It’s a hugely important year for the Junior Section in Boys’ Brigade. One hundred years ago, on 15th September 1917 – strangely in the midst of the tumult of WWI – the Boy Life Reserves was started.
Previously, the B.B. had only been for boys aged 12 and above, but there was recognition of a need to recruit at a younger age and of the great potentially of the organisation to start teach younger boys about Jesus.
Today, the importance of what is now the Junior Section cannot be underestimated. It is, arguably, the easiest age at which to recruit for B.B. now, yet we have a challenge nationally in ensuring boys in this age group stay in the organisation when the move to Company Section happens in P7. Whilst officers and parents recognise the value of moving up and meeting older boys with whom they will soon go to high school, it’s also an age when the lure of the games console, the tablet or smartphone or just wanting to be out at the park with friends (and girls, dare we say!?) can start to take hold.
Our Junior Section programme is packed with action and variety, though sometimes we have to remind ourselves to keep focus on the activities and balance that make up the structure leading towards badges and awards.
In recent years, a lot of soul-searching and prayer went into a decision about Sunday School.
Could we continue to expect – demand – that boys attend church or Sunday School in order to get full marks at inspection on a Friday night? With 90% of boys from homes without a regular church connection other than B.B., boys’ attendance on Sundays wasn’t through their choice, but parents’ and we no longer felt we could effectively say ‘that’s not good enough’ each week when they would coyly say ‘no’ when asked if they’d been to church last Sunday.
In doing this, we also affirmed our own belief that what we are doing in Junior Section – indeed in all of B.B. – perhaps is church for most kids.
Must they sit in a pew? Sing from CH4? Put money in the plate to be considered part of the church family? We decided ‘no’ but in doing so, decided to reinforce the Christian teaching in our own programme and for our 180 boys, find as many opportunities as we can to get the them involved in church and to get our ministers involved in B.B.
The Boys’ Brigade has been successful in bringing young people into the family of the church for 100 years. If you’d like to help this continue, why not get involved? Volunteering can take many forms and doesn’t have to take over your life. If you are interested, contact your local BB or GB Company. You wont regret it!
Officer in Charge
25th Stirling (Dunblane) Boys’ Brigade
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