Oklahoma Conference of the United Methodist Church

Connecting with groups that serve youth


Camp Fire USA is heralding its 100th year. The Camp Fire representative on the Oklahoma Conference youth-serving agencies committee is Susan Williams of OKC-Quail Springs United Methodist Church.

The Heart of Oklahoma Council of Camp Fire USA celebrated the centennial during its Grand Council Fire on May 2 at Quail Springs UMC.

Recipients of the WoHeLo Award, the highest honor a youth member of Camp Fire USA may earn, are shown at left: Megan Cook of Ada High School; Steven Dyer, Oklahoma Centennial High School; Taylor Hall, Byng HS; Madison Howard, Edmond Santa Fe HS; Gina Mengwasser and Kathryn Miracle, both of Deer Creek HS.

On Scout Sunday, OKC-Chapel Hill presented the United Methodist Cross-and-Flame Award to six adult leaders of youths at the church. They served youth through: Sunday school, Confirmation classes, and Boy Scouts. Above from left are Darren Cranford, Alan Jones, Philip and Lindie Slater, Laura McConnell-Corleyn, UMMen President Dallas Gandy, and Travis Brown.


5 agencies comprise 'Scouting Ministries'

United Methodists use the term "Scouting Ministries" to refer to five civic youth agencies and programs—Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, Camp Fire USA, 4-H, Big Brothers Big Sisters.

Each of these offers distinct programming and organizational features. And they are valuable as outreach ministries for a church, explained Richard Grosshans of Oklahoma City. He has served as the volunteer Scouting Ministries coordinator for the Conference.

Coordinators now have been named in each district, as well as the Conference’s first-ever "Scouting Ministry Specialist," Marvin White of Moore.

Grosshans pointed out that coordinators and specialists can help congregations expand their connections to civic groups that serve young people. A church can do more than provide meeting space.

"Many mission opportunities are made available through these agencies," Grosshans said. Each youth organization has inherent building blocks that can transform young people for Christ. For example, the "Religious Activities with Youth" series focuses on discipleship, family, and service. (This series was formerly named "God and Country.")

"Scouting is one potential entry point for persons to join the church. Reach out through these five programs," Grosshans said. He cited statistics that indicate 50 percent of the young people involved in such civic programs at churches are from families without any faith affiliation.

"We the Church are endowed with certain responsibilities that allow civic youth-serving programs to become ministry. This is what differentiates us from a community-based club," he said.

Grosshans logged more than 3,000 miles in 2009 as he met with groups across the state. He encourages churches to consider honoring the adults who support such ministries within their congregations.

In 2009, he said, 16 churches presented the Cross-and-Flame Award to such leaders.

"The real honor is 10-15 years down the road, when you see those youths who are now young men and women," Grosshans said.


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