alpharaposa: (jrwoodchuck)
Next weekend is the United Methodist Indiana Conference's annual meeting. That also means that it's time for the annual Scouting Ministries breakfast! It will be held at Shapiro's in downtown Indianapolis at 7 am. Show up, eat good food, and catch up on the news.

Our local chapter of NAUMS, the Pathfinder chapter (which covers all of Indiana), will be having its annual meeting. We're going to be taking a big step this year and incorporating as our own non-profit. That means all contributions will be tax deductible, with forms filed to prove it. Otherwise, we'll continue doing what we've been doing.

What have we been doing? Why do we have a NAUMS chapter at all?

There are two structures in our conference to serve United Methodists that want to do scouting ministry. There's the conference coordinator and the scouting ministries specialists, who are organized within the structure of the conference itself. And there's the Pathfinder chapter, which stands outside of the conference but works cooperatively with it.

In that case, why have both? The conference coordinator can coordinate activities, right? Well, that's true, but who does he coordinate? Without the volunteers, there is no program because there's nobody to do the work or even profit by it. The biggest idea won't get off the ground if nobody hears about it.

That's the Pathfinder chapter's role. The conference coordinator is like the director of a high school marching band. He has the connections in the school structure and can contact people and schedule events (as well as lead the band). Our NAUMS chapter is like all the tireless parents who raise funds, drive teens to shows, and provide the extra adults needed to make long trips happen.

It might theoretically be possible to have a marching band program without the support of all those parents. It might be possible to have a scouting ministry without an organization to connect all the scouting volunteers, too. But there's no doubt that we're all enabled and enriched by knowing each other and being able to call upon each other. When the Bat signal (Scout signal?) goes out, it's good to know that there are people watching and ready to leap into action.

To get down to what exactly we're doing right now in the Pathfinder chapter, our ongoing projects include providing small travel Bibles for youth at the high adventure BSA bases (Philmont and Sea Base), and the Larry Richert Memorial fund, a scholarship program to help youth go on the big trips by providing a portion of the cost. We publish our newsletter regularly, to stay in touch with our members and the different scouting organizations in our conference (BSA, GSUSA, Campfire, American Heritage Girls, 4-H, et al).

You can stay up to date on various events on the facebook page- https://www.facebook.com/NAUMS1
alpharaposa: An Adventuring Bear (bear)
The first few questions of the interview that we actually got through were all customer service/teamwork/deadline questions. "When did you work towards a deadline? When did you work on a team, and how would you improve on the experience?"

Some of them, I could answer because of job experience. Others, because of the volunteer activities with the BSA. Teamwork? I've both participated in and led team-building exercises for crews and patrols.

And I get thinking about things like that. Scouting has given me opportunities that would otherwise have never come my way. I would have never learned to ride horses if not for the GSUSA and the BSA. I would have never been a reporter. I wouldn't have stood on nearly as many mountains, and probably wouldn't have been to Great Britain and learned to make pasties.

I also wouldn't know what to do in an emergency. I wouldn't have had nearly so much experience in organizing and leading things. I wouldn't know many useful little knots and lashings that work when even duct tape fails.

Scouting makes a lot of things available and possible to youth (and adults, sometimes!) that would otherwise be too expensive or too difficult to manage. It also teaches an amazing number of lessons, big and small, that turn out to be useful down the road.
alpharaposa: (kinkyturtle)
The new standards for the Bishop's Award of Excellence have come out. I'm not terribly impressed.

Church and Scouting standards )

So why grouse? There's minimums, right? Well, that's the problem. This is an award for excellence, but they lowered the minimums. And in so doing, they lowered the value of the award. Instead of challenging leaders and youth to really stretch and work together to prove themselves, it awards people for doing, well, what I'd expect any unit with decent church leadership to do.

And those people who do meet those new standards, how much is it worth to say, "We're doing what we're supposed to!" Does that feel special, to be hitting par? Doesn't it feel better to get that hole-in-one, or at least a few strokes better than what's expected?

And what about the units that actually went the extra mile and earned the award before? It's not like it was an impossible task. There were units that did it. Some of them did it year after year after year. How do their awards measure up to the ones that will be awarded now?

Anyway, that's my grouse. PRAY has lowered the standards on the God and Country awards, too, which makes this even easier than it used to even if it still had the old standards.

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alpharaposa

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