Right now, our scouting program is on hold, as we search for a good scoutmaster willing to commit to the effort. We have, however, made significant progress toward developing a scouting program.
Over the years, we’ve seen how important it is to work with the boys in Russia. Because most marriages end in divorce, boys are raised by their mothers or grandmothers. Many do not know their fathers, and they have no male teachers or other masculine influences in their lives. Furthermore, there are few recreational and formative programs available to boys and young men.
Scouting, however, can help boys develop a male circle of friends, form their masculine identity, and gain a mature sense of responsibility. It can also help kids from poor families to have quality recreation; can teach boys basic camping and survival skills; and can strengthen friendships between boys from different parishes.
Some of our early work in scouting just involved boys’ hikes and cookouts. But in 2004, we had Scoutmaster Denis Bondarayev who began leading overnight campouts with our fledgling Vladivostok troop. The boys camped, hiked, cooked their own food, prayed together daily, went snow skiing, learned about rock climbing, and held a beach clean-up. In the summer of 2006, boys from a local orphanage joined the troop for a campout and other activities.
The troop also adopted 1860 as their troop number—the year that Vladivostok was founded. The boys have also designed a troop flag. Since 2005, the troop has been registered with the Russian Association of Navigators/ Scouts. Supporters of the mission have donated sleeping bags and camping equipment, but there remains a great need for more such items.
If you’d like to work in Vladivostok as a scoutmaster, please contact Fr. Myron Effing in Vladivostok and Mrs. Vicky Trevillyan in Modesto, California.