INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – Scouting ministry specialists help churches understand that Boy Scouts and other youth-serving agencies can be important ways to reach young people.

Scouting ministry specialist Dan Gates, 73, has been active in scouting since age 13.

It’s hard to imagine a Scout leader who has received more training than Gates.

Dan Gates, 73, one of seven scouting ministry specialists in Indiana, understands this better than most; he became a Methodist because his Scout troop met in a Methodist Church.

In 1938, at age 13, Gates joined Boy Scout Troop 59, chartered by the West Michigan Street Methodist Church in Indianapolis. “As I progressed through the ranks and positions of scouting, I became a Methodist,” said Gates. “I have been one ever since.”

In spite of an enlarged-heart condition as a youngster, Gates passed the board of review for the Eagle Award and became assistant scoutmaster of Troop 59 in 1943. He was awarded the rank of Eagle in absentia in 1944, because he was on active duty with the U.S. Army.

In 1946, he was named Skipper of Sea Scout Ship 59 and participated in a Chesapeake Bay Cruise. Since that time he has held just about every position there is in scouting. He has served as a cubmaster, scoutmaster, district commissioner, adviser to Explorer Post 599, and president of Belzer Scout Band Boosters.

Following a 2009 week-long training experience at Philmont Scout Ranch, Gates was named charter organization representative for Troop and Pack 100, sponsored by the Lawrence United Methodist Church in Indianapolis.

Value of scouting

“My scouting experiences have helped me through many challenges and opportunities during every phase of my life – so far,” said Gates. “The path to Eagle was also a very positive influence in the choices that I have been making for these many years.”

Gates is convinced of the need for young people to be involved in scouting. “Our challenge today is to provide ample opportunities, with trained adult leadership, to fulfill their needs,” he said. “As we can help them to experience their development into good men – as well as good citizens – we will meet some of our responsibility to them.”

Gates is presently in the process of helping form a Venture Crew.

Scout leader

It’s hard to imagine a Scout leader who has received more training than Gates. He has received commissioner training (1966), Scout philosophy training (1967), den chief training, (1968), regional training (1969), adult leader training (1969), Wood Badge training (1969), Cub leader training (1971), Bear Claw training (1975); United Methodist Scouter’s Workshop at Philmont Scout Ranch (2009), and scouting ministry specialist training (2009). He has received several awards.

New Scout Sunday patch available through NAUMS

The National Association of United Methodist Scouting has approved a patch design for Scouting Ministry Sunday, Feb. 12, 2012. The profits from the sale of this patch will go to the NAUMS Bible Fund, which provides backpacker-sized New Testaments at Philmont Scout Ranch and Northern Tier Canoe Base.

The purchase price of each patch funds the distribution of one New Testament to a Scout trekker or paddler. The patch is ready for pre-order now, with delivery expected shortly after the first of the new year.

Cost is $3 per patch (50 or more cost is $2.50). Send name, mailing address including ZIP Code and e-mail address with number of patches and check payable to NAUMS to NAUMS c/o Art Collins, P.O. Box 548, Ellettsville, IN 47429.

Gates serves Lawrence UMC as a part-time moderator of a men’s Bible study group and on the Memorials Committee. He also has served as the Sunday school superintendent, a member of the Education Committee, the Staff/Parish Relations Committee and the Nominating Committee.

Scouting specialists

Other volunteers certified as scouting ministry specialists in Indiana include:

Volunteers interested in becoming a scouting ministry specialist, please contact Larry Coppock, top staff executive of the scouting ministry office of the General Commission on United Methodist Men ( or call 615-620-7261.