The United Methodist Church, and those of Wesleyan Traditions, have been partnering with the Boy Scouts of America for over 100 years. Check out some of our history, and the cool ways we are celebrating at PTC in 2021.
The Early Years
Before the formal start of Boy Scouts of America, Methodists were busy forming Scout Troops within the USA and around the world. They were seen as a key tool for developing character in youth no matter the country. In 1910 Boy Scouts of America was formed. These early Methodist Troops came under the leadership of James E. West, the first Chief Scout of Boy Scouts of America.
On Feb. 12, 1920 Rev. James V. Thompson, the Superintendent of the Young People’s Department of the Methodist Church, sent the formal letter of recognition to Chief Scout James E. West. A formal partnership began including these words: “We welcome your fine spirit and eagerness to place the program of the Boy Scouts of America at the disposal of our leaders and Methodist Boys.”
Many of the early Scout leaders were pastors and missionaries. Methodist started Boy Scout Troops to provide opportunity and growth to all. The archives of the United Methodist Church is marked with this diverse outreach. The first Mexican-American Troop was formed at a Methodist Church to provide opportunity for children of farm workers in California. Methodist Churches sponsored African American Troops. Missionaries used the program to open doors of belonging to new immigrants as well as abroad.
From History to a Future
Over 1 million youth have been support by hundreds of thousands of adult volunteers within the Methodist Church. At the end of 2019, over 10,000 units were chartered to United Methodist Churches, Men’s Ministries, and Sunday Schools. We serve over 300,000 youth and have over 118,000 adults engaged in this vital partnership.
The Boy Scouts of America has opened its doors to all youth. We support the hearts of the adults within the church being turned to the children. Scouting is an effective tool for spending time in organized skill development. It benefits both the volunteer and the youth. The church connects with the community becoming a living witness of service.