The goal of Catholic Scouting is to provide a Catholic foundation to Scouting programs that prepare young people to make ethical and moral choices over their lifetimes by helping them grow in the Catholic faith and instilling in them the values of the Scout Oath and Scout Law.
The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Renewing the Vision document outlines three essential goals of Catholic youth ministry: empowering young people to live as disciples of Jesus Christ; drawing them into responsible participation in the Catholic Church; and fostering their personal and spiritual growth.
The goals of Catholic youth ministry align very well with Scouting’s aims: character development, citizenship training, personal fitness and leadership development.
Goal 1: To empower young people to live as disciples of Jesus Christ in our world today.
Character development: Scouting’s values, combined with the Gospel values taught by the Catholic Church, are the foundation for developing youths whose good character is based on the Gospel. The religious emblem programs offer a form of catechesis that is age- and grade-specific for each of the program phases of Scouting. Youth leadership positions in the Scout troop and Venturing crew offer opportunities for youths to put good Christian leadership into practice.
Goal 2: To draw young people to responsible participation in the life, mission and work of the Catholic faith community.
Citizenship training: The Scout unit is one type of community. The home, parish, and civic communities are others to which a Scout belongs. In Scouting programs and activities, they learn how to be responsible members of their various communities.
Goal 3: To foster the total personal and spiritual growth of each young person.
Personal fitness: Scouting promotes holistic fitness. The Scout Oath includes a commitment to keep oneself physically strong, mentally awake, and morally straight. Some Scouting activities and programs are designed to develop healthful habits of diet and exercise. The challenges of learning new skills and exploring careers and hobbies through the merit badge program or high adventure activities stimulate the intellectual capabilities of the Scout or Venturer. The spiritual values imparted through the religious emblem’s programs, Scout Retreats and the ideals of Scouting contribute to sound spiritual growth.
The U.S. bishops are currently developing a new youth ministry framework in response to Christus Vivit, the apostolic exhortation from Pope Francis to and about youth. In addition, conversations are ongoing about the alignment and integration of Catholic Scouting and youth ministry.
To learn more about how Catholic Scouting and youth ministry complement one another in more detail, download this alignment document.