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October 15, 2012 | Volume 87, Number 25

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photo: During the trivia game, groups of youth competed against each other to answer questions about the Journey to Emmaus story. It was a team effort to come up with the correct answers.
During the trivia game, groups of youth competed against each other to answer questions about the Journey to Emmaus story. It was a team effort to come up with the correct answers.

Scouts help support one another in faith

Scouts gathered at the Pipsico Scout Reservation on a recent weekend in Spring Grove for the 25th Annual Retreat-o-Ree.

“The Retreat-o-Ree is a time to incorporate Catholicism with Scouting in a fun way. We encouraged everyone in our troop and crew to sign up. Our crew is volunteering.” said Danetta Jankosky, an adult leader from Troop 408, at Church of the Ascension, Virginia Beach.

“I came because last year I decided why not come and make it as best as I could; as you can see, they are smiling and having lots of fun,” said Madison Parker, a 10th grade scout from the volunteer crew. This year’s organizer, Lisa Villa, also from Troop 408, shared that “the Retreat-o-Ree is important because it reminds Scouts about their duty to God, and it makes their individual faith stronger.”

Blending Scouting and Catholic faith is the main emphasis of the event.

“I think it’s a great way to express our Catholic identity in a different way,” said seminarian Matt Kiehl, also an Eagle Scout. “There are so many similarities and complementary elements between Scouting and our faith that’s a nice opportunity to express that and to have young people integrate all of those components.”

This year’s theme was Journey to Emmaus, from Luke 24. Part of Saturday morning was spent breaking open that reading. The Venture Crew from Church of the Ascension, who led the retreat, put on a modern day skit to help make the story relevant for the scouts. The story was then proclaimed by Father Rob Cole, pastor of St. John the Apostle in Virginia Beach.

Later in the day, Scouts broke into smaller groups and went to rotating breakout sessions.

David Bessler, an 8th grade youth from Troop 179, at Saint John’s, said, “Today we’ve done rock climbing, trivia about this morning’s reading, we made rosary bracelets for the troops, and we’ve learned about the Saints. Saint George is the patron saint of Boy Scouts.”

An outdoor Vigil Mass was celebrated in the field by the Diocesan Scout Chaplains, Father Rob Cole and Father Ken Shuping.

“It’s great for the Scouts to see how the Catholic faith interacts with their scouting experience. It’s also a chance for them to get out in the beauty of creation and to also get to know their Creator,” Father Shuping, an Eagle Scout, said.

“It’s a break from reality,” said Alexis LaFountaine, a high school junior from Troop 408. “I enjoy it; it’s a nice break from school that I think everyone would need.”

Although the Retreat-o-Ree is Catholic, all Scouts are welcome.

“It also is an opportunity to bring Catholics back to the church who have maybe been away; they come because of Scouting, but when they get here they are reminded of the Catholic traditions,” said Villa, a 7th grader who said that he was not Catholic.

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