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Advice on Promoting Boy Scout Catholic Religious Awards

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Does anyone have advice on how to encourage scouts to work on the Catholic religious emblems Ad Altare Dei (AAD) and Pope Pius XII (PPXII)? My troop is sponsored by a Roman Catholic parish, and the pastor and I would like to encourage more of the troop's catholic members to work on these awards.

 

Here's some background:

 

Our troop regularly holds a Scout Sunday service at the parish church, and is pretty integrated into the life of the parish through 3 service projects each year. About 70% of the troop membership is catholic.

 

The parish has a pack, and we don't have too many problems with getting the cubs interested in working on Parvuli Dei, but there I think the fact that parents are expected to work with the cubs makes it easier for cubs to earn the award given that the parents are also interested. So, the catholic boys who cross over from the pack tend to have earned Parvuli Dei already if their parents are interested.

 

In the troop, we'll give each interested Boy Scout an AAD or PPXII workbook free of charge, and put them in contact with counselors from the local diocese. The counselors (a married couple) meet with the group of candidate scouts outside of the troop meetings, and we like it that way because it would otherwise detract from the candidates' participation at the troop meetings.

 

Each December our troop committee chaplain aid approaches each eligible scout and reminds him about the religious emblems, so that he can start working with a counselor over the January-April time period. The awards' boards of review are held in the diocese in May, and the awards are presented in the diocese's cathedral (not in the local church, like Parvuli Dei) in June, at a time when we can't get the troop to attend as a unit to cheer on their peers.

 

If a scout is even mildly interested, we hand him a workbook and counselor phone contact immediately. We also ask him over the course of January whether he's contacted the counselor. It's at this time that things usually fall through -- the scout keeps forgetting how to use a cell phone. We won't do this calling and scheduling for him because, well, it's supposed to be *his* medal and *his* interest in his faith that we're talking about, not the adults'.

 

Last year we had three scouts work on AAD, (two were brothers), and this year the same three are working on PPXII. But these are the first in 5 years to have gotten interested in the awards, and I'd like to get more boys interested more often.

 

Does anyone have any suggestions as to how to discuss these religious awards with boy scouts so as to motivate them to go for the medals on their own outside of a troop meeting? Thanks!

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I'm not Catholic, but my suggestion is pretty simple. Get it out there front and center so the youth see it and have a chance to build a desire to earn it.

 

Assuming there is an adult version, have the adults earn it, and wear the ribbon (if there is one) every chance they can. Ask the youth recipients if they would please wear the ribbon or pin whenever it is appropriate - Board of Review, Court of Honor, public appearances, etc.

 

The religious awards (actually working toward earning them) has to be one of the more important functions of a scouting program and helping a young man grow into the responsible and ethical adult he should.

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Can't you bundle it in with their Confirmation classes? That is what my son did in the Presbyterian Church - he used the confirmation process to drive him through his knot.

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Consider that there may be nothing wrong with your methods. There's always the possibility that the boys just aren't as into being Catholic as the adults in your unit are ... or perhaps just at least not in front of their friends. To edit an old quote, you can lead a boy to Mass, but you can't make him take Communion.

 

Young peoples' relationship with faith is a contentious one, especially at the age of most Boy Scouts. Perhaps they're questioning or seeking other faith traditions. Maybe they dislike some aspect of the ritual or practices. It's entirely possible, even, that they're simply not comfortable with the counselors - or with discussing their own faith with complete strangers. (Have you considered asking your church's priest to be the counselor, someone they know and trust?)

 

Until you ask your particular Scouts why they're not following through, you're not going to get any really useful information.(This message has been edited by shortridge)(This message has been edited by shortridge)

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You guys need to decide if its more important for the boys to pursue the medal or to demonstrate self-motivation.

 

If it's to pursue the medal then I suggest inviting the counselor to come to a troop meeting to make a presentation and talk honestly about the requirements and conditions. Then arrange further group sessions to work on the medal rather than a one-one basis. Most of the protestant medals are organized around group work.

 

If it's self-motivation perhaps a 50-miler.

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Do they still have to serve as altar boys? Nowadays, asking for that kind of time commitment seems to be too much.

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As someone who has earned all 3 Catholic religious awards at the time (No Light of Christ in my day), here's my recollections.

 

Parvuli Dei, the CS award at the time, was very easy as it was parent and son. No problems

 

Ad Altari Dei, the BS award, you needed a couselor, and that can be tough at times. I eventually worked on it when one of our committee members became a counselor and the schedule worked out for us. Simple promotion: Anyone interested in AAD See Mr. XYZ. and we had about 4 or 5 that first go around. Eventually more followed.

 

Pope Pius XII, the counselor di the same thing, and 3 of us did it. For me at least, it was the same tiem I was doing Confirmation classes, so they mirrored somewhat if memory serves.

 

Don't remember the entire process as old age is getting to me. But I do remember the BOR for the award. But that is a different story :)

 

 

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This may be your problem:

 

"awards are presented in the diocese's cathedral (not in the local church, like Parvuli Dei) in June, at a time when we can't get the troop to attend as a unit to cheer on their peers"

 

1- Some boys may be intimidated by going in front of a bunch of strangers at the Cathedral, and hence detered.

2- Why work for an award that's presented over the summer (when you're potentially away), not in front of your peers? A little pin on your uniform that scratches your chest? (So there's no Bronze Pelican pin on my Scout shirt.)

3- No ceremony in front of potential future recruits for the award. It's hard to get fired up about working hard to go to a ceremony you've never heard of or seen...

 

PVD and LOC were pretty easy to promote in Cubs because of the parallels in school. (Catholic School) Thanks for asking this question on the boards, as it gives me a heads up of what is to come.

 

Good Luck,

JoeBob

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When I earned the AAD, our parish priest allowed all the Catholic scouts to do it during CCD for the year. There was about 12 of us, so we just had a AAD class with a counselor for the year and did some individual and group work, with situational role playing, ect. It was a really good way of doing it, but you need the parish priest buy-in.

 

Oh, like Eagle92, I looked at the PPXII workbook and saw that it mirrored the confirmation class and asked my parish priest if I could work on it in conjunction with my class, he said no, so I never earned the PPXII (we had moved, so it was a different parish).(This message has been edited by eaglescout1996)

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For AAD and PPXII, the Scouts MUST use a counselor trained by the diocese. Training is usually available once a year, and is good for three years. These awards are worked on as a group. There are one or two area wide Catholic Religious Emblem BORs to approve the workbooks. The medals for the older youth (6th grade and up), and adult awards, are awarded by the diocese (not the local parish) at a special, group, area ceremony. Remember, these are awards from the religious institution, NOT BSA awards.

 

Out Troop is chartered by our local Catholic parish. We have one of our Troop's volunteers take the training to serve as our own counselor. This makes it easier for the boys to contact them as the counselor is at every Troop meeting with info on emblem meetings.

 

All Religious emblem participants are recognized at our parish Cub/Boy Scout Sunday service in February. The Cubs receive their medals at that time, the others are introduced and recognized, but receive their medals at the diocese's ceremony. BSA religious emblem knots/devices, are awarded at the Troop Court of Honor (COH) following Scout Sunday.

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All the suggestions sound like I could try some version of them in my situation. I'll especially try to get some kind of post-cathedral recognition practice going so that scouts back in the troop get to see the recipients recognized, and get the counselors in front of the scouts at a meeting.

 

Thanks for your advice!

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