COLUMBIA — Cold temperatures and occasional mist and rain didn’t bother the Boy and Girl Scouts and their families who attended the Diocese of Charleston’s fifth Catholic Scouting Camporee held on Oct. 16-18.
Bishop Robert E. Guglielmone joined the more than 600 youth for the day on Oct. 17 at the Weston Lake site. He shared lunch with them, observed afternoon activities and celebrated Mass outdoors that evening. It was the first time a bishop has celebrated Mass for the camporee, according to Jim Weiskircher, chairman of the Diocese of Charleston Catholic Committee on Scouting.
For the second year, Girl Scouts participated in the Camporee. This year 13 troops attended, which is six more than last year.
Bishop Guglielmone has been active in Scouting for more than 35 years. During his homily, he talked about the important role the activity has in forming morals and character in young people.
He asked a young Eagle Scout to step forward and recite the Boy Scout oath with him, which begins with the line “On my honor I will do my best to do my duty to God and my country.”
The bishop said this oath, which helps young people learn how to be good citizens, is similar to the commitment they need to show in order to be good Catholics. He said even Jesus’ disciples often did not understand that their true task in being his followers was to give completely of themselves, not win riches or power.
“You’ve got to be a person of service,” Bishop Guglielmone said. “To be a disciple, you have to be able to give yourself away to other people, to be willing to give your life for the sake of others. Everyone who is a baptized Christian is asked by Christ to give their lives away, and isn’t that also what the Scout oath is about?
“This wonderful program that has so much to offer you will help you live a life of service. What you need to ask is: Do you want your life to make a difference?” the bishop said.
He encouraged Scouts to live their lives so the people they meet find a little more happiness or have their lives improved even in small ways. He said they need to take what they learn through Scouting out into the world at large.
“You have to take the commitment into your heart, and sometimes you have to do the right thing on your own, not just with your Scout troop,” he said.
Encouraging vocations is a major priority for the bishop, and he told the campers to seriously consider the priesthood or religious life. He also reminded Scout leaders to make nurturing vocations a priority.
Scouts attended Mass celebrated by Father David Michael, administrator of St. Andrew Church in Barnwell, on Oct. 16.
During the rest of the weekend, the boys and girls participated in a variety of activities including canoeing, pioneering, geocaching, archery, and first aid. Separate sessions were held for Cub Scouts, Brownies, and Boy and Girl Scouts.
Hannah Newman, 12, took part in archery and geocaching with fellow Girl Scouts from Troop 82 at St. Paul the Apostle, Spartanburg.
“It’s been pretty fun this weekend, although I’d have liked it better if it were just a little warmer,” she said. “This has been a really good time for fun and fellowship together.”
The youth participated in the “Footsteps of the Saints” program, which allows Scouts to earn patches based on the lives of the saints. Scouts had to reach certain destinations during the geocaching and canoeing activities, read material about the lives of saints, and report on what they read when they made it back to the starting point.
More religious Scouting awards and emblems were given out this year than ever before, Weiskircher said. Bishop Guglielmone presented the awards to each Scout.
Twenty-four Cub Scouts received the Light of Christ emblem while 35 received the Parvuli Dei award. Eight Boy Scouts were given the Ad Altare Dei emblem.
One of the Girl Scouts earned a Mary, the First Disciple award, while six each received the Family of God emblem and the I Live My Faith award.
Nine adults won Bronze Pelican awards for outstanding service to Catholic Scouting in the Diocese of Charleston, and four won the St. George medal for outstanding service, which is a national award.