SIR,-A letter in your issue of October 22 about youth work prompts Inc to suggest that there
is at least one admirable solution ready to hand. The letter points out the need of an English youth movement for
English youth: "Our aim should surely be not to copy but to create-to create a youth movement fully in accordance
with our national character and traditions."
I beg to suggest that there is no need for the creation of such a movement, for we have it already in the Boy Scout and Girl Guide Associations. They ale English of the English ; and they are aelmirately suited to Catholics-" model of youth movements," said Cardinal Hinsley of the Boy Scouts; and Cardinal Bourne: " It is well-known that have been much interested in Scouting from the beginning of the move
ment, and that have encouraged Catholic participation to the fullest extent "; whilst His Holiness Pope Pius XI could say to an audience of ten thousand Scouts: " You are Catholic Scouts-that is to say, Scouts who bring to your Scouting the beautiful and sublime characteristics of the profession of the Catholic faith and the Catholic life. But our thoughts do
not end there. . Be Catholic Scouts!
ln other words, carry out in your Catholic life the characteristics of your Scout motto."
Moreover, the Scout movement cornplies with most of the observations made by your correspondents:
(1) A Scout Troop (and what is said of Scouts is true, medal's mutundis, of Guides) is self-supporting, but could never be regarded as " a source of income "; yet even the poorest parish can afford it. (2) Even if the premises available at first be " anything good enough," the Scouts' training will lead them-as it has so often done in the past-to turn the place themselves into something to bc proud of.
(3) The movement is certainly calculated to break down " the barrier of suspicion . . with regard to young people." The Scoutmaster's job is precisely " to understand them and to lead rather than to drive them."
(4) The existence side by side of a Catholic Scout Troop and Guide Company, with their corresponding Rover Clew and Rangers, should go far " to bring the Catholic young people of both sexes together " with a consequent encouragement of Catholic marriages. This is especially true to-day when co-operation between Scouts and Guides is being more and more encouraged.
(5) These movements are not merely material in their outlook. Duty to God comes first, and experience has shown that young Catholics in them can be made an example to their fellows and earl he led appreciably to affect " the numbers at the altar rails."
(6) A Catholic Troop in a parish will naturally be centred round the parish priest. See Vera Barclay's excellent book, Good Scouring, where the idea of " Scouting and the Parish " is fully developed.
Admittedly, Scouting will not appeal to every individual. Nor can any youth movement, and that is the main objection to any compulsory national organisation. But the Scout movement has proved its worth over a period of more than thirty years as something that appeals to boys of every type and can lead them to aim at the highest ideals; for, after all, the ideals of Scouting are the ideals of the Gospel-service of God through service of our neighbour. Given the proper leaders (and nothing will succeed without these), Catholics need look no further. To quote the words of a priest: " Scouting is a really fine thing, but Scouting with the priest in interested control is the very finest thing in the whole world for our Catholic boys " (Rev. H. H. Holman, in an address to the Catholic Scout Guild, 1936).