Catholic Adventure Week

Catholic Scouting Image
Our goal in providing this week for our Catholic Scouts is to give them an experience of living their faith, growing in their faith, and loving their faith within the Scouting movement and especially out in the wonders of God’s creation. Open to all Boy and Venture Scouts!

Catholic Adveture Week July 12-18, 2015 at Swift Explorer Base Catholic Adventure Week, offered at the Swift Base of the S-F Scout Ranch, is sponsored by the Greater St. Louis Area Council of the BSA, the Office of Youth Ministry, and the Catholic Committee on Scouting, BSA.Catholic Adventure Week is coming up on July 12-18 at the scenic Swift Explorer Base on the S-f Scout Ranch near Farmington, MO.

Catholic Venturers and Boy Scouts from around the Region are invited to have an inspirational week of high adventure/Kodiak training, faith, and fun.  Go to the link below on information/forms or contact Tom at tkroenung@stlbsa.org.  Don't miss this very unique camp experience.  Our goal in providing this week for our Catholic Scouts is to give them an experience of living their faith, growing in their faith, and loving their faith within the Scouting movement and especially out in the wonders of God’s creation.While at Swift for CAW, Scouts will be camping with their individual troops or Crews, under their particular adult leadership. Since a number of our participants are attending this camp in addition to their troop or crews summer camp, there will be cases where a Scout from a troop or crew does not have a leader present at camp.  A “provisional unit” will be made for one of the camp sites, with leadership being provided by members of the Catholic Committee on Scouting, BSA.  In the past this system has worked very well, and Scouts seem to mix easily with other Scouts, without the tension that can be experienced at a normal summer camp.While at CAW, Scouts will be exposed to the entire High Adventure program offered at Swift.  Intertwined with the outstanding program offered by the Swift staff, merit badge program time, and there will be opportunities for prayer, religious instruction, and reflection.  Meals are in the dining hall, a t-shirt is provided as a memento, and Mass on Friday.  Program manuals will be made available in March. We will be offering again the “Voyageur program” for new Scouts.

To enroll your Troop, Crew and/or individual Scouts for this special summer camp week, turn in a Troop/Crew reservation form (if your Troop/Cfrew plans to attend with adult leadership) and turn in individual Scout forms, see link, for those Scouts wishing to be in the provisional unit.    Contact Tom Kroenung for more information at tkroenung@stlbsa.org

Women of Our Catholic Faith Workshop

A Great Model To Minister To Youth!

Blog written by Adrienne Vonder Haar

Women of FaithSacred Heart Parish of Valley Park welcomed 60 girls ranging in age from Kindergarten through seventh grade on January 11th to the second “Women of Our Catholic Faith” workshop. The workshop was a three-hour event that encompassed learning about three women of our faith: St. Gianna, St. Mary Magdalene and Sarah. The programming was provided by the Office of Catholic Scouting Ministry of the St. Louis Catholic Youth Apostolate for each of the women studied as a part of their Catholic Identity patch series.

Fleece BlanketsThe girls were led through a series of rotations to explore each of these women. Activities and crafts were provided throughout and they also participated in a service project tying fleece blankets to donate to the Good Shepherd Center. Through the work of volunteers, support from Ladies Auxiliary of Knights of Columbus, Respect Life Group, SHP Men and Ladies Club and the parish school, the workshop was provided at minimal cost to the families who participated.

The workshop was founded by a group of parish women and Girl Scout leaders with the hope that through exposure, the girls would take away valuable faith related lessons from the stories and history of the women presented each year. Besides being a great Parish community event for the girls of the parish and the area Girl Scout organization, the hope is that learning about women who are role models from the Bible and from the legion of Saints will empower girls to participate fully in their faith growing up and realize that all women have a significant role in the Church and a vocation within it.

Event coordinators this year were Pat Snyder, Emily Henderson, Christine Hendricks, Karen Rasure, Sharon Arnzen and Adrienne Vonder Haar.

More Info

Are you interested in using this model for a way of ministering to youth in your parish? The Office of Catholic Scouting Ministry can support you with their programs. You can contact them by phone at 314-792-7613 or by emailing jennifertrousdale@archstl.org. You can also find more information online at www.catholicscoutingstl.org.

Pat Snyder was one of the main coordinators for the past two years at her parish and she is willing to share with anyone who wants to get the program stated at your parish! Contact Pat at 636-343-6644 or by email at pfsnyder@sbcglobal.net.

Venturers Can Now Earn Ad Altare Dei

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As of mid-2014, Venturing Scouts (youth up the age of 21) are now eligible to earn the Ad Altare Dei youth religious award in addition to the Pope Pius XII award.

Eligibility as listed on the NCCS website:

  • Registered youth in a Troop or Crew of the Catholic Faith.
  • Designed for youth 13-14 years old, older youth may use this program.
  • Active member of a unit for 6 months.
  • Completed 6th grade before starting the program.

So basically if you've been in a Crew for 6 months then you are free to begin working on your emblem!

More information on the AAD award can be found on this page.

New Faith Series

Corporal Works of Mercy

A completely new series, called the Faith Series, is being released by the National Catholic Committee on Scouting! The first activity in this new series is based on the Corporal Works of Mercy, which you can read about on the NCCS-BSA website. Though there has only been one activity released so far, get excited for the new Faith Series to become a huge success!

For more information on the Faith Series program, please visit this page!

Marian Series-4 New Feasts Added

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Four New Marian Series Installments Added January 2015

Each activity in this series examines one of the nineteen Marian Feasts Commemorated in the United States, focusing on how and why the Church has honored Mary for more than 2,000 years.

Immaculate Conception on the NCCS-BSA website
Our Lady of Lourdes on the NCCS-BSA website
Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal on the NCCS-BSA website
Our Lady of Sorrows on the NCCS-BSA website

For more information on all 5 of the current Marian Activity and Patch Series activities, please visit this page!

Footsteps of American Saints-4 New Saints Added

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Four New Saints Added January 2015

The goal of these activities is to share the lives of several saints so that the youth might relate to what these people have done and maybe look to these individuals as role models.

St. Rose Philippine Duchesne on the NCCS-BSA website
Bl. Marie-Rose Durocher on the NCCS-BSA website
St. Theodore Guerin on the NCCS-BSA website
Bl. Miguel Pro on the NCCS-BSA website

For more information on all 20 of the Footsteps of American Saints activities, please visit this page!

Concerns of the Catholic Youth Apostolate Regarding Girl Scouts of USA

Scouting and the Church's Mission

Ministering to the youth is a vital aspect of the Archdiocese of Saint Louis' mission. This is accomplished in a variety of ways, including scouting programs for boys and girls. Over the past three years, some issues and concerns have surfaced surrounding Girl Scouts of USA and their relationship with World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts, their international umbrella organization. The following letter, addressed to the priests and faithful of the Archdiocese of Saint Louis, was released by the Catholic Youth Apostolate in order to provide more information on this topic. For more information, please contact Fr. Brian Fischer by phone at 314.792.7602 or by email.

Letter From the Catholic Youth Apostolate

November 11, 2014

Dear priests and faithful of the Archdiocese,

Peace be with you!

For the past three years, the Catholic Youth Apostolate, Girl Scouts of Eastern Missouri (GSEM) and concerned parents have been in dialogue to confront the many issues and concerns surrounding Girl Scouts USA (GSUSA) and their relationship with the international umbrella organization, World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts (WAGGGS).

In addition, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) has been in dialogue on a national level with GSUSA. As a result of those meetings, the USCCB issued a Question and Answer statement. It can be found here on the USCCB website.

As Bishop Rice also stated in a letter addressed to all priests in June, the Girl Scout program has enjoyed a long history of cooperation with our Catholic parishes. On that note, the Catholic Youth Apostolate commends the service of the dedicated Girl Scout troop leaders who have volunteered their time and effort with the very best intentions and motivations to provide a program that helps our Catholic girls grow in leadership and character.

However, GSUSA is a secular organization, and as such does not fully promote the teachings of the Catholic Church. Secular organizations are prone to move with the culture and trends of the world, which are certainly not always in line with the 2,000 year history and tradition of the Catholic Church.

I wanted to highlight just a few of the concerns that have surfaced. (This list is not exhaustive by any means):

  • WAGGGS supports and promotes "sexual and reproductive health and rights," and in many of their materials promotes artificial contraception and abortion.
  • GSUSA pays in excess of $1,000,000 each year as membership dues to WAGGGS. This total is based on the total number of girls registered as members in GSUSA. The funds come from investments income. However, by having girls in our parishes as registered Girl Scouts, more money goes to WAGGGS. Many of the programs WAGGGS offers do not support Catholic teaching and tradition.
  • "World Thinking Day" is an optional program within Girl Scouts that has a fundraising component for WAGGGS within it.
  • Betty Friedan and Gloria Steinem are frequently presented as role models in Girl Scout materials. They promote and teach a worldview that is contrary to Catholic tradition.
  • The Journeys series (GSUSA's manuals) contain many other role models and organizations that promote views contrary to Church teaching as well. Some of these were removed after we raised concerns, but certainly not all.

It seems counterproductive to me that we need to be so vigilant in identifying problematic areas within GSUSA material. If we are using a program to help shape and form our girls into faithful women of God, shouldn't we offer and promote solid programs that help enrich their faith life?

Quoting Bishop Rice's letter to the priests again, he said:

"The Office of Catholic Scouting states that 'Our Ministry is to bring the message of Jesus Christ to youth and adults involved in scouting through faith formation programs and retreats...' Since parents are the 'first teachers of their children in the ways of faith' (Baptism Ritual), we must do our best to offer programs that support parents as they fulfill their mission. To that end, there are two additional resources to assist in the faith formation of girls, the American Heritage Girls (Christian) and Little Flowers Girls Club (Catholic). I encourage you to familiarize yourself with these viable scouting options for girls.”

I encourage anyone interested in finding out more about these two groups to visit their websites:

I am pleased to say that we are in the process of forming a committee to support these groups within our Catholic Scouting Ministry office for the whole Archdiocese. In addition, all of the Catholic formation programs and retreats offered by the Catholic Youth Apostolate will continue to be open to any and all girls seeking to grow in their knowledge and love of the Catholic faith.

Our long history with the Girl Scouts does not make this an easy issue to address; however the culture is changing. Our faith can oftentimes set us apart from what is popular and trending in the world, so here we begin to feel that pull. While secular programs feel they must change with the culture to survive, Jesus calls us to stand in the truth.

Please meet with your pastor if you would like to establish one of the recommended faith based groups in your parish. I also encourage you to engage in the many faith formation programs and retreats we offer through the Catholic Scouting Ministry office, so together we can help shape and form our girls into faithful women of God.

Please do not hesitate to contact me if you have any questions. We in the Catholic Youth Apostolate are here to serve you.

Yours in Christ,

Father Brian Fischer
Executive Director
Catholic Youth Apostolate

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