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etherScout - Search for the Culture of Life

Faithful Troops of the Immaculata is a project of the Faithful Youth Program of the WitnessWorks Foundation for a Culture of Life. This project supports the development of a "Culture of Faithfulness" template for youth adventuring programs traditionally associated with the "scouting" principles advanced by Robert Baden Powell. Initially the Faithful Youth program was intended to identify "best practices" and to provide resources for the Christian faithful who wish to build a robust culture of faithfulness into the identity of their Boy Scout or Girl Scout program. Inasmuch as the Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts have largely retreated in recent years from their legacy of seeking to instill virtue in their members, the Faithful Troops of the Immaculata project has turned its focus to working with alternative youth adventuring organizations. But our emphasis remains the same. Troops should not merely be associated with their charter organizations and their faith community as a matter of routine paperwork, but rather as a matter of profoundly identifying with, and forming their members in, the Teachings of the Church.

Faithful Troops

Faithful Troops combine a respect for the ideals and methodologies advanced by Robert Baden Powell, founder of the worldwide scouting movement, with a commitment to the teachings of the Church as expressed in sacred scripture and tradition, and as articulated and defended by the Magisterium. Faithful Troops insist upon more than mere lip service to the commitment that youth adventuring programs to faithfulness. To find out more about the "Culture of Faithfulness" template, visit our most significant work to date, the Internet portal to facilitate robust Catholic participation in Trail Life USA, located at

How seriously do leaders of the Scouting movement in America take their declaration: "A Scout is Reverent"?

Traditionally, the scouting movement in the United States permitted local faith institutions to sponsor troops that instilled character in youth by teaching unapologetically the difference between virtue and sin. In a morally unambiguous environment, the young can model the examples of older youth in their troop and of their troop's adult leadership to become the men and women they were created to be. In the context of a fun and challenging rugged outdoors adventuring program, through the "patrol method" popularized by Robert Baden Powell and through the rigorous standards of an advancement program, youth learn the value of hard work, contributing to a team, ethical leadership, basic outdoor survival techniques, good stewardship and service to their fellow man.

Sadly, in recent years, both the Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts in the United States have increasingly turned their backs on their legacy as instillers of traditional Christian teachings regarding virtue. Most recently, the Boy Scouts adopted an ambiguous (to put it most charitably) position on the immorality of acting out on same-sex attraction. For those interested in the controversy that has largely divided the Boy Scouts of America and led to the founding and rapid expansion of Trail Life USA, please visit, or consult the "Virtue Matters" articles posted in the left column of this page, as well as the Scouting-related links in the "Recommended" column to the right.

Faithful Troops of the Immaculata encourages those involved in the Boy Scouts or Girl Scouts either to work aggressively to change the current retreat of these organizations from their legacy of instilling virtue. We welcome your prayerful support!

We also recognize that we must all be good stewards of the time and resources with which we have been blessed. Many of us have children who cannot wait for the day when the Boy scouts or Girl Scouts have embraced a culture of faithfulness. Such folks should explore the wonderful alternative institutions that have emerged and that promise even stronger adventuring programs without any compromise on morality. To find out more about the two strongest alternative programs that have emerged, we recommend you visit Trail Life USA and the American Heritage Girls.

Church Teaching

We also encourage you to utilize the many available resources so that you may consult -- possibly even learn for the first time -- official Church Teaching on the subjects referenced above. Church Teaching is set forth in sacred scripture and in the Catechism. The Tradition that informs our reading of these documents can be reviewed in the writings of the Church Fathers, and the articulation of Truth applied to leading questions of the day can be found in the Church's Encyclicals.