Baden-Powell chose Saint George to be the Patron Saint of The Scout Association. He felt that the Saint George of legend set a good example of faith, courage and perseverance for future generations.
St George's day is celebrated on the 23 April, and most Districts will hold some form of celebration on the nearest Sunday – including the opportunity for members to reaffirm the Scout Promise and consider what the Promise means personally.
Traditionally the event has consisted of a parade followed by a service in a local church. Today there are many examples of celebrating this day in different ways.
Celebrations of St George should take into consideration the fact that The Scout Association has members that represent all of the major religions and members without a faith. So an occasion which does not reflect this diversity would not be appropriate. Whilst acknowledging the natural respect for a particular place of worship and encouraging working closely with faith leaders, St George’s Day celebrations should be for all to share.
Any service should reflect the multi faith and diverse aspects of The Scout Association. The contents should also be relevant and appealing to the ages of those present. It is always worthwhile checking to see what songs they know from school. Many of these songs are particularly suitable for multi-faith acts of worship.
Participation of young members is to be encouraged. Venues should also be carefully considered. The use of non religious buildings or indeed open air venues should be considered alongside the value of long-standing associations with places of worship.
Many Districts have a short act of worship that has been incorporated into an activity day or district camp. Whether the District has a formal St George's day parade or a less formal one they should always include the renewal of Promises for all sections.
We have a core Promise and a number of alternative wordings that are relevant to different faiths and also people without faith. It is important that all these alternatives are treated with the same respect. When reaffirming the Promise at the St George’s day event, everyone should be encouraged to say the version of the Promise that means most to them. All the versions can be said at the same time so that everyone can join in rather than repeating the Promise line by line. It is worth considering having a number of young people leading the Promise (rather than just one) using the wording of the Promise that is relevant to each of them.
Key advice for any act of worship would be to keep it multi-faith, relevant to the age group, short and fun.