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Chaplain Aide Training

Here’s a question from Marie:

I’ve been asked to take over the Chaplain’s Aide training for our council, but they have no training materials from the previous coordinator. Can someone please share with me how you run training for Chaplain’s Aide? Thanks in advance!

Thanks for the question Marie. And congratulations to your council for even having a Chaplain Aide training program. I don’t have any personal experience with this, but here are some ideas of things you might cover:

  1. General responsibilities of the position.
  2. How to handle sensitivities in groups of mixed faiths.
  3. How to run an interfaith prayer service.
  4. Where to find materials for the religious emblems for each faith.

I’m sure some readers who have been directly involved in Chaplain Aide training have some ideas. Please add your suggestions to the comments below.


6 responses to “Chaplain Aide Training”

  1. Marie Avatar

    Thanks for posting my question. I should have mentioned that I am the religious emblem counselor for our pack, troop, and another local troop. This would piggyback on that role.

  2. Michael Avatar

    There is a National Chaplains Aide Training that is in the submission process with National. This was initiated in the Denver Area Council. I am happy to offer the names of the contributors and they would love to reach out and assist.

  3. Darryl Alder Avatar
    Darryl Alder

    I have been a chaplain a few times for BSA. This is a really rewarding actiivity. Our blog has carried a few stories (you can use this url to find my search also the National Council website offer this and
    there is a PDF of that manual

  4. Barb Kish Avatar
    Barb Kish

    I use to be the Chaplain for our unit a few years ago and felt the same way; there was no training or guide for boys, so as part of my Woodbadge ticket, I created both. You can find them under “forms” at

  5. Amy McNeil Avatar
    Amy McNeil

    Marie, a friend has asked me via email to address your inquiry above. For your information as well as all others reading this there is no and has never been an official BSA Chaplain Aide Training syllabus. With the creation of the youth leadership position of Chaplain Aide, we discovered that there were a few light duties and responsibilities to go along with the position but that is the extent to which training was offered. The training therefore was left up pretty much to the unit, district or local council. As you can imagine there has been little continuity to these “trainings.” They exist, but are somewhat unique to each council. We have found that all Chaplain Aide Trainings (CAT) that we reviewed are the same, with bits and pieces with local flavor or individual expression written into the main document.

    Back in 2004, another Scouter and I embarked upon a journey that has led to the creation of a CAT Committee, a seat on our Council Training Committee, successful completion of three pilot courses, and a comprehensive CAT program that was submitted to the National Religious Relationships Committee in February 2014. After their meeting in October, I found out this curriculum remains stalled with the Clergy subcommittee. I have no idea of the issues or the impasse. Instead of waiting another eleven years, our CAT Committee decided to ask our council to adopt the CAT program so we can move forward as a council to offer this training to all scouts. It was approved by our Council Training Committee Chairman four days ago.

    We have set our next CAT date for 21 August 2016. This will give us enough time to recruit both youth and adult staff and train them as Chaplain Aide Training trainers and bring them up to speed on the contents of the program so they will be able to execute a great training experience.

    Briefly, we train 15 Teams. A Team = 1 Chaplain Aide and 1 Unit Chaplain. They must attend the training together so each builds a unit Team that will return to the unit and immediately begin working as a team. This is a new way of training for BSA as normally youth and adults are not trained together. We felt it was imperative for the youth to have a mentor so that when he/she returns to the unit the CA has someone to back him/her up, remove obstacles or impediments to successful youth leadership, be a coach, and be available if the CA needs assistance. Not the other way around. This CAT always puts the youth first and the adult second. The CA’s are trained by youth staff and the Unit Chaplains are trained by adult staff, in separate rooms, but during several sections adults enter the youth room to observe only.

    Anyone who might like to facilitate bringing this Chaplain Aide Training Program into their council is encouraged to contact me through this website. I will be more than happy to respond and add you to our growing list of councils waiting for this training program.

    Amy McNeil
    Chaplain Aide Training Chairman
    Denver Area Council, BSA

  6. James Lehman Avatar
    James Lehman

    Greetings: I just stumbled upon this page in seeking info about Scout Chaplaincy. All the above is good, but as with much about religion/faith is incomplete. I discuss (I would hesitate to say “teach”) Duty to God at our IOLS and other odd times. I was named and served as Scout Chaplain at the Nat. Jamboree. Here is the outline I use at IOLS:
    I think it is all self explanatory.
    I recommend watching MASH and using Father Mulcahy as a role model. Pastoral Care training is useful. The need to be a “Listener” rather than a “Teller” is important. Being conversant in other faiths than the one of your own tradition is important.
    When I am asked to “Lead” an “interfaith” service at a camporee or such, I ask for the attending CAs to meet with me . I ask THEM to work together to develop the service. I hand them my samples, and then say do it YOUR way, but here are some ideas…. and they never disappoint me. Not being TOO Christian, or TOO jewish or TOO muslim…. The Scouts are inevitably more sensitive to the multiplicities of faith than any adult is.

    See you on the trail….

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