Scouting enables young people to ponder the mysteries of the natural world, learn timeless crafts and skills, go on challenging trips and adventures, and offer their God-given gifts and talents to others in need.
“Question the beauty of the earth, question the beauty of the sea, question the beauty of the air distending and diffusing itself, question the beauty of the sky…question all of these realities. All respond: ‘See, we are beautiful.’ Their beauty is a profession. These beauties are subject to change. Who made them if not the Beautiful One who is not subject to change?” –St. Augustine (CCC, 32)
In 1934, the Bishops of the United States, recognizing the strong moral value of the Scouting movement to Catholic youth, formally joined in partnership with Boy Scouts of America to sponsor Scouting units in parishes throughout the country. Because of the success this partnership has had in reaching out to Catholic youth and promoting their faith development, Boy Scouting in the Catholic Church in this country has grown steadily over the years so that today there are over ten thousand Catholic-sponsored Scout units. The Church also associates (through the National Federation of Catholic Youth Ministry) with the Girl Scout and Camp Fire Boys & Girls programs. Both have a strong commitment to the faith development of young men and women. There are currently more than one million Catholic youth in the Boy Scout, Girl Scout and Camp Fire Boys & Girls programs.
Locally in the Archdiocese of Washington, these programs are supported as a valuable youth ministry program. Parishes are encouraged to sponsor a Boy Scout, Girl Scout and Camp Fire troop, unit or club. These organizations are an all-encompassing outdoor laboratory where young people not only develop patriotism, grow physically and learn a host of skills, but also develop good morals, learn to give cheerful service to others and cultivate a personal relationship with God. Many Church leaders, men and women, have participated in these youth organizations.
Promoting and managing these programs in the Archdiocese is done by the Catholic Committees on Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts and Camp Fire, which is an integral part of the Archdiocese’s Office of Youth Ministry. The Committees are responsible for promoting and sponsoring troops or units by local institutions, assisting them in maintaining full and active programs, promoting and carrying out a strong religious emblems program, planning and carrying out pilgrimages, retreats, days of recollection and vocation awareness programs, providing Catholic chaplain services for summer camps and other special functions and recruiting qualified adult volunteers to help plan and carry out this important part of youth ministry.