Venturing as Youth Ministry

I was interested in starting a Venturing Crew in my parish as a youth ministry program. Currently it has nothing. Anyone have experience or advise in this area of scouting?
Unit Commissioner, BSA

It would be great to offer this as one component of youth ministry, having other options for those who are not scout inclined.

Go for it!

Well, the thing is, I also teach CCD. An’ after Confirmation - they’re gone. I was wondering if anyone had experience in introducing them to Venturing and it’s religious awards programs- Pius XII and the TRUST awards etc. Were they able to keep them in the church longer and did it keep them interested in their faith?

Keeping them involved after Confirmation in CCD and other aspects of Catholic life has to come from changing the hearts of the parents, and that begins with your pastor.

There should be things for teens to do - Religious Ed (Confirmation is not graduation!), Youth Ministry, Scouting/Venture, these all have a place in the Parish life.

One thing we ran into with a traditional Scouting program was the Pastor expected most of the participants to be members of the parish. When after a few years, about 40% were non-Catholic and another 30% were Catholic but from other parishes (that didn’t have any Scouting programs). He turned sour on the program and pushed to go back to a more traditional members of the Parish only youth ministry. Loosing his support meant loosing priority use of the hall and rooms on certain days. Once he knew we had a Blue and Gold planned (100+ people), he gave permission for a wedding reception the same Saturday evening, even though the B&G had been planned for several months, without telling us!

Dear kage_ar and Bro. Rich,

Thank you for your response. I understand there are horror stories out there and the need for parents to have a “change of heart” - but I can’t wait for them. My goal here is to go beyond what I see in scouting (Light of Christ, Parvuli Dei), youth ministry and CCD. For example, at Camproees Catholic scouts don’t go to mass. Either the scoutmaster isn’t Catholic or doesn’t care or the program doesn’t have or allow time for it or the troop isn’t Catholic enough. Youth ministry is the kids praying and singing while the parents sit in the back of the gym, an that’s about it. CCD is the gifts and fruits of the Holy Spirit.
What I want is, for example, a closing that would include a prayer. A trip to Washington DC that would include mass at the National Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, three day Retreats, Courts of Honor that would include handing out awards for Ad Altari Dei, Pope Pius XII and TRUST awards, along with the other scouting awards. Include the traditional community service projects and the necessary fund raising. That would be the program I would want to provide. What I want to know is has anyone had success in incorporating these things into their Venturing/Scouting program? or will I be the first in a long, long time?

Met with the temporary administer to our parish today. When I told him that our meetings will begin with “In the name of the Father…” and will end with “… of the Holy Spirit. Amen” he seamed impressed.

It’s very true that most Catholic scouts do not go to Mass when out on camping trips when they are in non-Catholic sponsored troops. We always had Mass at the parish when we returned Sunday evening, later on we all attended another parish Sunday 7pm Mass after the pastor stopped having a special Mass for the trooop when it returned. If we could not attend a late Sunday morning Mass on the way back.

Remember that the Troop (Scouting) does not award the Ad Altari Dei, and Pope Pius XII award the Church does, so a Court of Honor is not the place to hand those out, at the end of a parish Mass would be.

Non-Catholic members of the troop were usually required to attend Mass if the troop stopped on the way back and we didn’t have two additional non-Catholic adults along.

Remember that the Troop (Scouting) does not award the Ad Altari Dei, and Pope Pius XII award the Church does,

Yup, you got me there Brother. :thumbsup:

The first part of the Scout Oath (“Duty to God”) and the last part of the Scout Law (“A Scout is Reverent”) are the bookends of everything we do (or should be doing) in Scouting… yes, I realize that the Scout Oath and Scout Law are not the same as the Venturing Oath, but you get my point.

Opening/closing Scout meetings (and even adult committee meetings) with a prayer reinforces that. Ditto an active Chaplain Aide program. In our troop, there’s no absolute need to stop and attend a Mass on the way home from a campout… because we’re always back in time at least for the 4 PM and 5:45 PM evening Masses (many times we’re back before the 12:30 PM Mass). Worst case, there’s always the 8 PM “last chance Mass” on the university campus about 10-15 minutes away. But we still have a “Scout’s Own” on Sunday morning before leaving the campsite. I know of at least one troop that has used the Liturgy of the Hours morning prayer format on a campout.

Does your diocese have an active Catholic Committee on Scouting? There’s another great resource to tap into. Do you subscribe to the Catholic Scouting discussion list? Check out for more info and to subscribe.

An earlier poster said that courts of honor are not where the AAD and PPXII awards should be presented… and I certainly agree. But… the religious emblem square knots can certainly be presented at courts of honor.

Does your parish have an annual Scout Sunday Mass? That’s another great way to be a visible presence for the parish… especially if all the altar servers are in uniform (be sure to include the Bears and Webelos as well), all the readers are in uniform, the cantor is in uniform, and uniformed Scouts are serving as ushers / bringing up the gifts / etc (i.e. everyone except the priest is in uniform). In our case, we even have a uniformed ensemble of one or two violins / guitars / flutes providing the music (in the past we’ve also had a string bass and a pianist). That’s where everyone who’s earned Light of Christ / Parvuli Dei / Ad Altare Dei / Pope Pius XII in the past year should be recognized.

Does your Pack / Troop / Crew perform service projects for the parish? It never hurts to do (and be seen doing) something to help the parish community.

In short, all these little things (and plenty more which others will suggest) add up to making Scouting in your parish much more visible and much more vibrant. By demonstrating your worth to the pastor and the parish administration, you will gain their support. Of course, all of this takes time.

This little rural community has none of the above. :frowning: One mass on Sunday 11 AM. But thanks for all the ideas, and I’ll certainly incorporate them into the program as it develops.:wink:

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