Photo: Marvin White, the first scouting ministry specialist in the Oklahoma Annual Conference, hands out food during a scouting court of honor.
MOORE, Okla. –– As the first scouting ministry specialist in the Oklahoma Conference, Marvin White, helped First UMC in Moore receive a Shepherd Church Charter Recognition, and he presented five Scout leaders with Cross and Flame Awards, a first for the 2,300-member congregation.
Certified as a scouting ministry specialist in April, White is now recruiting persons to serve as instructors for P.R.A.Y. (Programs of Religious Activities with Youth) classes. The St. Louis-based agency offers classes and awards for four age groups. White has received a promise of financial support from a Sunday school class to purchase books for what was formerly called God and Country Awards.
A pack, two troops and a crew
As scouting coordinator for First UMC, White serves as executive officer and charter organization representative for, a 33-member Cub Scout pack, a 21-member Boy Scout troop, and a Venturing Crew. The church also hosts a 90-member Girl Scout troop.
Once White has established P.R.A.Y. classes, the pack, troops and crew will have taken an important step toward qualifying for Bishop’s Awards of Excellence, one of White’s goals for First UMC.
He recently introduced a computer program that allows parents and young people to keep track of their progress through the ranks.
“This has increased the communication level between the troop and the parents,” said White. “It also allows us to send specific information to just one parent at a time or the whole group as well as sending calendar reminders automatically.”
White is also updating the scouting ministry section of the church and UM Men websites.
White provides monthly articles about scouting in the church newsletter, and he has assumed responsibility for a church scouting display that now includes the original 1931 troop charter, membership cards of the first scoutmasters, and a bugle from the 1920s.
Last year, White started a Cub Scout pack at Cross Timbers UMC in Moore, a congregation begun by First UMC. He also serves as district commissioner for three additional packs.
Began as a Cub Scout
White’s experience with scouting began as a Cub Scout in a pack chartered by a Methodist Church in Choctaw, Okla. “I did not advance beyond the Bobcat badge,” said White, who is now in his 12th year as a Scout leader.
The scouting ministry specialist started as an assistant den leader and became the charter organization representative and chair of the pack committee while his son was in Cub Scouts.
When his son moved to Boy Scouts, White became the quartermaster and chair of the troop committee. When his son lost interest in scouting White continued as a leader of the Sooner District Training and Membership Committee.
“I served for many years as the American Society of Safety Engineers representative for Last Frontier Council’s Risk Management Committee,” says White.
Caught in work-force reduction
A graduate of the University of Central Oklahoma in Edmond, White has worked in all areas of the safety industry for 20 years.
“I was caught in a workforce reduction in September of 2009 and was forced to go on unemployment to keep the bills paid,” he says.
“I hope to get my safety consulting company up and running again very soon.” In the meantime, White is caring for his mother who has Alzheimer. His son, 18, is a senior at South Moore High School and will leave for basic training in the Army soon after graduation.
While working to start his company, White will continue to help First UMC and neighboring congregations understand the importance of scouting ministry.
“I believe that scouting represents the best method of helping the youth of today develop into the leaders of tomorrow,” he says. “Scouting ministry is a great tool to make youth feel a part of something that will help shape them for the rest of their lives.”