The number of youth involved in Scouting packs, troops and crews chartered by United Methodist churches is on the rise.
NASHVILLE––While the number of United Methodists in the U.S. is decreasing, the number of youth involved in units (packs, troops, crews) chartered by United Methodist churches is increasing.
At the end of 2015, there were 324,696 young people involved in Cub Scout packs, Boy Scout troops and Venturing crews. At the end of 2016, that number had increased to 327,405.
“This is our first growth in several years,” says Larry Coppock, director of scouting ministries for the General Commission on United Methodist Men. “We continue to lead all denominations with 201,505 youth in Cub Scout packs and we are second to the Latter Day Saints (LDS) in the number of Boy Scouts with 119,592 Scouts in 4,634 troops. In addition, there are 6,308 young men and women involved in 689 Venturing crews chartered by United Methodist churches.
“It is important to remember that in the UMC scouting participation is optional; in the LDS Church scouting is their youth ministry,” says Coppock.
The number of youth involved in scouting organizations sponsored by religious groups at the end of 2016 totaled 1,477,843, down 6,778 from 2015. The UMC and the LDS churches were the only major religious organizations to experience growth in 2016.
An additional 228,177 youth are involved in packs, troops and crews sponsored by civic organizations, a decrease of 4,113 from the previous year.