Photo: Cubmaster Michael Asbell (right) leads a flag ceremony at Eakin Elementary School in Nashville, Tenn. UMNS photo by Mike DuBose.
NASHVILLE, Tenn.––People who want to ensure scouting will always have a place in local churches are invited to invest in a special fund administered by the United Methodist Church Foundation.
In 2012, 6,700 United Methodist congregations enriched the lives of 371,491 young people through 11,078 Cub Scout packs, Boy Scout troops, and Venturing crews.
Countless more youth are also reached through Girl Scouts, Camp Fire USA, 4-H, and Big Brothers Big Sisters of America (BBBS).
Churches have expanded ministries to their communities through Scout troops or other civic organizations, and since about half of the young people come from unchurched families, these programs have also become ways to introduce families to Jesus Christ.
Many families have joined the sponsoring churches as a result of these ministries.
Many ways to give
Individuals who want to make certain these ministries continue are invited to transfer property, stock or cash to the foundation and receive a fixed income stream for life.
The UMC Foundation website (umcfoundation.org) offers a free guide to preparing a will along with a planned-gift calculator. Options for planned giving include a unitrust, annuity trust, gift annuity, deferred gift annuity, a unitrust, and stock or financial gifts. The benefits of each are carefully defined.
An investment in scouting ministries will expand current efforts to recruit and train scouting ministry specialists who help neighboring churches establish troops, packs or civic groups. At present, 184 specialists are working to increase the number of churches with scouting ministries. They also invite congregations to initiate God and Country Awards, a program of Christian instruction sponsored by St. Louis-based Programs of Religious Activities with Youth (PRAY).
The Office of Scouting ministries is also recruiting and training people to serve as mentors of children of incarcerated parents through a BBBS program. Over 2.4 million U.S. children with at least one parent in jail or prison face a 70 percent chance of following the parent without intervention. To date, the mentoring program has been introduced in 18 annual conferences. Each one of these conferences is seeking big brothers and big sisters; for example the Northwest Texas Annual Conference is raising $125,000 for a new BBBS office with a goal of 125 matches in the first two years.
The Office of Scouting Ministries also:
- Provides national training experiences at the Philmont Scout Camp in New Mexico and the Florida Sea Base
- Recruits and trains chaplains and counselors for National Scout Jamborees attended by 30,000 Scouts and 8,000 adult counselors
- Annually supplies 5,000 New Testaments to Scout troops on treks from the Philmont Scout Ranch in New Mexico and canoe trips from Northern Tier camps
- Supports a national effort to provide a historic book of daily devotions to members of the armed services. Some 480,000 copies have been distributed to date
- Provides a similar book of daily devotions to police officers, firefighters and other first responders
- Provides Scouting Guidelines, a booklet for local church scouting leaders
- Encourages youth-serving agencies to participate in Nothing but Nets, Stop Hunger Now and other outreach ministries.
- Sponsors an award program to encourage and support Scouts and leaders.
- Provides webinars to provide information for scouting ministry specialists and others interested in scouting ministries
For more information, contact Marc Stowe at the General Commission on United Methodist Men (MStowe@gcumm.org) (615-620-7262).