For the past 14 years of my life, I have been deeply involved within the Boy Scout movement. Outside of my life in the Church, no group of people has so influenced my formation as the men and women of the Scouting movement. From the muggy hiking trails of Florida, to the clear lakes of the Boundary Waters in Northern Minnesota, I have seen the best of that group and experienced the heights of adventure. But before all of those adventures, I was taught a few elemental skills. Chief amongst these skills was the ability to create, use, and tend to a campfire. There is no experience quite so quintessential to Scouting than lounging around a fire after a long day in the woods. In that timeless space, conversations about the deep, the high, and the mysterious come together in a moment of quiet import that strikes to the core of anyone’s heart. It’s a place where friends, new and old, come together to share in warmth and tradition. It’s in this fire, which must be diligently tended by all who gather round it, that I see reflections of our own church and those who are entrusted with the passing on of our timeless faith. Leaving reveries of campfires past aside for the moment, we dive into the Catechism of the Catholic Church, which speaks of Confirmation preparation thusly: "Preparation for Confirmation should aim at leading the Christian toward a more intimate union with Christ and a more lively familiarity with the Holy Spirit - his actions, his gifts, and his biddings- in order to be more capable of assuming the apostolic responsibilities of Christian life. To this end catechesis for Confirmation should strive to awaken a sense of belonging to the Church of Jesus Christ, the universal Church as well as the parish community. The latter bears special responsibility for the preparation of confirmands” In the final pronouncement of this passage do we see clear cut marching orders. As ministers who strive to prepare the youth of our church for this life in Christ, we must strive to make them feel welcome and included within the Church. This isn’t to say that we lay aside inconvenient truths or water down the Faith to make it more palatable. But rather, we reveal the Faith as what it truly is: the call of Christ to bring all things into unity with himself. It’s a simple fact that no one will stay where they do not feel welcome, where they don’t feel wanted or loved. We see that in our brethren that show up to Mass once or twice a year, seemingly unaware of the rich spiritual life to be found within the community, around our campfire of sorts. And here, I see a lesson Scouting taught me: if you want someone to stay, give them a task. Now, I want to emphasize that busy work isn’t the only way to deepen and enliven the hearts of people; more often than not, it will scare them away. However, in inviting the confirmands of our parishes into a deeper relationship with Christ, initial groundwork could most effectively be executed in assuring greater involvement within the parish community. Does your parish offer a ministry fair for those about to undergo Confirmation with all of the ministries present and available for them to participate in? Is there an opportunity to participate in a mission, foreign or domestic? A space to undergo continuing formation, or even help in the transmission of the Faith to those younger than they? While this series will by no means be an exhaustive list of ideas, practical concepts certainly have a place here. And therein is the point: every parish has a unique set of challenges in transmitting the Faith to the next generation, but whatever you can do to keep them around the campfire is necessarily a good thing. All hearts seek out Christ, but sometimes an invitation from someone they know and trust can be all the start someone needs to take on their role of tending to the fire.