We registered eleven members in 2011. Eleven members. We average about a dozen or so, year in and year out. That's a very small number of loyalists. And, yeah, there are a few Life Members, too, who don't pay dues, but still. We are the few, the happy few, the band of brothers (and sisters). Here's what those eleven people (and their friends) accomplished in 2011.
1) We sent $350 to NAUMS for dues and recharter fees (there are two charters in that calendar year, BTW). This helps NAUMS do what they do on the general church level of The UMC.
2) We spent $114.40 on postage for our newsletter, The Pathfinder. Printing was donated. Why do eleven people need a newsletter? Well, they probably don't, but we send out about 120 copies of each newsletter. You see, we're sending to all the Conference leadership, to other UM Scouters we work with in Indiana who aren't NAUMS members, to friends and colleagues at the general church level and in other Conferences who want to keep up with what we're doing. Our newsletter is an outreach and connectional tool.
3) We forwarded $352.75 to NAUMS for its Bible Project, which provides backpacker-sized New Testaments at Philmont Scout Ranch and Northern Tier Canoe Base (and this year, Florida Sea Base and various events connected with the Girl Scouts' 100th Anniversary). This is from special offerings taken up by congregations and at events which we host.
4) We awarded three scholarships worth $750.00 from the Larry Richert Memorial High Adventure Fund. We established this fund years ago to help kids in our UM Scouting family attend things like Jamborees, Philmont, and other top-tier high adventure and leadership training events. The three youth we awarded these scholarships to are all going on this year's UM Trek to Philmont under my direction.
5) We paid for last year's Annual Conference breakfast at Ball State. Venue rental and food cost $125.00. Best meal at Annual Conference, every year, hands down, and usually the one the attendees enjoy the most. We charged nothing for the meal (there is no free lunch, but there IS a free breakfast, I tell 'em), and the offering went for one of our causes (we usually alternate between the Bible Project and the Richert Fund). The Annual Conference breakfast used to be paid for by the Conference Committee on CYSA/Scouting Ministry, but all funding for that committee was stripped from the budget when we merged Annual Conferences three or four years ago. What funds the Conference Committee has had to operate have been those we have placed at the Conference Coordinator's disposal. His/their success is our success, and the work will die in this Conference when we do, and not before.
All that comes to almost seventeen hundred dollars, and hardly a dime spent on ourselves. True, some of those monies we spent last year had accumulated from previous years, but still. I'd say just eleven people and those willing to work with them and help them accomplished more for the kingdom of God than a lot of big, important committees that spent all year doing a whole big bunch of Not Much.
Meanwhile, we're gearing up this year to help our Conference Coordinator of CYSA/Scouting Ministry fulfill a promise to take a team of UM Scouts and Scouters to the Democratic Republic of the Congo next year. We're going to put on a District Church Scout Camp in Tenke for about 200 Congolese Scouts. At the same time, we'll be training African leaders in camp administration and program so that they can replicate the program after we leave -- and train the leaders of other Districts in their Conference to do the same.
It's a big job, but we've done jobs just as big before. God doesn't look at numbers, but at the desire to serve him. But imagine what we could do if we had a couple dozen people in our NAUMS chapter! Imagine what other UM Scouters could do if they formed their own NAUMS chapters where they live and serve.