Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Rite of Passage to Navigators Ceremony

Trailmaster: Lord Baden-Powell, a British war hero, started the Scouting movement in England in 1907.  This movement quickly spread to the United States as the Boy Scouts of America and incorporated other outdoor youth organizations including Lone Scouts, Sons of Daniel Boone, and Woodcraft Indians.  In 2014, Trail Life USA was formed as an evolution of the Scouting movement to teach our boys and young men time-honored Christian morals and virtues.  In fact, the creation of our Trailman Handbook was influenced by the first Boy Scouts of America handbook, published over 100 years ago.  Here is an excerpt from that early book that is applicable to this important ceremony today:

 “A little over fifteen hundred years ago, the great order of knighthood and chivalry was founded.  The reason for this was the feeling on the part of the best men of that day that it was the duty of the stronger to help the weak.  These were the days when might was right, and the man with the strongest arm did as he pleased, often oppressing the poor and riding rough shod without any regard over the feelings and affections of others.  In revolt against this, there sprang up all over Europe a noble and useful order of men who called themselves knights.  Nowhere in all the stories that have come down to us have the acts of chivalry been so well told as in the tales of King Arthur and his Round Table.  The desire of these men was "To live pure, speak true, right wrong, follow the king."  It was for this great service that they trained themselves, passing through the degrees of page, esquire, and knight with all the hard work that each of these meant in order that they might the better do their duty to their God and country.”
Trail Life USA and Troop ­­­______ has sought to reintroduce the spirit of the ancient order of knighthood to raise up a new generation of modern-day knights.  C.S. Lewis, the great Christian philosopher of the 20th Century, once said "Since it is so likely that children will meet cruel enemies, let them at least have heard of brave knights and heroic courage.  Otherwise you are making their destiny not brighter but darker.”  As originally taught in earlier Scout handbooks and reinforced in The Trailman’s Handbook, a Trailman “while living in modern times, must consider himself the heir of ancient chivalry and of the pioneers, and he must for this reason give himself to ever renewed efforts to be true to the traditions which have been handed down to him by these great and good leaders of men”. 
Patrol Leader: Knights were brave, Christian men of honor, valor, and courage who defended what was right and good.  They abided by a Code of Chivalry or Code of Conduct.  Although this Code varied among different orders of knights through the ages, there were codes that were common among all Christian orders:
Navigator #1: I am Sir Godwyn.  My name means “friend of God”.  I am the knight who exemplifies the following codes of chivalry:
  • Fear God and defend His Church
  • Serve your country in valor and faith
  • Keep the faith
  • Always and everywhere be right and good against evil and injustice
I am the knight who reminds Trailmen of the part of the Trailman Oath that says, “On my honor, I will do my best to serve God and my country”.

Navigator #2: I am Sir Simen.  My name means “obedient”.  I am the knight who exemplifies the following codes of chivalry:
  • Avoid causing trouble
  • Despise taking bribes
  • Obey those placed in authority
  • Finish any task that you start
I am the knight who reminds Trailmen of the part of the Trailman Oath that says, “On my honor, I will do my best to respect authority”.

Navigator #3: I am Sir Eadmund.  My name means “protector of prosperity”.  I am the knight who exemplifies the following codes of chivalry:
  • Respect and protect the weak and defenseless
  • Live by honor and for glory
  • Take care of widows and orphans
  • Fight for the welfare of all
I am the knight who reminds Trailmen of the part of the Trailman Oath that says, “On my honor, I will do my best to be a good steward of creation”.

Navigator #4: I am Sir Aureus.  My name means “golden”. I am the knight who exemplifies the following codes of chivalry:
  • Speak the truth at all times and never go back on your word.
  • Guard the honor of fellow knights
  • Avoid unfairness, meanness and deceit
  • Be generous to everyone.
  • Respect the honor of women
I am the knight who reminds Trailmen of the Golden Rule in the Trailman Oath that says, “On my honor, I will do my best to treat others as I want to be treated”.

Trailmaster: Only those boys who were worthy could become knights when they reached manhood.  Earning the honor to be called a knight was similar to earning the Freedom Award in Trail Life.  Those who earn Trail Life’s highest rank of Rangeman, like those who earned the rank of knight, have shown that they have earned this honor by hard work and Godly living.
Before a boy could become a knight, he was first a page.  A page studied under a knight to learn how to become a knight.  At 14 or 15 years of age, a page would become a squire.  A squire was the armor bearer for a knight.  He also took care of the knight’s horse and accompanied him in battle.  He learned and lived the code of chivalry.  He was a servant to the knight and obeyed him since he had much to learn.  Squires were also responsible for teaching and overseeing the pages.


Moving from Mountain Lions to Navigators is similar to becoming a page, except that instead of learning from a squire and a Knight, you will be under the leadership of a Patrol Leader, 1st Officer, Trail Guides, and your Trailmaster as you start to learn to lead yourself and others.

Patrol Leader: Will the following Mountain Lions and their parents come forward? 

Navigator #1: ­________________________

Navigator #2: ________________________

Navigator #3: ________________________

Trailmaster: Today is a special day.  Like the pages of old, you are starting to move from boyhood into manhood.  You are leaving Woodlands Trail and becoming a Navigator, which is another step towards earning the Freedom Award and becoming a Rangeman.  You will bring all of the knowledge that you learned in Woodlands Trail with you.  Now you will begin your training to add understanding to the knowledge that you have been given.  You will start learning by experience. 
You are not yet a squire or an Adventurer where you will begin to combine your knowledge, understanding, and experience with Godly commonsense and insight to become wise.  However, you are beginning that journey.  You will learn much from your patrol, your Trail Guide, and your Trailmaster.  You will begin to show wisdom by listening to and obeying those who are in authority over you.
You have now reached a time in your life where you will be given greater freedom and greater responsibility.  Your parents have stood beside you as you gained knowledge in Woodland Trails.  Parents, thank you for walking beside him and encouraging him. 

Patrol Leader: You will now band together as brothers in a Navigator patrol and start learning to walk with and encourage each other.  We will encounter many exciting, and sometimes frightening, experiences along the trail as you journey along the trek to manhood. 
As a Navigator, you will carry a standard or staff.  Like you, the wood of your staff started out small and helpless, a seedling.  Like you, it grew tall and sturdy, capable of supporting itself and others.  Just as a ruler is a standard for measuring things, your staff will be the standard to measure your growth from a boyhood to manhood. 
You will carry 2 standards in Navigators and Adventurers.  When you have earned the rank of Able Trailman, you will receive a Troop Standard.  This is a shorter, ceremonial staff that will be used to display your Trail Life awards.  You will bring this standard to important Trail Life ceremonies when in full uniform. 
The hiking staff that you have with you today is your Trail Standard to use on the trail.  Over 100 years ago, Lord Baden-Powell said, “Personally, I have found [the Trail Standard] to be an invaluable assistant when traversing mountains or boulder-strewn country and especially in night work in forest or bush.  In fact, you will soon find that if you don’t have your staff with you, you will always be wanting.”  
You will be instructed in its many uses, and together, we will attach trail markers to our trail standards to commemorate our many adventures together.  Your fathers or mentors have brought a Trail Standard today to present to you to assist you along the trail as you continue your journey through Navigators and Adventurers. 
Will those who stand here with these boys present them their standards for inspection?  Parents, please be seated.
(The Patrol Leader tests each staff in accordance with the attributes described by the following Navigators:)
Navigator #1: A Trail Standard has many uses.  A standard gives a Trailmen balance so that you are sure-footed as you hike through streams and rugged terrain.  A standard has to be balanced and fit well in a Trailman’s hand.
Navigator #2: It has to be long enough to be useful for many tasks.  It can be used to hold up a make-shift shelter or maybe used to reach out to save your fellow Trailman.  It must be long enough to display the many trail markers that we will collect along the way.
Navigator #3: A Trail Standard has to be strong.  Someday, your standard may be needed to carry a heavy load like water or to build a litter to carry a person to safety.  It must be durable to withstand burdens that you might find on the trail.
Navigator #4: A Trail Standard is also a defensive weapon.  In the hands of an experienced Trailman, a standard can fight off attackers and keep danger at a safe distance.
Patrol Leader says, “This staff is worthy” and hands it to a Knight.
Troopmaster: __________________, _______________________, and _______________, stand at attention and give the Trailman sign?  Do you wish to continue on in Trail Life and expand your adventures, character, and leadership by becoming a Navigator in Troop __________?  Will you strive to Walk Worthy, as stated in the Trailman Motto, and live up to a code of chivalry, as found in the Holy Scriptures and the Trailman Oath, as you grow from being a boy to becoming a man of God?  Two
Patrol Leader: Kneel on one knee facing the Knights.  In the tradition of the noble knights, may you be blessed in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit (touch head, shoulder, and shoulder with Trail Standard).  Using your new Trail Standard we confer on you the Trail Life ideals that focus on Christian Adventure, Christian Leadership, and Christian Character (touch head, shoulder, and shoulder).  May you grow in the image of God in God’s great outdoors.  You may rise.  Give the Trailman his standard.
Navigator #1: As you learn to navigate your way through the world, you will need 2 things.  First you will need your Bible to know where you came from and where you are going.  Navigator #2 presents Bibles.  The Holy Spirit will guide you through Navigators, Adventurers, and the rest of your life. 
Navigator #3: On the trail, you will also need a compass to show you the way.  As the Bible points you to Jesus so that you can find your way in life, your compass will point you toward North so that you will be able to find your way on the trail.  Navigator #4 presents compasses.  Carry this compass on every campout where you will be instructed in its use.
Trailmaster: Again quoting the 1911 Boy Scout handbook, “chivalry is not a virtue that had its beginning long ago and merely lived a short time, becoming a mere story.  Chivalry began in the far-distant past out of the desire to help others, and the knights of the olden days did this as best they could.  Later the new race of men in America took up the burden of chivalry, and did the best they could.  Now the privilege and responsibility comes to the boys of today, and the voices of the knight of the olden time and of the hardy pioneers of our own country are urging the boys of today to do the right thing, in a gentlemanly way, for the sake of those about them.  All of those men, whether knights or pioneers, had an unwritten code, somewhat like our" Trailman Oath. 
Patrol Leader: You are now Navigators and the newest heirs of this tradition.  Navigators, join me in reciting the Trailman Oath.
On my honor, I will do my best
To serve God and my country;
To respect authority;
To be a good steward of creation;
And to treat others as I want to be treated. (Two)
Welcome to the order of the Navigators. 
(Troopmaster, Trailmaster, and Navigators give Trailmen the Trailman handshake.)
As it is written in Colossians 1:10, “May you walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing Him, being fruitful in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God”.
Troopmaster: Troop _________, please rise and join me in congratulating our newest Navigators.  You may be seated.

Submitted by W. Todd Watson  TX-1836

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