POUGHQUAG, N.Y.––Jim Thomas began his career in scouting as a Cub Scout and a member of the now 100-year-old Troop 1 in Wayne, Pa.
His adult career began when his oldest son, Max, became a Tiger Cub in Pack 172 in Westfield, N.J. Jim served as a den leader, and when second son, Ben, joined the pack Jim was serving as a den leader and assistant cubmaster.
While in Westfield, Jim also served as head usher of First UMC, and he was also a member of the Staff-Parish Relations Committee, property manager and a Stephen minister.
The Westfield UMC pastor asked Jim to restart Troop 78 and Jim soon became scoutmaster and son Max became the first Eagle in the restarted troop.
The church presented the scoutmaster and advocate of the God and Country Award program with a Cross and Flame Award.
Jim’s wife died of cancer in 2002, leaving him as the only parent of two sons and a daughter.
In 2005, he married Alison, the mother of four children, creating a family of nine with seven children ranging in age from11 to 25.
In 2007, the expanded family moved to Poughquag where they attend Poughquag UMC. Jim is again on a Staff-Parish Relations Committee and charter representative for Pack 77 and Troop 77. After receiving Wood Badge and Outdoor Webelos Leadership training, he was named unit commissioner for the Dutchess District of the Hudson Valley BSA Council.
“The two important influences on my life were the Methodist Church and Scouting,” said Jim. “It was natural for me to contact the General Commission on UM Men to see if there was a position that would combine scouting and church. They invited me to be a scouting ministry specialist.
“I jumped at the opportunity. You get to introduce churches to scouting, and explain to them how scouting is a ministry. You also explain all the awards that an individual or church can earn. Being a scouting ministry specialist got me to the New York Annual Conference where I set up a table and talked to hundreds of people about scouting, awards and God & Country studies.
I have used the things I learned in scouting my whole life. There are not many places an 11 year boy can grow in confidence, learn how to lead, and leave at age 18 with the confidence to face what comes next.”
If you are interested in becoming a scouting ministry specialist, please contact LaNisha Sayles for information (LSayles@gcumm.org) (615/620-7260).