*** boys youth organizations uniforms: religious groups organizations religious focus

Boys' Youth Groups/Movements with a Religious Focus

youth religious movements
Figure 1.--The Belgian KSA looks like a Scout group, but in fact is a non-Scout group afiliated with Catholic schools. The boys wear bright blue shirts and the girls light blue shirts. Here are some of the younger members.

Some youth groups had very strong religious programs. Interestingly these groups are almost mostly national in focus. Even the ones with some international programs have one country where the group is centered. At this time the groups we know of are mostly American or European. Presumably there are also some Asian groups--although HBC has no setails at this time.

Boys' Brigade

The Boys' Brigade was initially organized by a Scottish Sunday school teacher. Several smaller church organizxations were gradually incorporated into the Brigade. From the very beginning the Brigade has had a strong Christian focus which has not changed. This of course limited the international program of the Brigade. It contimues to be strongly focused on Britain and former British colonies like Australia and New Zealand.

Children's Eucharistic Crusade

The Children's Eucharistic Crusade is a Catholic association promoting the devotion to the Eucharist among children. It was established in 1914 and it spread to many countries, mostly Catholic countries in Europe and Latin Anmerica. The Eucharistic Crusade was a Church organisation for youth children (7-15 years old). It was created to encourage youth to pray for their personal sanctification and for the work of the Catholic Church. The term Crusade evokes a spirit of combat, in this case a commitment against personal vice. They were pitted asgainst the reign of Satan and to liberate them from Hell so they could be put to the service of Jesus Christ. The fuel for this effort was the sacrament of the Holy Eucharist. The impetus for the Crusades spirit is found in the Pope Pius X's decree Quam Singulari (1910). He autorized children to participate in the Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist after they had reached the age of reason. The Crusade was officially founded by a French priest, Fr. Bessières, with the permission of Pope Benedict XV. Fr. Bessières encouraged children from a French girls’ school to support the soldiers at the front by promising prayers and Holy Communions for victory. And they recorded their schievementsd by noting their efforts made every day.

Church Lads' Brigade (England)

This is another Christian-oriented youth group that appeared in Britain during the late 19th century. Like the Boys' Brigade, they put a heavy emphasis on the uniform. I have few details at this time.

Chiro (Belgium)

Chiro is a youth group that is not well known outsise of Belgium. It is a youth organization with strong Catholic religious orientations. It has units with branches all over Flanders. It is now an increasingly coed group, although many activities are still single gener activities. Originally boys' and girls' units were completely separate and some groups ran their activities like camps with only one or the other at any given time.

Imam al Mahdi Scouting (Lebanon)

A reflection of the positive image of Scouting is the fact that Hezbollah uses the term Scouting for its youth movement--the Imam al Mahdi scouting movement. While the group maintains a fasade of Scouting, its program is hardly in keeping with the principles of Scouting. The core of the movement is religious. Islam is, however, is a religion with a political foundation and this this group might also be categorized a nationalist group. It differs fundametally from Scouting.

KSA (Belgium)

The Katholieke Studentenactie (KSA) wears a uniform that looks very much like a Scout group. But it is not a Scout association. The KSA has nothing to do with Lord Baden-Powell and the World Scouting movement. I think it may best be described as a scion of the 'patronaat'-group of youth movements that have been fostered by the Roman Catholic Church. It is also primarily located in the Flemish areas of Belgium.

Royal Rangers (United States)

The Royal Rangers were formed by American Churches wanting more control over their youth program than Scouting allowed. While it has non-American units, the bulk of the organization is American.


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Created: 8:58 PM 4/30/2005
Last updated: 11:47 PM 6/21/2023