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Below are 10 journal entries, after skipping by the 20 most recent ones recorded in National Association of United Methodist Scouters' LiveJournal:

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Tuesday, July 27th, 2010
2:29 pm
The Bear Went Over the Mountain, Part II
It’s a dry heat

We arrived at Philmont early on the morning of July 8. There was much to do. We had brought our own gear, thinking that that would make the check-in process go faster. It did, but the first day at Philmont always leaves one a little breathless. Besides the rushing around, the climate and altitude also leave one a little breathless. When we left Indiana, the temperature and the humidity were both in the 90s; while it was hot in New Mexico (80 degrees or so), the humidity was only 2-5%. “Drink more water” is the first answer to every complaint. Both Scott and Melodie also had a bit of trouble adjusting to the altitude. Tent City (Base Camp) is at 6,696’ above sea level; most of Indiana is about 600’.

We met our Ranger, Allison, who took charge of us. The Philmont Rangers check gear and preparedness and complete the training of every Philmont Crew. In addition to seeing us through the rigors of check-in, our Ranger would stay the first two nights on the trail with us before turning us loose in the backcountry. Previous to this experience, I had been the ultimate authority on all things backpacking for our crew; now, I took a backseat and let Allison establish her bona fides and demonstrate her expertise.

Philmont makes no effort to match the sex of Ranger with the sex of crew members, but I was pleased that we had drawn a female Ranger. She would make a good role model for Makayla as Crew Leader, I thought, and in this I was not disappointed.

Makayla appointed Connor to be our Chaplain’s Aide, an important position at Philmont, especially for a church trek. He would lead us in daily devotions using the Eagles Flying High booklet given to everyone at Philmont. Ben was appointed our Wilderness Guia, a new crew position. He would lead us in regular times of reflection on the principles of Leave No Trace camping.

We went through our medical re-checks, a matter of some concern for both Scott and me, since we had been dieting in order to make the required weight. The good news was that Scott made weight by three pounds, and myself by five. Now, we could eat anything we wanted!

We attended chapel services together. There are several chapels at Philmont, and services are held every night for those in Base Camp. Every day, 450 people are arriving and 450 other people are preparing to depart, and the spiritual needs of those 900 people must be met. Chapel was well done, if a little talky. We attended the Opening Campfire, and then it was time for bed.

Meeting our Ranger Meeting our Ranger
Allison takes us in hand
Dinner Bell Dinner Bell
The Rangers always start off dinner with The Ranger Song ("I! Wanna Go Back! To PHILMONT!")
Chapel Chapel
Chaplains of various faith groups lead nightly services in Base Camp

2:28 pm
The Bear Went Over the Mountain, Part I
being an account of the

United Methodist Philmont Trek 2010

Over a year ago, the National Association of United Methodist Scouters approached Philmont Scout Ranch about doing a United Methodist Trek. The idea was warmly received. We took counsel with our Catholic Scouter friends, who have done their St. George Trek at Philmont for many years.

In our case, we took Jedediah Smith as our patron and exemplar. Smith was the original Mountain Man. He was a towering figure in the opening of the West, and his life and deeds were so big as to make Smith himself disappear into the iconic Mountain Man of fiction and folklore, leaving his lesser associates (such as Jim Bridger) better known than he. Smith was also a Methodist, whose character was formed in the Methodist Societies of his youth, and who in his letters to his family spoke of his spiritual life and his desire to be upheld by the prayers of those back home. So our UM trekkers would be “The Children of Jedediah Smith.”

We launched a national call for trek participants. We had some nibbles from here and there, but nobody signed up by the deadline we set. Perhaps the Jamboree was absorbing all the attention; perhaps the price tag (organizing a Philmont trek is expensive) was too steep in these difficult times; then, too, the ability of NAUMS to reach its intended audience may be less than we hoped. The NAUMS Board would have to deal with these questions; in the meantime, we had a reservation for Philmont and no trekkers.

As Trek Advisor, I was hoping to find space for one or two members of our church’s new Venturing Crew that was just then a-borning. In the end, I turned to them and asked them if they would like to pioneer this new program, and they all said Yes. And so Crew 119, chartered to Ellettsville First United Methodist Church, set out to prepare themselves for a Philmont Trek under the auspices of NAUMS.

We had eight crew members, five youth and three adults. Makayla, the only girl going, was our Crew Leader. The four boys were Connor, Kaleb, Ben, and Jordan. The three adults were Scott (Connor’s father), Melodie (Makayla’s mother), and myself, Dr. Arthur Collins, President of NAUMS as well as pastor of EFUMC. All the crew members but myself were going on their first Philmont trek (this would be my fourth).

Getting there is half the fun

We left Ellettsville, Indiana, the morning of Monday, July 5, 2010, and headed west toward St. Louis. We intended to drive to Philmont and back, camping along the way and seeing the sights. Our first stop was the Gateway Arch and the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial beneath it. Afterward, we camped at Babler State Park just west of the city.

The Venturers had planned an excellent menu for the trip out and back. Our first night in camp, we had watermelon for dessert. I can’t remember when I have enjoyed a melon as much as that one. It was sweet, clear essence of refreshment!

The next morning, we were up early and heading down the road, right into the middle of St. Louis morning rush hour. Eek! Still, we got through it and made our way west down I-70 toward Kansas City. On the Kansas side of KC, there is a giant Cabela’s – the mother ship of the outdoorsman’s chain. We stopped to gawk and shop for last minute necessities. We ended the day at Wilson Lake State Park in the middle of Kansas.

The next morning, the wake-up call I sang to the trekkers was from the Wizard of Oz: “Come out, come out, wherever you are, and meet the lady who fell from a star. She fell very fast, she fell very far, and Kansas is the name of the star.” Bleary-eyed Venturers emerged from their tents and began the processes of cooking breakfast, personal grooming, and breaking camp.

It was sprinkling rain as we drove down to Fort Larned, the old Buffalo Soldier fort along the Pawnee Fork in Central Kansas. Fort Larned was built to protect the Santa Fe Trail, which we would be following all the way to Philmont. After touring the fort, we set out for points west. We passed through the southeast corner of Colorado, and entered New Mexico by Raton Pass in a driving rain.

When we finally arrived at Cimarron Canyon State Park outside of Philmont, the boys were positively giddy. None of them had ever been to the mountains before. Their giddiness and excitement bordered on seeming drunkenness, and I was reminded of the impression upon the crowd made by the disciples on the Day of Pentecost. Faith had turned to Sight, and their dreams were becoming real.

Other imagined possibilities were becoming real as well. We awoke in Cimarron Canyon to find that a bear had upended the supposedly bear-proof garbage container just two campsites down from us. Bears would never be far from our thoughts throughout our trek.

Each night, as we did our evening devotions, I shared stories and thoughts from the life of Jedediah Smith with the crew.

Go West, Young Lady Go West, Young Lady
Makayla at the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial, St. Louis
Admiring the View Admiring the View
Melodie and Venturers atop the Gateway Arch
The Mother Ship The Mother Ship
Cabela's mega-store in Kansas City, KS
She waded in the water and she got her toesies wet She waded in the water and she got her toesies wet
Wilson Lake State Park, KS
Gun Crew Gun Crew
Venturers at Fort Larned, KS
Almost There! Almost There!
Setting up camp in Cimarron Canyon State Park, NM

Saturday, March 6th, 2010
1:11 am
Centennial New Testament for distribution in 2010
NAUMS is ordering 7,000 copies of a special Centennial New Testament, which is being produced in cooperation with the Office of CYSA/Scouting. 6,200 of those are bound for Philmont Scout Ranch this year, to be distributed in Protestant chapel services. Another 700 are bound for Northern Tier Canoe Base, for our second year of minimal distribution to paddlers in the border country. (100 are reserved for recognition items through the NAUMS Board.)

Another 6,000 copies of this Centennial New Testament have been ordered by the Office of CYSA/Scouting. 5,700 will be distributed at the United Methodist service at the National Scout Jamboree at Fort A.P. Hill. (300 are reserved for promotional and recognition purposes.)

The West Virginia Annual Conference scouting ministry has ordered 1,000 copies for distribution at this year's Circuit Rider, as they call their annual camporee/retreat for UM scout units.

The entire cost of this multi-pronged project is over $30,000. NAUMS, the United Methodist Men's Foundation, the Jamboree Committee of the Office of CYSA Scouting, and the West Virginia Scouting Ministry Committee have all worked very hard to raise the funds necessary to put the Word of God in the hands of all these youth who will find themselves at one of Scouting's premier experiences in this special Centennial year.
Friday, October 27th, 2006
11:00 pm
Thinking about NAUMS's strengths
Things NAUMS does better than other groups we work with
Encampments, Retreats, etc. Gathering the tribe. We can offer more things, cheaper and closer to the average participant, than an official body. In some Conferences, UMM has a history of doing this, and I'm not knocking that. It's just that those are the rare Conferences where UMM is itself a mass organization instead of a withering skeleton.

Mission trips, projects, etc. We have the people. We might need some help with publicity, but we can find the right people to assist in the right cause at the right time, while Committees get all bound up with stuff that's got to be done (reports, budgets, agency relationships). Furthermore, while the offical Committee has to relate equally to all agencies, we are free to let our members determine their own priorities. That might mean that Boy Scouts gets over-serviced, but if that's where the members are, then let them support stuff they care about.

Communication. OCYSAS or a Conference Committee probably doesn't have the time or resources to listen to all the voices that want to talk about this. Maintaining website, Yahoo group, and LJ community are important things we can do better than other groups. Doing the same at the local level is something chapters can do. Along with this, we ought to be able to put out a better newsletter than GCUMM; we could give it to them to send to their constituencies, and they'd be better serviced with less cost to GCUMM, so we'd all win.

Things OCYSAS or GCUMM or somebody else does better than us
Administering awards. Hey, they've got the paid staff and all that. If our volunteer Directors had to handle applications for scores of awards, we would do a very bad job of it.

Bulldogging the Connection. Traveling around, promoting CYSA/SM, writing Guidelines, etc. is easier for people who have the official entre (and the travel budget).

Maintaining agency relationships. I understand why we would want Directors connected to all our major agency partners; I can't understand why they would want to be part of us.

Things that can be done as well one way as another or that we need to cooperate closely on
Training. I think training needs to be standardized (and it is). That said, either the Office or NAUMS could sponsor training; the same pool of people is on hand to deploy to do it.

Chaplaincy support. I'd like to see a NAUMS Chapter just for clergy -- a Corps of Chaplains. A Chapter newsletter devoted to clergy issues would be good. And then, when the OCYSAS needs to recruit chaplains for Philmont or Jamboree, we've got a mailing list and a place to start.

Producing resources. GCUMM has the greater ability to publish, but their personnel would probably have to farm out the writing to volunteers in the field. A creative mix should be possible here.
Friday, October 20th, 2006
7:42 am
British Methodists link to us
Now, here's an item for you . . . the website of AMSAG, the UK equivalent of NAUMS. And they even link to our website! Looks like they've got some cool things goin' on.


x-posted to methodism
Thursday, October 19th, 2006
10:35 pm
Welcome, NAUMS Board
Welcome to naums! Kick your shoes off and say what's on your mind!
Thursday, April 6th, 2006
4:10 pm
The United Methodist Church and CYSA/Scouting
Nationwide, The United Methodist Church is the largest user of the programs we call Civic Youth-Serving Agencies/Scouting. And CYSA/Scouting is probably, after Sunday School, the largest form of ministry The UMC pursues with children and youth. Somewhere near [two-thirds of a million] kids are members of BSA, GSUSA, 4-H, and Camp Fire groups affiliated with The UMC. Many more UM children and youth are members of CYSA groups affiliated with other community organizations. Yet more participate in the God and Country program in The UMC. Scouting -- in both Boy Scouting and Girl Scouts/Girl Guides forms -- is also an international movement. Our churches in the UM Central Conferences and our sister Methodist Churches around the world also use these programs to disciple their children and youth for Jesus Christ.

Your local church can reach the children and youth of your community -- and their families -- with the love of God and the challenge of following Christ through CYSA/Scouting Ministries. Along the way, you will develop important leadership skills in both the youth and the adults who work with them. You will make the Church of Jesus Christ stronger, and your community better. And you will have fun.

A wise man once said, "Scouting can be spelled in three letters: F - U - N." That's why kids join. To have fun. This is a good thing. Along the way, they learn many things, try out new roles, are shaped by their experiences. They learn to care about the earth, and each other, and their community. For many of them, the trail leads them to Christ. About one in eight boys who enter BSA units have their first encounter with the Church through that experience; similar experiences are to be expected of children in other CYSA programs, especially when the Church operates them. Many adults look back at their experiences in these programs and credit them with making them the adults -- the leaders -- the Christians -- that they are today. Many others say they first had an inkling of their life's work through these programs. And many, many speak of the men and women who modeled integrity, faith, and love for them. Kids need heroes, and they find them here. They find you.

Your local United Methodist congregation has a tremendous opportunity to glorify God and serve the youth of your community by getting involved in the programs of the Boy Scouts of America, the Girl Scouts of the USA, 4-H, and Camp Fire USA. Some may not see the opportunity; others wonder what the Church has to do with it. But the fields are white unto harvest; pray God may send laborers out to reap it.
Earth's crammed with heaven,
And every common bush afire with God;
But only he who sees, takes off his shoes,
The rest sit round it and pluck blackberries,
and daub their natural faces unaware
More and more from the first similitude.

-- Elizabeth Barrett Browning

I wrote this in 1997 for publication by the South Indiana Conference Committee on CYSA/Scouting Ministries. It has been slightly edited for re-publication. Posted to aefenglommung, naums, and methodism.
Friday, November 25th, 2005
2:36 pm
Ideas for increasing membership
Reaching more people -- ideas.

I'd like to see NAUMS advertise itself to churches as a programming tool. We already do that, though I'm thinking a really good publication is what we need to show it off with.

And we need to encourage congregations to join NAUMS, either directly as members themselves or by buying memberships for their Coordinators and Leaders. Our goal should be at least 1 NAUMS membership per UM congregation sponsoring a CYSA group.

Whaddya think?
Sunday, September 25th, 2005
9:26 pm
Cool patch set
PRAY is making available a four-patch set (one per year) for promoting the God and Country series with your unit or church. Since we do God and Country (in some form) every year at our church, I'm thinking this'll be a great promo -- like maybe for Scout Sunday?

Check it out at http://www.praypub.org
Friday, September 23rd, 2005
3:04 pm
Welcome to the LJ for the National Association of United Methodist Scouters. Let's gather the tribe and find out what's going on in your neck of the woods/corner of the vineyard!
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