There are few opportunities to tell about Richard Allen and the birth of African Methodism to a largely non-minority group of youth. However, Clarence Crayton, the Boy Scout Connectional Director of the African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Church and five members of the Association of African Methodist Episcopal Scouters (AAMES), namely Jesse Trigg and Robert McRath (5th District), Anthony Franklin (4th District), and Maurice Hamilton and Jordan Hamilton (2nd District) shared this rich history at the 2017 Boy Scouts of America (BSA) Jamboree July 188-28 at the Summit Bechtel Reserve located in West Virginia. Approximately 8,000 Adult Scouters from across the United States and over 20 international locations started gathering to prepare for the estimated 22,000 Scouts, plus day visitors, who would participate in the BSA 2017 Jamboree.
The purpose of the Jamboree is to provide Scouts the opportunity to not only earn badges that they would ordinarily not be able to earn in their local scout settings (e.g., rock climbing, whitewater rafting, and zip lining) but to also fellowship and trade patches with other Scouts from across the United States and 20 international locations and share about their scouting adventures. Since 1997, this was the sixth BSA Jamboree where there was an AAMES information booth included in the “Duty to God and Country Tent,” the only African American BSA partner to do so. At this Jamboree, however, we were joined by the Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity; and prayerfully, others will join us in future Jamborees.
In the tent, there were 30 of BSA’s Faith and Civic Relationship partners. Other denominations and faiths represented included Catholic, Baptist, Jewish, Muslim, Sikh, Mormon, and Episcopal. Representatives from each shared their faith traditions with over 30,000 Boy Scouts and Adult Scouters. In total, there were more than 100 booths at the Jamboree. Faith is important to the Scouts. When given a chance to declare their personal faith, almost 22,000 Scouts declared their faith, including our AME Scouts, evidencing that God and Duty to God are fundamental to the Scouts.
Using the 10’ x 10’ space of the AAMES booth, representatives shared with the thousands of visiting Scouts. They observed our AME banners which showed a map of the 20 Episcopal Districts of the AME Church as well as the AME logo of the cross and anvil. Representatives also shared the story of African Methodism. There were nonstop crowds for the 10 days of the Jamboree. Scouts were encouraged to remember facts about our founding by receiving a tri-fold brochure about African Methodism which included a crossword puzzle to test their knowledge. The Scouts also received an AAMES glow-in-the-dark wrist band and a wooden token depicting the AAMES logo. They were encouraged to find out about other religions and receive tokens to add to their collections.
To learn how to start a Scout Unit, please contact Clarence Crayton at email@example.com for Boy Scouts or Vivianne Frye-Perry at firstname.lastname@example.org for Girl Scouts. Also, visit us on Facebook at AAMES Scouting Connection.