SALUDA—The annual Catholic Scouting Camporee is where faith and fun come together.
With spectacular fall weather at Camp Barstow as the backdrop, nearly 500 youth and adults from a wide range of Scouting organizations spent the weekend of Sept. 29 to Oct. 1 engaging in traditional campground activities while also developing their faith.
The camporee, which is in its 13th year, is made up primarily of Scout troops chartered by Catholic parishes.
“This is such a good youth ministry that we have here,” said Father Matthew Gray, Scout chaplain. “It doesn’t just teach them rope-tying, paddle boarding and things like that. It teaches them core values; things that really matter; things that they’re going to be able to use as adults. It’s a good, healthy environment for them to grow up in.”
Adam Rogers, 15, of Troop 521 in Greenville, has grown up with the camporee, having attended every year since he was in first grade. His Saturday agenda was the typical mix of church and camping.
“I woke up at 5 [a.m.] to get here,” he said. “I helped set up the religious station and then I helped Father Gray set up a maze that he’d been working on.”
He then spent much of the morning meeting with Scout troops as they arrived and talking about his experiences on the Bishop England and St. George Treks, two spiritual hiking and camping retreats he took over the summer.
“I also helped set up for Mass and served as an altar server,” Adam said. He added that he did manage to find time for some rifle shooting, tomahawk throwing and canoeing.
“I’ve enjoyed watching the Scouts grow up,” said Father Gray. “I remember when (Adam) started coming here as a Cub Scout. There’s quite a few of them like that here. The ones (like Adam) who have been really involved in Catholic Scouting, we’re starting to put them into leadership positions here.”
Bishop Robert E. Guglielmone celebrated Mass at the campsite on Sept. 30 and afterwards recognized the Scouts who earned their religious emblems.
“All of the groups here have said, in one way or another, that you are going to do your very best to live lives like Jesus asks us to do,” Bishop Guglielmone said in his homily.
“That means that sometimes we have to say, ‘I’m not the most important person in the world, that I have to think of others, that I can’t take everything for myself, that I have to share, I have to be willing to give.’ Sometimes when we don’t live the kind of life we should, we have to use the words ‘I’m sorry, I’ll try again and I’ll do my best,’” he said.
Nearly 60 boys and girls ages 5-18 earned religious emblems, including Light of Christ, Family of God, Parvuli Dei, I Live My Faith, Ad Altare Dei and Pope Pius XII. This year, five girls received the “Love of God”, a new emblem for Girl Scouts in kindergarten and first grade.
By Chip Lupo / Special to The Miscellany
Top photo, Miscellany/Chip Lupo: Bishop Robert E. Guglielmone and Father Matthew Gray, Scout chaplain, take time at the annual Catholic Scouting Camporee to recognize Scouts who earned religious emblems.