Scouts hand out awards at annual Mass
by Katie Peterson
Special to The Leaven
KANSAS CITY, Kan. — Another year of Scouting in the Archdiocese of Kansas City in Kansas came to a close just in time for its new year to open when the annual Catholic Scouting Awards Mass was held Sept. 27 at the Cathedral of St. Peter here.
Normally held in April each year, the Mass was postponed because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Scout awards included two American Heritage Girls Spirit Alive Awards, 15 Ad Altare Dei Awards, seven Pope Pius XII Awards and five Pope Paul VI National Catholic Unit Excellence Awards.
Adult awards included two Elizabeth Ann Seton Awards, three Bronze Pelican Awards and one Echo of Kateri Award. A special recognition — the St. John Paul II Award — was also presented to Gary Smith for his nearly 25 years of service to Scouting. He has served as the chair of the Catholic Committee of Scouting for the archdiocese for the past six years and will be retiring later this year.
“Scouting offers boys [and girls] the opportunity to fail safely and to learn from failure, which I think is tremendously underestimated in our society. Failure is valuable if you use it as a learning tool, and I had the opportunity to do that [as a young Scout],” Smith said. “I made a promise as a little 8-year-old that I would help people at all times and I recited that at every Scout meeting. And it has become one of my daily prayers now. Scouting weaved a way of thinking in my life that I just couldn’t walk away from.”
“We have a saying in Scouting that you always leave your campsite better than when you found it,” he continued. “I’m praying that I’m leaving the committee better than when I found it.”
Although COVID-19 has continued to present many challenges to group activities because of social distancing requirements and other restrictions, the Catholic Scouting community has found ways to endure and stay true to its mission as the new year began in September.
Meetings and activities have adjusted to video teleconference and socially distanced gatherings of a limited number, and two programs have even made changes for the better.
Ad Altare Dei
The Ad Altare Dei program was first established by Father James E. Dolan in 1926, in hopes of providing more spiritual development for Scouts seventh-grade and older. The program is organized in sections based on the seven sacraments.
“The purpose of the Ad Altare Dei program is to help Catholic youth of the Roman rite develop a fully Christian way of life in the faith community,” said Paul Camarata, Troop 396 committee member.
This year will not only be the first time the program is being held virtually, but the first time that girls in the Scouts BSA program will be participating. Five girls are signed up for a total of 23 in this year’s program.
AHG Catholic Faith Awards
New programs have launched this year, too, including the American Heritage Girls Catholic Faith Awards. Two local classes for Patriots and Pioneers began in September. Currently, 12 Pioneers and five Patriots are enrolled.
“The AHG National Catholic…
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