7 Quick Takes: Alternatives to Boy Scouts

7 Alternatives to the Boy Scouts

If you haven’t already heard, the Boy Scouts of America recently changed their policy and passed “the resolution allowing ‘open and avowed homosexuality’ in the Boy Scouts.” It is very sad that they have chosen to go against their own “timeless values” and we, as parents, are forced to look into other youth organizations for our boys.

The good news, however, is there are such organizations out there! Here are seven such organizations that have come to my attention. (Hat tip to Dymphna’s Road for several of these links.) Just so you know, I haven’t had any personal experience with any of these organizations, although from resources I trust, the organizations are supposed to be excellent…

1. On My Honor.

According to their website, “”OnMyHonor.Net is the official coalition of concerned parents, Scout Leaders, Scouting Donors, Eagle Scouts and other BSA members who are united in their support of Scouting’s timeless values and their opposition to open homosexuality in the Scouts.”

This group is supposed to be meeting to talk about forming another organization similar to the Boy Scouts.

2. Columbian Squires.

The Columbian Squires is an extension of the Knights of Columbus, and I believe, sponsored by them. They are not in many parishes yet, but you can see if there is a group near you.

3. The Blue Knights.

Their website states: “Blue Knights Boys’ Club™ is a boys’ club aimed at teaching the truths of the Catholic faith to boys through Scripture, saints’ biographies, games, crafts and the Catechism of the Catholic Church.”

Our home-schooling co-op has monthly Blue Knights meetings and it is very good. My only wish is that it was more active and they did activities outside the monthly meetings.

4. Knights of Divine Mercy.

On the website: “The Knights of Divine Mercy apostolate seeks to awaken in men [and boys] the eager desire for a knight’s true calling: The quest for holiness and a restoration of the sacred.”

I’ve never heard of this group before but I like what it says on their website and according to someone I know, it is supposed to be an excellent group and worth checking out.

5. Pilgrims of the Holy Family.

A “do-it-yourself” alternate program to 4-H or Boy scouts through the Catholic Heritage Curricula website.

6. Federation of North American Explorers.

Not a Catholic-specific program, but its website states: “We deliver a proven same gender year round program experience that helps shape youth into honest, loving, Christ centered, happy young men and women in a fun and constructive manner.”

7. Fraternus.

Another Catholic-based program that is supposed to be very good. It is a parish-based program whose goal is “To mentor boys into virtuous Catholic men.”

I’ve never heard of this program and have no idea how many parishes it may be in, but might be worth the “look-see.”

Of course if all else, you could always form your own alternative group with your sons and their friends…If I wasn’t in school full-time nor taking 6 classes in the fall, I would consider  trying to start a chapter of one of the above groups or starting my own.

Do you know of any other programs that would be good alternates to the Boy Scouts? Do share them in the comments.

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Comments

  1. I will ask for you to wait, and consider that this change is really no change at all. We already have ‘openly’ gay Catholics. Remember homosexuality isn’t a sin, in of itself.

    My husband is an Eagle Scout and current Cub Scoutmaster of our sons’ pack.

    It’s about the boys, there is not heterosexuality test in Scout. In fact, as a scout, you are not to speak of sex at all. As my husband’s wife, I do not speak of personal/sexual relationships, even within the context of marriage.

    We’re there for the boys.

    Please, refrain from quick judgment.

    • SimpleCatholic says:

      Thank you for your perspective, Renee.

      I encourage you to read the following article which does a great job explaining how the BSA policy change does in fact negatively affect our boys:

      http://www.onmyhonor.net/impact-of-open-homosexuality-in-scouting/

      My son has been a part of scouting two years now, and believe me, the decision to no longer be part of BSA was not taken easily. It is not a matter of quick judgement, but as a matter of upholding solid Christian principles.

  2. I would just like to second your suggestion of Blue Knights Boys Club. It teaches the faith in a fun and exciting way and has the added benefit of allowing you to run your group indepent of any large national organization that will potentially try to impose its idealogy on you and your children. You can find more information about Blue Knights by going to http://www.blueknightsboysclub.com

  3. The Girl Scouts went down this road years ago and I’ve had to consider whether I wish to continue as an adult member and whether I wish to allow my daughters to participate. I’ve decided to continue with the Girl Scouts. Why? Well, for one thing, GS (and BS) do not claim to be Catholic organizations. Teaching religion is not what they do. No, I’m not saying our religion should be in a box to be taken out on Sunday only; I’m saying that we live in a world that is bigger than our little corner and as long as my girls are not exposed to ANTI Catholic teachings and as long as my money does not support causes that I don’t (and yes I’ve heard the stuff about PP and GS but my council doesn’t work with PP and no GS money goes to PP) then I’m willing to look at the individual group to make my decisions. As Catholics we could become part of a Catholic ghetto where everyone agrees with us or we can engage the outside culture. The gay rights folks have done that. They refused to keep their beliefs to themselves, they refused to only participate in stuff for gays, they refused to be pushed out of the mainstream because of their belief that homosexual relations were normal and healthy for them. Looks what has happened. I daresay if you told people 50 years ago about the status of gay rights and gay acceptance today, they’d be flabbergasted. Would that Christians could effect that type of change on culture. We won’t do that in a ghetto.

    The reality is that this “change” will affect very few boys. Few boys are left in BS by high school and I doubt most pre-high school boys are ready to consider themselves to be gay. Like a lot of other things, this is an issue far more important to others than to the kids in scouts.
    RAnn…recently posted…Sunday Snippets–A Catholic CarnivalMy Profile

    • SimpleCatholic says:

      I can see your point, RAnn. If more Catholics lived their faith outside of mass, The girl scouts nor the boy scouts would have even gone in the direction they have.

      The change in the BS policy will affect many boys, more than you think. Maybe not right away, but down the line.

  4. Has the Catholic Church declared that Catholic boys are now prohibited from participating in Boy Scouts? Have I missed something?

    • SimpleCatholic says:

      No, the Catholic church hasn’t declared that Catholic boys are prohibited from participating in Boy Scouts. Nor am I telling Catholics that they shouldn’t allow their sons to participate in Boy Scouts. I just offered this list for those who are no longer comfortable supporting Boy Scouts because of their policy change and are looking for alternatives. There are, after all, several organizations, like the ones above, that are just as good – or even better – than Boy Scouts. 🙂

      • I don’t want to argue with your decision. I would suppose that you wish you’d known about these alternatives sooner. Peace

        • SimpleCatholic says:

          Oh no, I didn’t think you were arguing my decision. I am so sorry if my explanation came off that way!

          I do wish I knew about those other organizations before, though, if only for comparison purposes.

  5. Taylor Marshall is founding the Scouts of St. George as an alternative and hopes to get the endorsement of Pope Francis. You can find his 7 point mini-manifesto here: http://www.taylormarshall.com/2013/05/why-im-starting-new-boy-scouts-my.html

    I like his approach very much. I must dispute with Renee that “this is no change at all.” The very act of saying that somebody can’t be barred from the Boy Scouts solely because of sexual orientation means that sex is brought to the forefront. If a boy is announcing to everyone that he is homosexual, the subject of sex is brought up. It shouldn’t be mentioned at all in the charter or other documents. Only virtue should be emphasized. But that’s not the agenda of those who pushed for this change. I beg everyone who is Catholic and involved with the Boy Scouts to pray about this change and educate him/herself about the homosexual agenda. BTW, one of my brothers earned the Eagle Scout status in 1961 and I am proud of him to this day for that.
    Barb Schoeneberger…recently posted…Sabbath MomentsMy Profile

    • SimpleCatholic says:

      Thanks for that link, Barb. I am signing up for his list and will be keeping an eye out on where it goes.

      I agree with you. This seemingly “non” change is just the beginning of bigger and more encompassing changes…

  6. As this is an evolving matter, I thought I’d share a link that was published about the same time/day as your post, Carol, and so, might have been overlooked:

    “Scouting is still the best youth-serving program available to all youth,” Edward P. Martin, chairman of the National Catholic Committee on Scouting, wrote in a May 29 letter addressed to “fellow Catholic Scouters.”

    Catholic leaders urge support for Boy Scouts, RNS 5/31/13

    • SimpleCatholic says:

      Thanks for the link. I encourage everyone to read this article – especially the comment. Very telling.

      One commenter in particular, Clare, points out a good point. In part, she says, “For us parents, the primary task is to protect our children and raise them in the faith. This move by the Scouts, while it technically acceptable by the standards of Catholic teaching, marks a sea change in Scouting and its purpose and mission.” She also goes on to say, “You have to ask yourself, why was so much pressure suddenly brought – within and from outside Scouts- to make this change? And, what will be the results, for all intents and purposes?”

      It is not this policy change per se that has me concerned as much as where this change is leading….

  7. I agree with RAnn that we Catholics can’t put ourselves in a ghetto. However, now it is the fashion for men to parade their “gayness” in everybody’s face. A parent who seeks to have sons grow in virtue will face some major challenges when prepubescent teen boys start announcing that they are “gay”. That shoves sexuality in the faces of everyone and distracts from the growth in virtue. And what happens when a supposedly pre-teen makes advances on another boy who rejects such advances (if he knows how)? Will the “homophobia” epithet be hurled right and left? This was a really bad move by the Scouts.

    I am struck by the fact that the Southern Baptists have formally broken with the scouts but our supposedly Catholic Mr. Martin is sidelining the issue. To say the policy isn’t in conflict with Church teaching makes the whole discussion about something else. As RAnn pointed out, the Scouts aren’t a religious organization. But now we can’t talk about morals because nobody agrees on what is moral anymore.
    Barb Schoeneberger…recently posted…Book Review: The Third Floor WindowMy Profile

  8. I’m not vouching for the comments to the RNS story.

    An article with further development, that is, an additional quote from Ed Peters is now available at Catholic News Service:

    “But, unless and until that conclusion is demonstrated on the evidence — and not largely on predictions — and notwithstanding that some elements of the gay lobby are likely treating the Boy Scouts as pawns in their own wider projects, I think that Catholics may, and should, take the Boy Scouts at their word. For now at any rate.

    “Scouts’ policy change said to be ‘not in conflict’ with church teaching”, CNS 6/3/13

    Peace

    • SimpleCatholic says:

      Thank you for that link.

      I get what Peters is saying but I’m just not willing to take the chance. I can’t express it eloquently, but everything in me feels like this resolution is a sliding snowball that is going to get bigger and bigger and be the cause of much harm for our boys and I don’t want my son in the cross-wires.

  9. This program looks awesome: Conquest Clubs
    http://www.conquestclubs.com/

  10. re option N6. Federation of North American Explores (www.fneexplorers.com) is authentic Catholic program – it’s a mistake to call it “Not a Catholic-specific program”.

    I am a leader in this truly blessed organization (one of few approved by Holy See) – and telling you – it’s not a BSA alternative – it’s a way more and different. Out programs are packed with action : pilgrimages, retries, camps, radio programs.

    Trust me – you want to be part of it.

    God Bless,
    Victor

    • SimpleCatholic says:

      Thanks for pointing that out, Victor. It sounds like a wonderful program and I wish it was in our area. 🙂

      • Hi SimpleCatholic — the Federation of North-American Explorers (FNE) does have a group in southern New Jersey (you mentioned NJ above). Like our parent movement, the UIGSE-FSE (which is approved by the Holy See as Victor points out above), the FNE is an all-volunteer movement so our growth (not to mention existence) depends upon volunteers willing to dedicate their time working with youth. While we do have non-Catholic members, our movement as a whole is entirely Catholic in its outlook. Holy Mass, the Rosary, Eucharistic Adoration, and the Chaplet of Divine Mercy are all at the center of our movement.

        I would encourage you to contact us (whether via my email or our web site) to see if it would be possible for us to expand in your area.

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