy Scouts of America with proposals for a formal liaison. In 1955, the Greek, Russian, Carpatho-Russian, and Syrian religious hierarchs created a committee to negotiate with the national officers of the Boy Scouts. This resulted in the establishment of the Eastern Orthodox Committee on Scouting in 1960.
The committee consisted of several priests and adult volunteers. It acts as a liaison between the Eastern Orthodox Church and the Boy Scouts of America and the Girl Scouts of the U.S.A. The Eastern Orthodox Committee on Scouting (EOCS) publishes various forms of literature, honors and awards, promotes Orthodox Scouting, informs the Orthodox Clergy on the services of Scouting, and keeps those in Orthodox Scouting up-to-date on current progress. It also establishes procedures and coordinates the Orthodox Scouting program in America as well as being the official recognized representative for the Eastern Orthodox Churches by both the Boy & Girl Scouts nationally.
Orthodox Church-Scouting Relationship
Scouting has been recognized as an official youth program of the Orthodox Church since 1952 when the Standing Conference of Canonical Bishops (SCOBA) approved it and created the Eastern Orthodox Committee on Scouting. The twelfth Boy Scout Law states, “A Scout is reverent, He is reverent to God, He is faithful in his religious duties and respects the convictions of others in matters of custom and religion.” Consequently, a religious program that allows the Scout to practice his/her religious beliefs should be included as a regular part of the Scouting program if the Scouting unit is chartered to a religious organization. The Scoutmaster, Troop Leader, Scout Coordinator, and adult volunteers together with the priest should plan a religious program for the Scouts which includes prayers, retreats. and worship services.