Photo: Rob Charlton and his Cub Scout den.
NASHVILLE, Tenn.–– There are now 150 persons in helping United Methodist churches in 44 annual conferences expand their ministries to youth through scouting and other youth-serving agencies.
Robert Charlton, Detroit Annual Conference, became the 150th person to be certified as a scouting ministry specialist by the General Commission on United Methodist Men.
Charlton achieved the rank of Eagle in 1983 while a member of Troop 192 in Davisburg, Mich. “I started in scouting at age 7,” he says. “With an exception of about ten years during college and shortly thereafter, I have been involved with scouting in some capacity.”
Until recently Charlton served as a merit badge counselor, and he now serves as den leader for Pack 366 in Oxford, Mich. His son is a member of that den, which will soon become a Webelos II den. “I hope my 5-year old daughter will follow into Daisies soon,” says Charlton.
Asked about his plans as a scouting ministry specialist, Charlton said he and the United Methodist Men will assist two Girl Scout units that meet at the Lake Orion United Methodist Church. “I’d also like to inform them about PRAY (Programs of Religious Activities with Youth) programs,” said Charlton. “I have either taught or helped teach three of those classes.”
The St. Louis-based PRAY program offers four studies and awards: God and Me (grades 1-3), God and Family (grades 4-5), God and Church (grades 6-8), and God and Life (grades 9-12).
Scouting ministry specialists help churches initiate these God and Country studies, and they provide information about various scouting awards such as the Good Samaritan Award, the Cross and Flame Award, the Torch Award, the Bishop’s Award of Excellence, and Shepherd Church Charter Recognition.
The volunteers also help churches charter Boy Scout troops, Cub Scout packs, and Venturing crews, and they encourage congregations to sponsor Girl Scout and Brownie troops, 4-H clubs, Camp Fire USA clubs and Big Brothers Big Sisters partners.
Churches are invited to sponsor one or more of these organizations as a way to minister to their communities. Since about half of the young people in these organizations come from unchurched homes, this is also a way to invite their families to become church members.
The 12th woman specialist
Twelve of the 150 volunteers are women.
Caroline Rudisill, Texas Annual Conference, became the most recent woman to volunteer.
Rudisill says her scouting career began when her oldest son, David, joined Cub Scouts in a pack related to St. Peter’s UMC in Katy, Texas.
That church also chartered Troop 209, and David is now a member of that troop and working toward becoming an Eagle Scout.
Last year Rudisill led the four BSA units related to St. Peter’s UMC in an effort to provide clothing, toiletries, snacks and household goods for families displaced from their homes because of a wildfire.
She has also served as pack committee chair, district day camp staff, district recruiting chair, merit badge counselor and CIRCLE chair.
She credits a Boy Scout leader with saving her youngest son when he was pulled from the bottom of a pool. “A trained paramedic and Troop 209 leader was poolside with his family and revived Sean, who had been clinically dead for roughly 6 minutes,” said Rudisill. “Without the training that Nick Bourdoumis, his rescuer, had on his road to Eagle and which led to his choice of occupation, Sean would not be with us now.”
Rudisill says her Wood Badge centers on transitioning Cub Scouts into Boy Scouts and helping facilitate family involvement.
“I look forward to working with our United Methodist churches, especially those that are starting Scout units,” said Rudisill. “I am honored to serve as a scouting ministry specialist.”
Become a scouting ministry specialist
If you are over age 18 with a background in one or more of the youth agencies, you are invited to become a scouting ministry specialist. Candidates are asked to provide proof of BSA Youth Protection Training or Safe Sanctuary training, and they are encouraged to read Scouting Guidelines and participate in monthly webinars. For information, contact LaNisha Sayles (LSayles@gcumm.org) (615-620-7260).