Holy Cross, Champaign teacher, award recipient, sees value in Catholic Scouting
CHAMPAIGN — Anthony Frasca wasn’t involved in Scouting as a youth and had never been camping when he got involved as another way to spend time with his son, also named Anthony. That was seven years ago.
Both Anthonys kept going and now spend more than 20 nights a year outside under the stars — even in the winter.
“A lot of kids, including my own, love winter camping more than summer camping,” said Frasca, one of the assistant Scoutmasters for Troop 9, which is based at Holy Cross in Champaign.
“There’s no bugs,” he said with a laugh. “And the snakes stay away.”
Frasca said his success at winter camping made him realize that he could accomplish whatever he put his mind to and he’s never looked back. His willingness to take on new challenges and help wherever he’s needed earned him a nomination for the Bronze Pelican award.
“None of us think that we’re doing anything other than what we should do — setting a good example of what it means to be Catholic, setting a good example of what it means to be a Scout.” Anthony Frasca
He was astonished to receive the honor from the Diocese of Peoria Catholic Committee on Scouting.
“We’ve got several people here in Troop 9 that have been awarded the Bronze Pelican. None of us think that we’re doing anything other than what we should do — setting a good example of what it means to be Catholic, setting a good example of what it means to be a Scout,” he told The Catholic Post. “So it’s kind of weird for us to get an award for something we think we’re supposed to do.”
While the other awards for Catholic Scouting were presented during a diocesan celebration with Bishop Daniel R. Jenky, CSC, at St. Mary’s Cathedral on Feb. 12, Frasca received his medal during a Mass at Holy Cross Church earlier in the month so he could help with a fundraiser at Holy Cross School. He has been the social studies teacher there for grades six, seven and eight for four years and sees Scouting and teaching in a Catholic school as going hand in hand.
“I see the value in Scouting. I see the way the Scouts are able to interact with their teachers and adults in comparison to the kids who aren’t in Scouting. The kids look you in the eyes when they talk to you,” Frasca explained. “There are just characteristics there that Scouting helps to build in you.”
There’s an element of fun, too, he said. Not only does he get to spend time with his son and his friends, but they are learning new things together.
“Just like in the classroom, you are helping to shape these kids in what the future holds for them,” Frasca said.
JUST DO IT
Calling himself a “jack of all trades,” Frasca is the advancement chair for Troup 9 and his local committee on Scouting, and is organizing the troop’s summer camp this year. That’s not unusual for him and the other assistant Scoutmasters, though.
“If something needs to be done, we’re going to do it,” he said. “When the kids see that in us, they pick it up: ‘Well, if something needs to be done, you should just do it.’ We work hard to let our troop be a boy-led troop.”
With an activity like camping or a service project once a month and meetings every Tuesday, there’s plenty to do. One of their main projects is to hold a merit badge seminar the first weekend in March, which draws as many as 500 young people from around Illinois and Indiana.
“Usually the kids can get one or two merit badges done in a weekend,” Frasca explained. “Our kids are active and we try to be an example for other troops to be active, too.”
Frasca and his wife Beth also have a daughter, Kate, who is a fourth-grader at Holy Cross. He doesn’t have her in class like he has Anthony — yet — but enjoys being able to see her during the day.
He knew he wanted to be a teacher from a young age and was happy teaching in an alternative school in Decatur and at the high school level in Oakwood. Frasca said he felt like he was being called to teach at Holy Cross, however.
“I love coming into school every day. I love these kids,” he said.