Recently, the Boy Scouts of America adopted a resolution that reaffirms the organization’s Duty to God. The National Executive Board of the BSA continues to recognize this as a fundamental component of our overall mission.
The Scout Oath is one of the first things a Scout learns when he/she joins, stating “On my honor I will do my best to do my duty to God…”. This phrase has been one of the most important principles of Scouting from the beginning. It was only until a few years ago that Life Scout, Joseph Romo from Troop 818, and Alyson Do, president of Crew 1910, realized what this phrase truly meant.
At the 2018 Catholic Diocese Bishop’s Luncheon Joseph and Alyson provided the pastors, ministers, cubmasters, scoutmasters and staff attendees with their summer camp spiritual testimonies. Read below to understand the unique journey Joseph and Alyson had to go through to understand their Duty to God.
Alyson Do, Crew 1910
“Good afternoon Catholic Leaders. My name is Alyson Do. I am honored to be the president of Crew 1910 otherwise known as the Bishop’s Crew. I have been active in Scouting for the past four years and during time, each and every summer I have spent one full week at Lost Valley Summer Camp attending and staffing the National Youth Leadership Training, or NYLT. At NYLT the youth leadership team is constantly in motion, serving, leading, guiding, helping in rapid succession. We really don’t have much idle time. However, the outdoor setting makes up for the intense week spent there. After a full week in this amazingly beautiful natural environment of Lost Valley, I always rediscover a greater appreciation for God’s creation in that magnificent natural setting.
I love being able to wake up to the clear air and witness a spectacular sunrise knowing it’s by God’s imagination. Or being able to look up and see a cloudless sky, full of bright twinkling stars at night, a view that I don’t ever really get to enjoy here at home…in suburbia.
Being at Lost Valley really makes me more appreciative of God’s creation and it makes me want to try harder to protect the earth that He has gifted to us. Additionally, the Lost Valley campgrounds offer me with a quiet place where I can stop what I’m doing and take a breather with no electronic or manmade distractions around me…to reflect on God’s grace in my life. All in all, experiencing Lost Valley has really changed me and the way I view my faith because I used to think that the only way to praise and honor God was through prayer.
By spending time at Lost Valley I’ve learned that I can also Worship God by appreciating and caring for all of His creation, something that I take back home with me when my time at Lost Valley has ended.”
Joseph Romo, Troop 818
“Good afternoon fathers, Scout leaders and my fellow Scouts. I am here today to talk to you about my own faith story and how God has strengthened me in Scouting. I’m hopeful that this testimony will help fuel the vision of a Scouting encampment for all those who want to dive more into their faith.
I grew up Catholic, attended a Catholic elementary school and now High School. But I was never really tuned in. I went through the motions and said my prayers. It wasn’t until my freshman year that God entered my life.
Since then I have been aware of the love that Christ has for me and the whole world. That’s what I want my fellow scouts to realize… to realize the Love that God has for us no matter what.
Scouting takes us everywhere, whether it be from the beaches of Catalina to the towering mountains of the Sierra Nevada. We are called. Nature, in a way, calls to each and every one of us. John Muir once said, ”In every walk with nature one receives far more than he seeks”. We always take something new from nature when we venture out into forests. Not only Scouts with their very large backpacks go out into the wilderness but our own savior Jesus Christ went out into the wilderness to fast and to be with his Father.
Like many in this room, I suspect, I was called to the wilderness at a very young age.
Some of my first memories took place in Yosemite National Park and the surrounding Sierra Nevada. I’m an avid backpacker and have hiked Catalina, Ojai near Ventura County and Philmont in Cimarron, New Mexico. While on these trips I became fully aware of God’s blessing to the world. One outing stands out in particular, a trek to Philmont, where we had to climb a mountain just as it was about to rain. With our heavy packs we climbed a very steep trail for several hours. The last leg of my trek I felt like I couldn’t do it. I had serious doubts about being able to conquer this peek. That’s when I looked up to the cloudy sky and said to the Lord, ”God…I know I haven’t talked to you in a while but I need your help right now. Give me the strength to complete this journey.”
Well, I made it obviously. That was one my greatest memories of my God being there for me through Scouting.
Nature, in a way, is actually a representation of God’s creative hand. Everyone’s life is like a mountain. There are many paths to reach the summit or to reach God. But there is always the challenge of climbing it. Even though the trail is well marked, it is strenuous. Many obstacles are there to distract us, but it’s our job to push on and make it to God at the top.
Not only through nature is God revealed to us but through protecting it and preserving his creation. And for us Scouts, seeing God through nature will help deepen our faith and draw us into a place of worshiping him…to surrender ourselves to Him, and to allow Him to fill us with Grace.
Our God is so great that he basically gave us the entire Earth to discover. All of this to say, I am in full support of this idea of a Catholic Scouting Encampment. Especially in the world we are living in today where God may seem distant to some who are distracted by school, a job, technology or partying.
But with this encampment we can help make our world more personal, more loving, just as God did for us.”
Share your own Duty to God story here: www.ocbsa.org/stories