OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. ––First UMC in Moore, Okla., has chartered a Scout troop for 70 years, but few people knew much about the troop. Also, few people were aware that the church also sponsors Cub Scouts, Girl Scouts and a Venturing Crew.
That changed when Marvin White was named the first Oklahoma Conference scouting ministry specialist.
White provides news about Scouts in every issue of the church newsletter. “A Note from your Scouting Ministry Specialist” features news about the accomplishments of church youth. Next month it will include the names of the Girl Scouts who have advanced and youth who completed their Programs of Religious Activities for Youth (formerly God and Country) studies. There are some 25 young people engaged in one of four programs, and 17 have completed at least one unit.
The church also has a scouting ministry display case that includes photographs, awards, ribbons, memorabilia, charter certificates and a Scout bugle used in the early 1900s. White has added a plaque with the names of boys who became Eagle Scouts since 1965. He hopes to add the names of boys who became Eagle Scouts from 1940 to 1965. Of course, he recruits Boy and Girl Scouts to participate in Scout Sunday services.
White is now working to get the church a Shepherds Church Charter, and he is helping the Boy Scout troop qualify of the Bishop’s Award of Excellence. He also submitted the names of two persons to receive Cross & Flame Awards. In addition, White is developing prayer partnerships between the Scouts and church groups, beginning with prayers for Scouts preparing for a 27 mile canoe trip.
Moving beyond his own church, he plans to provide information and encouragement to every chartered organization representative from every church in the conference.
White says he first became involved in scouting as a Cub Scout in a church chartered by a Methodist Church in Choctaw, Okla. He said he’d like to tell everyone he walked 10 miles in the snow to an after-school den meeting, but, the truth is the church was only a few blocks from his school and his home was across the street from the school.
White did not advance beyond the Bobcat badge, but he reentered scouting with his son. He is now in his 11th year as a Scout leader. He has served as an assistant den leader, a chartered organization representative, a pack committee chair, an executive officer for a pack, troop quartermaster, and district chair. He now serves as the American Society of Safety Engineers representative on the local council Risk Management Committee, executive officer. He continues as charter organization representative for a Cub Scout pack, a Boy Scout troop and a Venturing Crew a First UMC in Moore. He also serves as chairman of a new pack at Cross Timbers UMC in Moore, where his daughter worships, and district commissioner for three other packs.
“Scouting represents the best method of helping the youth of today develop into the leaders of tomorrow,” said White. “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.”
For information about scouting ministry specialists, contact LaNisha Sayles (LSayles@gcumm.org) (615-620-7260).