SALUDA—The pinewood derby cars may be made of Legos these days, but there’s still nothing like a good old Scouting camporee to combine faith and fun.
About 600 youth and adults from Boy and Girl Scout programs spent their Oct. 4-6 weekend at rustic Camp Barstow in Saluda County practicing their archery, a BB-gun shoot, a climbing wall, and camping and outdoor skills.
For the first time, members of the American Heritage Girls, a faith-based girls’ group, and the Columbian Squires, an organization for young Catholic men run by the Knights of Columbus, were also invited.
Older Scouts learned pioneering and wilderness techniques and tackled a high climbing wall. The especially brave tried out a challenging confidence course that included walking across ropes 35 feet in the air while strapped into intricate safety harnesses.
Father Matthew Gray, Scout chaplain, led talks on devotions and the Rosary, and answered questions about his life as a priest. Scouts who completed the St. George Trek in New Mexico this past summer also talked about their experiences.
Bishop Robert E. Guglielmone visited on Oct. 5 and celebrated Mass in the amphitheater, which included a beautiful view of surrounding woods and Lake Murray. In his homily, he said the Gospel reading from Luke, Jesus’ parable about “faith the size of a mustard seed,” applied particularly to the positive message offered in Scouting.
Catholic Scouting offers young people an opportunity to learn how to develop their faith in God and interact with a community of friends and leaders who can help them through difficult times.
“No situation is hopeless,” Bishop Guglielmone said. “All of us at one time or another have to deal with some tough stuff. … Through the graces God gives us in Scouting, all of us have an opportunity to find friendship and support, and to offer support to others.”
After the Mass, dozens of Scouts were rewarded for months of hard work when Bishop Guglielmone handed out religious emblems, medals and kerchiefs and offered his congratulations.
Four Cub Scouts received the Light of Christ award, and 21 received the Parvuli Dei emblem. Four Girl Scouts and American Heritage girls earned I Live My Faith emblems, and four got their Mary the First Disciple award. Two Boy Scouts were honored for completing Ad Altare Dei, and seven members of Venture Crew 115 from Aiken received their Pope Pius XII emblems.
“The emblem programs are a wonderful addition to Scouting,” said Candace Mack of Simpsonville. “It ties their activities in with their faith, and adds a new dimension to what they’re learning.” Her daughter Jessica, 12, a member of American Heritage Girls Troop 725, earned her I Live My Faith emblem. She enjoyed working on the religious badge because it combined social and spiritual development.
“It wasn’t always just about sitting down and reading something, you got to get out and do different activities as well,” she said.
Her projects included everything from cleaning up a local park to learning about the significance of different religious symbols displayed at her church.
Tiffinie Lee was extremely proud of son Tyler, 10, who received his Parvuli Dei emblem. He is a member of Cub Scout Pack 287, based at St. John Neumann Church in Columbia.
“Working on the emblem definitely promoted family time,” Mrs. Lee said. “We were able to look at some of the Scriptures together and discuss them together. Tyler led a special prayer service for us and we talked about the special gifts each of us bring to the family. We got to do things together that we might normally have not taken time to do, and all of us really enjoyed it.”
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