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Exploring Faith Through the Great Outdoors

Posted : Sep-20-2022

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The Federation of North American Explorers (FNE) is a Catholic youth movement in the scouting tradition. FNE is formally recognized by the Holy See as a Catholic lay movement. Founder Paul Ritchie shares an overview below.

1. What is the Federation of North American Explorers?

FNE is a Catholic faith-based movement for youth and young adults that builds its members into happy people through an adventurous outdoors program. We create a space of freedom where we live simply and, in contact with nature, become stronger and healthier and grow in virtue and character. Here, we learn that the greatest adventure of our lives is the one we live with God.

2. What is the movement’s primary mission?

To save souls by bringing the Explorer program of Venerable Father Jacques Sevin to North America so that youth and young adults may become ordinary saints in this life as they explore their faith and God’s creation.

3. How is FNE different from the Scouts?

FNE is a Catholic faith single-gender youth movement vs Scouts which embraces secular values that often differ from Church teachings. FNE embraces values and ideas routed deep in our faith through five primary aims:

  • God: to grow in love for God through personal holiness, to embrace the Eucharist and Reconciliation
  • Nature: to see God in action through what he has created
  • Character: personal development, your yes is a yes, to keep a promise, be reliable
  • Service: helping others
  • Concrete things: everything has a specific purpose and life lessons

4. What type of activities are offered in FNE and for what age groups?

Camping, canoeing, hiking, cooking, games, sports, excursions, pilgrimages, international travel, feeding the homeless, visiting seniors and the sick.  

  • Otters (ages 5.5 to 7) – to discover oneself and then others around you
  • Timberwolves (ages 8 to 12) – to live in the jungle with Mowgli and Akela in a happy family
  • Explorers (ages 12 to 16) – to work in small groups, assume greater responsibility, plan and lead key aspects of the program
  • Wayfarer Explorers (ages 17 to 22) – to discover the vocation that God is calling you to

FNE, a unique uniformed movement, actively encourages its youth and volunteer leaders to stretch themselves outside of their comfort zones through its structured programs to become the best that they can be. We explore the world in a safe and constructive manner bringing much joy and peace to all participants – every member is unique and loved.

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