The “Good Life” religious emblem shows recognition of Zoroastrian youth by various Zoroastrian Associations in the United States for the advancement of their religious knowledge and participation in community service. The “Good Life” program, it should be emphasized, is primarily a dynamic exercise in faith awareness for which an award is made.
This program is an attempt to offer Zoroastrian youth residing in the United States of America an award that culminates their religious educational experience and one which is comparable to that offered to the Boy Scouts of other religious denominations such as the “Ad Altere Dei” award by the Catholic Church and “God and Country” award by the Protestant denomination.
The purpose of this program is three-fold:
- to make Zoroastrian youth more aware of their faith, it’s outlook and achievements,
- to encourage them to achieve meaningful spiritual experience in living their faith and to inculcate the practice of the religion of the prophet Zarathushtra, and,
- to encourage Zoroastrian Boy/Girl Scouts to enthusiastically participate in a community oriented project, thereby practicing the salient principles of the Zoroastrian faith, i.e., happiness unto him who makes others happy.
It is the intent of this program to supplement the religious training imparted at home, either by the parents or the priests, and to intensify their motivation for a better understanding of Zoroastrianism. It is hoped that the program will enable young Zoroastrians to think about religious issues. Furthermore, the program will provide an opportunity and a vehicle for our youth to become acquainted and exchange personal religious convictions and views with seasoned members of the faith.
The program has been designed primarily for youth – both boys and girls – within the age group of twelve and eighteen. An aspiring young Zoroastrian will have to fulfill the requirements relative to:
- religious education.
- community-oriented projects.
It will take at least one full year from the date of registration in the program to qualify for the emblem.
The religious education requirement shall consist of four parts:
- An understanding of the basic principles of the Zoroastrian religion and the historical perspective of Zoroastrians.
- Awareness of the meaning and the liberal interpretation of the daily “Kusti” prayers.
- Familiarity with the fundamental concepts of essential ceremonies like:
- Navjote (Initiation ceremony).
- Jashan (Thanksgiving ceremony).
- Various festivals as per the Zoroastrian calendar.
- Cognizance of:
- the various calendars followed by different groups of Zoroastrians.
- different stages of Fire-temples (the Zoroastrian place of worship).
- the days of the month and the months of the year of the Zoroastrian calendar.
The second requirement, it is stressed, will involve an ACTION-ORIENTED SERVICE PROJECT. In consultation with the counselor a youngster may undertake any project of a 15 – 20 hour duration within the time frame of 6-9 months. The primary goal of this project should be:
- to assist a special need of the Community as endorsed and approved by the local Association or an elder (but not the parent).
THE ROLE OF THE COUNSELOR AND PARENT
As the total population of Zoroastrians in the continental United States is rather microscopic, and as not all Zoroastrians in most of the states are organized into church groups, it is very essential that counselors at local levels play a very significant role while guiding the youngster. In certain cases it may be desirable to correspond with the religious coordinator of a local Zoroastrian Association or of the Zoroastrian Association of Greater New York. The parent in such a case may act as the counselor.
It is recommended that the counselor and the parents should be conversant with the contents of this brochure. Guidance provided by the counselor and his/her active participation throughout the duration of the program is very necessary. For example, the notebook which each youngster is expected to keep is most important and should be checked regularly, with suggestions concerning its content, and reviewed at the completion of each stage.
It is hoped that, whenever possible, the counselor would encourage a youngster to discuss the conferring elements of this program with knowledgeable adults whose wisdom and training give them considerable insight. This would be beneficial to the candidate.
In conclusion, there should be complete freedom to adapt this program to any youth or local situation as long as it is not a “give-away program”. The counselor will correspond with a brief report and the candidate’s notebook – as a final confirmation -with the “Good Life Emblem” Administrative Council of the Zoroastrian Association of Greater New York, Inc., 106 Pomona Road, Suffern NY 10901.
INSTRUCTIONS TO SCOUT
“A Scout is reverent. He is reverent towards God. He is faithful in his religious duties and respects the convictions of others in matters of custom and religion.” (Boy Scout Handbook)
WELCOME: ZOROASTRIAN BOY/GIRL SCOUTS
The Zoroastrian Association of Greater New York is pleased to enroll you in the “Good Life” religious emblem program. You are on the path of an exhilarating experience of religious exploration. As a Scout, you are aware of the Scout law and oath, which calls to mind righteousness, moral goodness, and responsibilities to God, country and fellow men. These are the central ethical principles expounded by the prophet Spitama Zarathustra. Zoroastrianism, as we practice it, is not limited to saying mandatory daily prayers, attending religious ceremonies, etc. Rather, the Zoroastrian way of life puts great emphasis on such ethical and spiritual virtues as: » the framework of good thoughts, good words, and good deeds, (i.e., Humata, Hukhta, and Huvarshta).
- embracing the path of righteousness.
- service to your fellow man.
Accordingly, Scouting and the Zoroastrian way of life have much in common. If you are a good scout, you become a good Zoroastrian, and conversely, if you are truly a good Zoroastrian, you will be living up to the Scout oath and law. It is good to remember that as you begin the “Good Life” religious emblem program you are seeking to broaden your religious heritage.
THE COUNSELOR’S ROLE
As a Zoroastrian youngster in this endeavour you will be guided by the “Good Life Administrative Council” of The Zoroastrian Association of Greater New York, 106 Pomona Road, Suffem, NY 10901, (hereinafter called ZAGNY) or a local association where applicable. ZAGNY (or your local association) shall appoint a counselor who will be your guide as you fulfill the requirement of the “Good Life” emblem program.
Your advisor will assist you in every possible manner so that you may have the distinction of wearing the emblem with pride. The program outlined in this brochure has been written to fulfill the needs of the Zoroastrian scout. The suggested program contains a set of instructions which do not have to be followed rigidly. Your advisor may want to modify or alter certain requirements to meet your specific needs.
As stated earlier, the “Good Life” emblem is granted as a recognition of religious learning by a Zoroastrian congregation. Therefore, a youngster who fulfills the standard outlined in this program receives his/her emblem in the presence of a local Zoroastrian congregation. In the absence of an organized congregation ZAGNY may mail the emblem to the counselor who may present the emblem to the youngster in the presence of his/her family members and friends. In addition, for a Scout, in the absence of an organized congregation, ZAGNY may mail the emblem to the counselor who may then present the emblem to the Scout in the presence of his/her family members and troop.
WHO IS ELIGIBLE? QUALIFICATIONS
- You must be under 18 years of age. ( A Scout of any rank is eligible to enroll in the program, but you may not receive the emblem until you have achieved First Class rank.)
- You are expected to be regular in attendance at one of the following:
- religious school;
- adult worship services; or,
- meetings and activities of the congregation, if any.
- You must give evidence of good character and conduct in your daily life.
- The program will require at least one year’s activity, from the date you enroll ,
with the religious coordinator of ZAGNY or a local association, where applicable.
If your parents are members of any Zoroastrian Association in the USA ask them to contact the “Good Life Administrative Council” of The Zoroastrian Association of Greater New York, 106 Pomona Road, Suffem, NY 10901. They will provide you with the name and address of an ordained Zoroastrian priest or a lay-Zoroastrian who would be willing to serve as your adviser for the term of the program. He should be someone with whom you can counsel freely throughout the duration of this project. In the absence of an organized Zoroastrian association in your area it might be necessary to work with either your parent or religious affairs coordinator (of ZAGNY) as your counselor.
The counselor will enroll you, completing the form titled “Gook Life Record”. This represents your commitment to the program. As their commitment to help you successfully participate and complete the program your parents and your counselor will attest their signatures to the form.
Your religious advisor shall send the following information through the enrollment form to ZAGNY:
- name and address of youth (Scout if applicable) who has enrolled.
- name and address of religious advisor.
- name of church or fellowship and its address.
- unit number (troop, post, etc.) where applicable.
- date of enrollment of Scout or Explorer in the “Good Life” program.
Upon receipt of the above information ZAGNY will send the application form for the “Good Life” emblem. When your receive this application notify your advisor. Decide upon a safe place to keep it until the program is completed. On completion of your “Good Life” program, your advisor must forward this application form to ZAGNY in order that they may grant you the “Good Life” emblem. You may be asked to fulfill the requirement for the “Good Life” program immediately upon being enrolled by your advisor. The requirements are in four stages. Each stage should take your three or four months to complete. The entire program cannot be completed in less than one year.
When, in the opinion of your religious advisor, you have satisfactorily completed the requirements in all stages he will arrange for you to be reviewed on your work by a committee. This committee, along with your advisor, will signify approval by signing your application for the “Good Life” emblem.
The Scout’s application form for the”Good Life” emblem, along with the remittance of $ 10.00 to cover the cost of the emblem, should then be endorsed by your Scout counselor. The Scout counselor will certify that you have achieved First Class rank by signing his name to your application form and providing his title, address and telephone number.
When you visit your counselor bring a workbook (8 1/2″ x 11″ notebook would suffice). The purpose of the workbook is not to accumulate a great amount of material, but, to provide reasonable assurance to your counselor that you have acquired a proper understanding of the Zoroastrian religion.
WEARING THE EMBLEM-BOYS SCOUTS OF AMERICA
The Boys Scouts of American has authorized the “Good Life” emblem to be worn over the left breast pocket at the left of the Eagle Scout Badge, or, when the Eagle Scout Badge is not worn, centered above the flap of the left pocket.