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important. Building the Islamic Center is not that important. Building the youth is important. If the youth get lost, you have no life. My aim from Day One is building the youth.” To underscore the strong ties

between Scouting’s values and those of Islam, Naqvi researched the Quran for teachings that parallel the Scout Law. A few examples: fA Scout is Trustworthy: “God commands you to give back the trusts to whom they are due and when you judge between people, judge with fairness.” (Quran 4:58)

fA Scout is Helpful: “God loves those who do good deeds.” (Quran 5:93)

fA Scout is Reverent: “Those who believe and do good deeds, estab- lish prayers, and give charity, will have their reward with their Lord.” (Quran 2:277)


Rabbi Peter Hyman, national chaplain of the National Jewish Committee on Scouting, says the history of the Boy Scouts has been, and continues to be, deeply intertwined

with American Jewish history, going back to 1910 when Mortimer Schiff and other prominent New Yorkers each contributed $1,000 to help W.D. Boyce incorporate and fund the Scouting program. The following year, Schiff, Solomon Guggenheim, and others joined the first National Council of BSA. And, Hyman adds, the first known Eagle Scout badge awarded in New York City went to a Jewish Scout: Milton Lowenstein, in 1917. “As a rabbi, here’s what I love and profoundly appreciate about


Scouting,” Hyman says. “While we have God as an important part of our value system, Scouting has never dictated or demanded any particular avenue to theology. Scouting has always said that a Scout’s relationship to God must be through family and church, synagogue or mosque. There’s no single template. That’s a very pow- erful gift that has been appreciated within the Jewish community.” Hyman says that many American

Jews in the early 20th century saw Scouting as “the perfect vehicle” for acculturation into American society. “Judaism cherishes community, and Scouting creates community,” he says. “Not just within our own nation, either. Messengers of Peace [a global Scouting initiative to build a better world] creates community irrespec- tive of borders. When you put on a Scout uniform it speaks volumes about who you are and how you are connected to the guy standing next to you. You may not know who that guy is, but you know by virtue of that uniform that he embraces similar values and is guided by the same set of words you are.”


Catholic Scouts have been staunch members of BSA going back to the organization’s found- ing year of 1910, when Troop 1 from St. Paul, Minn.,

was chartered and became the first Catholic Boy Scout troop in the country. Retired Col. John J. Halloran Jr., past chairman of the National Catholic Committee on Scouting (NCCS), notes that early Catholic Scouting figures such as Brother Barnabas McDonald and Victor

Ridder, a co-founder of the NCCS, were so successful in recruiting that the BSA hired them to create more Catholic units throughout the country. Looking at the affinities between

Scouting and Catholic teaching, Halloran applauds the ethical training developed by Scouting and the strong emphasis on service to others. “These are great concepts to carry forward into life, and training at the youth and adult levels can carry over to make great servant leaders in parishes and churches,” he says. “The values of the BSA correlate well with the values we want our young men and ladies to have.” Scouting is also “a great recruiting

tool,” for the church, Halloran says. “We hope programs like the religious emblems and Rosary and Saints patches will enhance the youth’s cat- echetical training,” he says. “In some cases that can awaken them to the fact that there is more out there, bringing them back to church. It’s always a plus when the Scouting programs can put the youth back into the pews, and the youth then bring their parents.” Highly motivated Catholic Scouts

and Venturers may be chosen for the biennial St. George Trek, the NCCS’s high adventure program at Philmont Scout Ranch. Every other summer, about 70 boys and girls are selected at the Archdiocese level for the two- week adventure. “It’s a well-balanced Catholic leadership youth program also aimed at those thinking about potential vocations in the clergy and religious life,” says Halloran. “We link them up with priests and seminarians for young men and two hiking nuns for the young women. They see them in action, having fun, so they see how faith and life relate. They know they can do both, if that is their calling.” ¿

CHRIS TUCKER is a Dallas-based writer, teacher, and commentator for National Public Radio.

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