Go HOME in July
Scouters and clergy from across the U.S. will gather at HOmE (Heaven on Earth) at Philmont Scout Ranch, July 15-22, to share ideas and information on scouting as a ministry in the UMC.
“The conference is all about the ways that scouting and the UMC can and should work together to benefit both organizations and the youth and adults we serve,” said 2018 Conference Director Cliff Coan.
The weeklong conference is designed for local church, district and conference scouting coordinators, Scout leaders, clergy, and youth leaders. Sessions will focus on the role of scouting ministry specialists, and how scouting can increase church membership.
The group will learn about award programs, youth protection, membership growth, the Strength for Service devotional book ministry, and common features of scouting and UM groups. Participants will discover the many ways scouting can make an impact on their youth groups and build an environment of servant leaders in local congregations.
“We try to deal with everything from ‘big picture’ stuff — like policy — to ‘nuts-and-bolts’ things like ‘how do kids earn religious emblems,’” said Coan.
Course content varies somewhat from year to year,” said former course director Susan Lawyer, “because it draws a variety of new participants and staff who bring to the table their ministry and scouting experiences. I know the charters and scouting units will be blessed by the knowledge and new contacts that each participant takes home.”
"As chair of the Religious Relations Committee for the Greater St Louis Council, I found the program content to be very helpful,” said Jim Marchbank. “The material was interesting and I came away with several ideas that I was able incorporate immediately. I also found some of the informal conversations among the participants in between the sessions to be very valuable. An added bonus was the opportunity to meet and learn from individuals who have and continue to be successful in their respective positions."
Both new and experienced United Methodist scouters will find the conference valuable.
“I attended my first one last year and thought it was great,” said the Rev. Doug Walker, pastor of First UMC in Pendleton and Ingalls, Ind. “The interaction from other scouters and the presentations by the staff and special speakers was very informative.”
“I picked up several ideas and many connections that will help us in the North Georgia Conference,” said Chris Karabinos. “For example, having not heard of a Bishop’s Dinner before, I see us holding one in the spring of 2018 as a tool to recruit new units. I also established connections with a lot of experienced scouters and committed UMs who see scouting as a ministry and who can help connect us to other scouting resources around the country.”
Attendees will be housed at the Philmont Training Center at the edge of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains about an hour away from Taos, N.M. The high-adventure base hosts more than 20,000 Scouts each year in its backpacking adventure expeditions through more than 200 square miles of territory — the largest youth camp in the world.
Participants will want to bring their families.
“Philmont is smart enough to know that if the Scouter’s family has a good time, the Scouter is likely to get to come back,” said Coan, “so the family programs at the Training Center are top-notch.”
Activities for families include hikes, fishing, horseback rides, air rifles, archery, crafts, cooking, games and hiking the Sangre de Cristo Mountains. In addition, the new National Scouting Museum should be opened by July.