INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. –– Scouting ministry specialists help churches understand that Boy Scouts and other youth-serving agencies can be important ways to reach young people.
Dan Gates, one of seven scouting ministry specialists in Indiana, understands this better than most; he became Methodist because his Scout troop met in a Methodist Church.
In 1938, at age 13, Gates joined a Boy Scout Troop 59, chartered by the West Michigan Street Methodist Church in Indianapolis. “As I progressed through the ranks and positions of scouting, I became a Methodist,” said Gates. “I have been one ever since.”
In spite of an enlarged-heart condition as a youngster, Gates passed the board of review for the Eagle Award and became assistant scoutmaster of Troop 59 in 1943.
He was awarded the rank of Eagle in absentia in 1944 because he was on active duty with the U.S. Army.
In 1946, he was named skipper of Sea Scout Ship 59 and participated in a Chesapeake Bay Cruise. He has held just about every position there is in scouting since that time. He has served as a cubmaster, scoutmaster, district commissioner, adviser to Explorer Post 599, and president of Belzer Scout Band Boosters.
Following a 2009 week-long training experience at Philmont Scout Ranch, Gates was named charter organization representative for Troop and Pack 100, sponsored by the Lawrence United Methodist Church in Indianapolis.
Value of scouting
“My scouting experiences have helped me through many challenges and opportunities during every phase of my life –– so far,” said Gates. “The path to Eagle was also a very positive influence in the choices that I have been making for these many years.”
Gates is convinced of the need for young people to be involved in scouting. “Our challenge today is to provide ample opportunities, with trained adult leadership, to fulfill their needs,” he said. “As we can help them to experience their development into good men - as well as good citizens - we will meet some of our responsibility to them.”
Gates is presently in process of helping form a Venture Crew. “We have the organization, leadership, paperwork and recruiting well under way,” he said. “The crew will start with a high-adventure theme until the young adults decide what their emphasis will become.”
Well trained Scout leader
It’s hard to imagine a Scout leader who has received more training than Gates. He has received commissioner training (1966), Scout philosophy training (1967), den chief training, (1968), regional training (1969), adult leader training (1969), Wood Badge training (1969), Cub leader training (1971), Bear Claw training (1975); United Methodist Scouter’s Workshop at Philmont Scout Ranch (2009), and scouting ministry specialist training (2009).
He has also received several awards, including the Commissioner’s Key Award, District Scouter Award, Silver Beaver Award, Cub Leader Award, Scout Leader Training Award, and Scoutmaster’s Key Award.
Gates serves Lawrence UMC as a part-time moderator of a men’s Bible study group and the Memorials Committee. He has also served as the Sunday School superintendent, a member of the Education Committee, the Staff/Parish Relations Committee and the Nominating Committee.
Outside the church, Gates is a past master of a Freemason lodge (1995), past commander of an American Legion Post (2008-2009), past patron of an Oder of Easter Star (1992 and 1998), past president of Lawrence Kiwanis Club (1989-90), past commander of the China-Burma-India Veteran’s Association, life member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars and past president of the Shamrock Garden Club.
A man with many interests, he serves as a photographer for several garden clubs as well as the City of Lawrence Fire Department.
He is also a member the Indiana Historical Society, the Indiana State Museum Foundation, the Indianapolis Zoological Society, the National Rifle Association, the Indiana Sheriffs’ Association, the YMCA, Firecrafter Alumni Association, and the National Association of United Methodist Scouters.
Other Indiana scouting ministry specialists
Other persons certified as scouting ministry specialists in Indiana include: David Krantz, Newburgh (firstname.lastname@example.org), David Rowe, Fort Wayne (email@example.com; George Morrell, Indianapolis( firstname.lastname@example.org; Gregory Schoeneck, Valparaiso (email@example.com; James McCampbell, New Harmony (firstname.lastname@example.org; and Steven Gray, Forest (email@example.com.
If you are interested in becoming a scouting ministry specialist, contact Larry Coppock, top staff executive of the scouting ministry office of the General Commission on United Methodist Men (firstname.lastname@example.org) (615-620-7261).