Pagan Scouts

5/6/2008 Fresno, CA The local troop leader of Spiral Scouts says it's dedicated to reverence for nature and religious tolerance. Beckie Tetrault says for her son and daughter it's an alternative to Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts. She says," Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts tend to separate boys and girls and I wanted them to be able to scout together. "

The other issue for Tetrault is religion. While Girl Scouts have no religious affiliations, Boy Scout troops are usually sponsored by churches, and belief in God is a requirement for membership. "There's not really an issue with Boy Scouts, it's just that they are more Christian centered. Whereas Spiral Scouts is a more earth based scouting experience." Tetrault explains.

The National Spiral Scouting organization was started by Wiccans, who believe in an Earth God and Goddess, and practice witchcraft. But Spiral Scouts is open to all faiths. That's one reason Angela Rahn says she wants her kids in Spiral Scouts. "I would just like to have my children involved with other children who are being raised the way my children are, which is being open to all religions even ones that are outside of the Christian faith."

Spiral Scouts will do things like work on merit badges, do crafts projects and go camping.

Tetrault says offering a pagan appreciation of nature, is not teaching religion. "This is not Pagan Sunday School or anything like that, we just tend to be more focused on earth centered belief systems." She adds, it's" More like, looking at, taking care of mother earth, and how our actions affect mother earth, and how we can do things to improve the situation for all people and all animals."

The Fresno based Spiral Scouts troop meets at the Fresno Discovery Center on Saturdays.

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