The Salesian way of educating the young is quite simple. Basically, I insist on letting boys be boys. Let them play and enjoy themselves as much as they want as long as God is not offended. But if I have a philosophy of education, it consists in discovering a boy’s best qualities and then exploiting them to his advantage. You must admit, sir, that any person is at his best when he is doing what he likes and does best. Children are the same. Promote their positive qualities and they will thrive. — St. John Bosco

North Star FNE 2015 Winter Camp  

The North Star Group of the Federation of North-American Explorers (FNE) held its first winter camp for its boys’ units (1st St. John Neumann Timber Wolf Den and 1st St. John Neumann Explorer Troop) on Super Bowl weekend (Friday, January 30 – Sunday, February 1). Joining us for this historic (from our point of view, anyway) event were our brothers from Our Lady of the Annunciation FNE in West Virginia – 1st St. John Berchmans Timber Wolf Den and 1st St. John Berchmans Explorer Troop (read more about St. John Berchmans – the patron saint of altar servers – here).

These four units, which together made for three sixes of Timber Wolves, and three Explorer patrols, camped in Belleplain State Forest in southern New Jersey. The Timber Wolves stayed at the group cabin by the East Creek pond, while the Explorers camped at the more rustic lean-tos on the shores of Lake Nummy.

It was cold!

An Explorer shows us one reason why we should not leave our gear outside overnight

It was cold!

It was really cold on Saturday

Holy Mass on Saturday morning

Our FNE national religious adviser, Fr. Piotr Narkewicz, came and celebrated Holy Mass for us

Honor guard during Holy Mass

An Explorer with the baussant of our movement serving as honor guard during Holy Mass

Timber Wolves, Explorers, and Leaders

Timber Wolves, Explorers, and Leaders after Holy Mass – East Creek Cabin in Belleplain State Forest

Learning some basic engineering principles?

Indoor activity – it was cold! – Timber Wolves use their ingenuity to build a structure out of nothing but paper strong enough to hold up a brick

Thinking outside the box

Even taller! But it looks like these boys might have had some assistance from Rikki-tikki-tavi.

An Explorer smiles and whistles under all difficulties

Mongoose Patrol’s Chief not daunted by the cold weather

Timber Wolves on a hike

Timber Wolves on a hike! Here they are listening to a meditation on the Presentation from the pen of Fr. Sevin

Divine Liturgy

St. Nicholas Ukrainian Catholic Church in Millville was kind enough to host us

East Creek Pond

The dock at East Creek Pond. It’s hard to tell in this picture, but much of it was frozen over. Did I mention that it was cold?

Email group leader Christopher Hasson at akela(at)northstarexplorers(dot)org for more information on our North Star FNE group located in southern New Jersey.

Click here to read more about Our Lady of the Annunciation FNE in Charles Town, West Virginia. Email group leader Terry Schau at schauterry(at) for more information.

Click here to read more about our Federation of North-American Explorers movement. We are the North American (Canada, United States, and Mexico) member association of the UIGSE-FSE, a Catholic scouting association approved by the Holy See. Email our general commissioner Paul Ritchi at for more information.

Lenten letter from our FNE religious adviser  

Semper Parati!

We have just started Lent. This is a very important time for every one of us. Not just because, as we are told, it is necessary to give something up. To make the decision to avoid some pleasures to build ourselves up: “I decided not to play on my iPad for all of Lent and I did it!” but also to look for what God really wants from us.

The first Sunday of Lent gave us an amazing word about temptations. Jesus was in the desert where he was tempted by Satan. Saint Mark didn’t describe specifically what these temptations were, like Mathew and Luke did. He said only: Jesus was tempted. Because basically there is only one temptation, as old as humanity. Temptation which started in the Garden of Eden: “My will is the law!,” “I want to do this and I will do it, no matter what.” This is a temptation that we all have. Even if we pray everyday “Thy will be done”, we want to do only our will, because we think that we know better.

That’s why we need Lent. That’s why we need to fight with these temptations. Because we are not God! We are His creatures! We don’t always know what is best for us, He knows, and that is why he gave us ten commandments!

To help us during this fight with our temptations Jesus gave us a weapon: Fasting, prayer and almsgiving. The first is important to show ourselves what is really important. That this is not my will I desire most, but God’s will. I don’t have to have everything I want. I can really give up something. I really don’t need to eat hamburgers, chips, cookies, candies etc., everyday! (not just for my health!). I can really live without a computer, TV, smartphone etc.

We need prayer to see, that really God is in a place of primacy in our lives, and because our body is not so concentrated on food (because of fasting) we can be more focused on prayer.

And almsgiving helps us to beat our selfishness. We fast to save some goods for others! We can share with others to help them in a very concrete way!

All of these things I have mentioned are present in our Explorer and Timber Wolf law!

One of the most important rules in the Timber Wolf family is: “The wolf listens to the old wolves,” not to himself. This is really a fight against the temptation “My will be done!”

Have courage brothers and sisters! Fight against temptations with fasting, prayer and almsgiving! You will see, that your heart really will be happy! And remember: Man does not live on bread alone, but from every word that proceeds from mouth of God!

Fr. Piotr “Panther” Narkiewicz