Flag Etiquette – Flag Ceremony – How Important is the “Opening” in Scouts?

The opening of many meetings is a flag ceremony. Has your unit practiced it? Should an opening prayer come before the flag ceremony? Yes, think about the Scout Oath (“God and Country”). Pledge of Allegiance, Scout Oath, Scout Law, and Outdoor Code. How many non-scout adults in America know how to properly fold the flag? Only 4 to 5% depending on location. Ask yourself, how many former scouts can still fold a flag? All of them? We never just burn flags in scouts. We respectfully retire them by cremation. If the flag touches the ground it’s only accidental or at worst disrespectful. It’s not time to run, and get the matches. Troops and Packs, most parents don’t know all the parts of a flag ceremony. So don’t freak out if it goes off wrong. As long as it’s respectful and you don’t point out mistakes then it’s all good. I was told by a leader that they had a parent tell them that they only get to recite the pledge (Pledge of Allegiance) at Scout meetings.

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Youth Protection, A Call To Action… Teen Suicide Prevention

Teen suicide is the 2nd cause of death to American youth today. I know this subject is dark and cringy and most leaders avoid it if they can. As adults working with youth, we need to recognize the symptoms and know what to do about it. Your active role in safeguarding our Scouts is part of your responsibilities.

RED-LIGHT Statements & Behavior include:

  • 🛑 Threatening their own well-being or others through physical violence; Statements like “Shoot myself…” or “…jump off a cliff…” and “…kill you all before myself.”
  • 🛑 Planning to run away from home or saying they won’t need things soon.
  • 🛑 Damaging or throwing away their own property for no reason.
  • 🛑 Give away personal belongings or final goodbyes.
  • 🛑 Reference suicide or suicidal thoughts on social media.
  • 🛑 Increase their use of drugs, alcohol or hurting themselves.
  • 🛑 Sudden change in health or sleep habits (too little or too much).
  • 🛑 Display extreme mood swings or is having trouble focusing.
  • 🛑 Saying they wish they hadn’t been born at all.

I know of leaders who have expressed remorse of not acting on a “gut feeling”. The adult leader should have an indication of where issues are with their scouts. The Scoutmaster conference is not just for rank advancement. Den leaders can also have meetings with the cub scout and parents. Everything within YPT should always be observed. If you notice red-light behavior call a meeting ASAP. This meeting should determine whether red light behavior was a real concern. If any red-light behavior is observed the leader should immediately notify the parents. Parents should seek immediate mental health evaluation for their scout. If one of your scouts suddenly caught on fire, you would immediately get them help. This is no different. This aspect is instinctive too good leadership like yours. The tragic loss of America’s youth is incredibly sad. We must do what we can to stop this plague.

⚠ Adult Leaders: Please enter the following in your mobile for referencing with parents. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-8255 (English) and 1-888-628-9454 (Español). The new national Lifeline 988 number is NOT CURRENTLY ACTIVE.

🌎 National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org/

🌎 AAFP Teen Suicide Prevention: https://www.aafp.org/patient-care/public-health/teen-suicide.html

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