Church offers scouting options

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from Our Lady of Grace Catholic Church
The Boy Scouts of America announced plans last year to accept girls, marking a historic shift for the century-old organization and setting off a debate about where girls better learn how to be leaders.
Amidst the tension caused by the Boy Scouts’ changes, one local church offers alternatives to scouting programs for youth that immediately filled with members.  
Our Lady of Grace Catholic Church, one of the newest and fastest-growing parishes in the Southeast, rolled out two options this fall that are open to the surrounding community. Together, the newly formed groups have 61 members already and are open to new members.
For boys
Troops of St. George is a fraternal Catholic nonprofit that offers adventure in archery, rock climbing, marksmanship, fishing and survival skills, coupled with virtue, for boys to share alongside their fathers and other boys. They do works of mercy and service to their parish, and pray with other men around fire pits in the cold.
“We are not interested in arts and crafts or meetings for the sake of meetings,” according to a troopsofsaintgeorge.org blog. “We’re inte-rested in meeting the challenges of being a godly and Christian man for our wives, children, grandchildren and culture. We want our sons to become true men infused with virtue, decisiveness and integrity.
“We recognize that Christian manhood, based on the classical understanding of virtue, is under attack. Those who think that American culture is healthy will probably not be attracted to our movement. We are interested in rising to the challenge of Blessed John Paul II: to become signs of contradiction in our increasingly post-Christian culture.”
Founded in 2013 by Catholic author Dr. Taylor Marshall, there are Troops of St. George all over the United States and more forming all over the world.
For girls
American Heritage Girls is a national character development organization for girls ages 5 to 18 that embraces Christian values and encourages family involvement. Its mission is to build “women of integrity through service to God, family, community and country.” They welcome “all biological girls of any color, creed, race, national origin and socioeconomic status who agree to live according to the standards of the AHG Oath and the AHG Creed.”
“Rather than just being a badge-earning group, we’re a life-skills building program,” said Patti Garibay, founder and executive director of the American Heritage Girls. “We incorporate not just the faith side, but the service side – more than 750,000 million service hours were given to local communities last year – and we have a strong outdoor program. We’re designed to meet the needs of the whole girl.
“But what really differentiates AHG from the scouting world is that we have multi-level girl programming, which allows girls ages 5 to 18 to be in the same troop. That makes it very family-friendly.”
For more information on these groups at Our Lady of Grace, contact Bill Rusciolelli at bill.rusciolelli@powereng.com or Jen Mitra at ahgSC1516@gmail.com or (704) 287-5278.