From the

Official News Magazine of the Diocese of Spokane

Deacon Eric Meisfjord, Editor
P.O. Box 48, Spokane WA 99210
(509) 358-7340; FAX: (509) 358-7302

Scouting programs for older youth mix adventure, service, responsibility

by Father Terence Tully, for the Inland Register


  • St. George Trek: The National Catholic Committee on Scouting (NCCS) held its annual St. George Trek this past summer at Philmont Scout Ranch in Cimarron, N.M. Among those taking part was Ned Blakesley (left) of St. John Vianney Parish, Spokane. Hiking with the Scouts was Bishop Gerald Gettelfinger (right), bishop of the Diocese of Evansville, Ind., and Episcopal Liaison to the NCCS. The Scouts and their supervisors averaged 70 miles each day of the hike. (IR photo from the National Catholic Committee on Scouting)

    Senior Scouts, Rovers, Explorers, and Venture Scouts are names of several efforts to make Scouting appeal to older teenage youth. Founder of Scouting, Lord Baden Powell and other leaders have searched for programs different from the Tenderfoot to Eagle rank program so successful with younger boys.

    Bishop Skylstad and several other adult leaders, including me, were luncheon guests of the Inland Northwest Council of the BSA on Aug. 9. We heard a presentation on Venture Scouting. In particular we heard about the Venture Crew chartered to the parish of the Cathedral of Our Lady of Lourdes in Spokane. Venturing is open to young men and young women, age 14 to 20, with man and woman advisors who give advice and approval for the activities which the youth themselves plan and carry out.

    Organized almost a year ago, the Cathedral Venture Crew has prepared and served an evening meal to homeless youth at The Crosswalk Center in Spokane, has helped serve a desert treat to parish volunteers, has done white water rafting in Idaho, attended a lesson on dancing, and is planning to work at the Sept. 13-15 Catholic Camporee (Scout retreat) at Camp Cowles on Diamond Lake This event will feature teaching on the Seven Sacraments and scheduled opportunity for Reconciliation and Mass.

    At the Aug. 9 meeting with Bishop Skylstad we received from the Scout Council a seven-piece kit of information. Most of the pieces were high color presentations of Venturing. Like the rest of Scouting, Venturing is strong on handbooks, medals, action pictures of Venture Scouts climbing, moving on land and sea, and enjoying the friendship of fellow Venturers.

    Of interest to me is some emphasis on youth giving religious ministry to youth. As usual no specific faith is mentioned but solid opportunity is provided to go more deeply into the faith the youth already has. By exception there was information from the Cathedral crew. Also in view of the sad publicity on sexual abuse of youth and children this year it is good to see a training course for adult Venture leaders to make sure of the personal safety of the Venture Scouts under their care. There is also a video for Venture members to achieve their own personal safety.

    Venturing is offered as a remedy for the isolation and depression that afflict some teenage youth.

    Besides serving as youth group for a parish, Venturing also provides coverage by Boy Scout insurance and the free use of Boy Scout camps.

    Coming Events
  • Catholic Camporee (Scout retreat), Sept. 13-l5, 2002, Camp Cowles, Diamond Lake.
  • Bishop’s Recognition Day, Sunday, Feb. 9, 2003, 2 p.m., Cathedral of Our Lady of Lourdes, 1115 W. Riverside Ave., Spokane. Bishop Skylstad will confer religious medals on Scouts and other youth who have earned them.

    For information on the Diocesan Catholic Committee on Scouting and its activities, contact Father Terence Tully, diocesan Scout chaplain, 221 E. Rockwood Blvd., Apt 308, Spokane, WA 99202-1200; phone 509-458-7674; or Joe Schmitz, chair of Diocesan Catholic Committee on Scouting, 400 S. Jefferson St., Suite 112, Spokane, WA 99204, phone 509-747-7499.

    Be sure to visit the National Catholic Committee on Scouting’s web site!

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