Catholic Scouting

Scouting and Catholic Youth Ministry

Ministering to young people is a vital aspect of the Catholic Church’s life and mission. In their pastoral framework on youth ministry, the U.S. Bishops state: “Ministry with adolescents (is) a concern for the entire church community, especially for leaders in parishes, schools, and dioceses."

The Church endeavors to minister to young people in a variety of ways, among which are: Catholic education and religious formation, youth ministry, and boys’ and girls’ scouting programs. All of these are excellent opportunities for the Church to pass on the Gospel of Jesus Christ to children and youth through her life and rich tradition of faith, morals, leadership development, pastoral care, prayer and worship, and service. Over the years, the Catholic youth ministry community and scouting programs have enjoyed a shared mission and a collaborative relationship, one that continues to this day.

There are various Catholic organizations and committees that work with scouting and that provide resources for parishes, parents, and young people in the Church.

At the national level, these include the following:

National Catholic Committee on Scouting (Boy Scouts of America)

National Catholic Committee for Girl Scouts and Camp Fire

American Heritage Girls National Catholic Committee

National Federation for Catholic Youth Ministry (NFCYM)

National Catholic Committee of Trail Life USA

Various scouting arrangements have developed over the past century, all with the purpose of forming and empowering young people as they mature. Within the Catholic Church, each diocesan bishop oversees arrangements with scouting organizations in his diocese.

For more information about scouting in your local area, please contact your diocese, parish, and/or organization listed above.

Conversations with Girl Scouts of the USA

The USCCB Committee on Laity, Marriage, Family Life and Youth (LMFLY) was in dialogue with GSUSA from 2013 to early 2014. The purpose of this dialogue was to gather information and to further mutual understanding, with a goal of providing considerations and guidance to bishops, pastors, youth leaders, and parents. Ultimately, diocesan bishops will utilize the information as they see fit within their particular diocese.

A special Q&A resource produced from these USCCB-GSUSA conversations (released April 2, 2014) is available online.

For more details, see the page on the background and purpose of this dialogue.

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