An old Scout who doesn’t plan to fade away


Photo by Alan M. Dumoff/More photos at

scouts-webAndy Wager, second from left, accepts the first-ever Bishop’s Scouter Award for his meritorious service as the General Scouting Chair for the Camden Diocese at the Religious Medals Award Service at Assumption Church, Galloway, on June 20. Also pictured are, from left, Joseph P. Brennan; Father Paul D. Harte, diocesan Scout chaplain; Father Thomas Barcellona; and, in the background, Father Michael J. Matveenko.

BARRINGTON — For the past 69 years, Andy Wager has devoted his life to Scouting and to the church. He has given his time to get the word out to promote the Cub, Boy, and Girl scouts.

A Eucharistic Minister with St. Francis de Sales Parish, Barrington, his Scouting endeavors are not affiliated with one particular parish.

“I’m general chairman of the Catholic Scout Youth Ministry,” he said. “I deal with all the churches in the diocese. My home is the field office for the ministry.”

Wager, 78, said all the supplies and everything needed for the committee and the ministry are in his home. He set up the headquarters there, he noted, so he could be close to his ailing wife. “I maintain everything from here,” he added.

But after nine years in his position, he’ll be resigning in August at the end of the yearly program, which runs from September to August. “Everything’s already planned for next year,” he noted.

His successor will be fellow Scout Joe Brennan.

Most items and supplies will be moved from his house, but Wager said he would still be office manager and still be organizer of the field Mass services in the diocese and out of the diocese.

One of the things he will still be involved with is the Wednesday service and Mass at the Scouts’ Camp Roosevelt in Woodstown.

“We have the assistance of five or six priests who help us with that,” Wager said. “We also celebrate Mass on the USS New Jersey Battleship on Saturday nights and on Wednesday mornings. We hold a Christian service and a Catholic Mass with the help of several priests and two or three Protestant ministers.”

Each county has a Catholic Scout Youth Ministry and Wager built and trained his committee literally from scratch. “It took me eight years to get it where it is now,” he said, “and Joe will do a good job continuing with it.”

Wager got into Scouting when he was 9 years old — “You had to be 9 in those days to join,” he explained — and he ran a troop for 25 years, Troop 96 for Barrington and Haddon Heights.

“We also have an international exchange program,” he pointed out. “We’ve visited England and France over the years and those Scouts visited us.”

On June 20 National Religious Scout Awards were given to youngsters during ceremonies held at Assumption Church in Galloway Township. All local councils attended.