Last minute requests are usually frustrating. I ran into a last minute “Help!” request last Monday. The priest scheduled for the Sunday liturgy at a huge scouting event could not make it due to a family medical emergency. The coordinator called me since I had been there before and had helped previously in similar situations. After off-loading one commitment to another date, I was able to join the scouts for their Sunday Mass at 9 a.m.
The Peterloon Jamboree is an assembly of scout troops from all around Ohio, Kentucky, and Indiana. From Cub Scouts to Boy Scouts to Explorers, the scouts were there. Some campers came from Michigan and Pennsylvania. The beautiful autumn colors of southern Ohio and the weather cooperated beautifully. Over 5,000 scouts were involved. There were more than 40 supervised outdoor activities and training courses in which the scouts could participate.
Peterloon is the major event of the Dan Beard Council. The world’s longest running Council Jamboree took its name from the Emery family farm where it was held annually from 1927 until 1956. When the jamboree became too large for that farmland, it moved to Camp Lower Craig on the Dan Beard Scout Reservation, near Loveland, Ohio.
This jamboree is a gathering of scouts from all sorts of religious traditions—and from no religious tradition. Jews, Mormons, Muslims, Protestants, and Catholics all were able to celebrate in their own traditions and they helped others understand their ways of prayer. More than 300 volunteer adults helped to make this big day come together.
One family from a local parish provided spirited leadership for the liturgical music. There were trained Eucharistic ministers among the Explorers who assisted as lectors and liturgical ministers. Along with their troop leaders the scouts themselves made the liturgy a truly dignified and prayerful occasion. For me, a Franciscan, this was a joyful occasion and a sign of the faith that has been shared to so many youngsters who are in scouting today.
Photographer: Klara Viskova/PhotoXpress