In 1985, Dr. Don McClaugherty, chemistry department chair at the University of Texas at Tyler, had gone through Wood Badge, the top training program for Scout leaders. As part of the program’s requirements, McClaugherty had to write a “ticket,” or service project proposal to benefit Scouting. He proposed to gather a group of people to start an organization that would encourage use of Scouting among members of Churches of Christ, and provide recognition for boys, girls and leaders in Scouting.
McClaugherty identified a group of men to help him get the group started. Dr. Lawrence Ray Smith, Dr. Lowell Johnson, Ralph Wallace, James Swafford, John Clardy, Dr. Charlie Marler and Gayle Reams began meeting and working intensively over the next year-and-a-half. They eventually became the Board of Trustees for MCCS. Details began to fall into place, which further proved to the trustees that MCCS was a God-driven organization.
In 1986, these eight men traveled to Irving, Texas, to the National Boy Scout office to request Church of Christ religious emblem awards be available to scouts.
“We wanted to develop a curriculum that fit our biblical understanding, traditions, and needs — a program that was solely biblical and not just patriotic,” said Charlie Marler, one of these eight trailblazers.
It was the vision and perseverance of these men that gave birth to Members of Churches of Christ for Scouting. They developed the curriculum for the religious emblem awards that are the cornerstone of the recognition program administered by MCCS today.
Dr. William J. Teague, president of ACU at the time, agreed to provide MCCS headquarters with mail and telephone support as well as an on-campus location.
Marler, with the help of staff and student workers, began running MCCS out of the Department of Journalism and Mass Communication at ACU, the department of which he was chair at the time.
Smith, provided an MCCS logo, which is four hearts joined together to form a cross between them. The hearts represent service to God and His church, service to one’s own family, service to the nation, and service to scouting.
To address the issue of funding, the Trailblazers each pledged to “give or get” gifts totaling $1,000 each year to purchase printed materials, patches and medal awards for those who completed the curriculum. They also reached out to others who showed an interest in scouting within the Churches of Christ.
These Trailblazers became the original Trustees of MCCS and laid the groundwork for three plus years of work by the eight and others who were added to the group. Their efforts culminated in the 1989 implementation of the Servant Leadership Series, the first entire program written specifically for youth of the Churches of Christ.
Clardy was a retired BSA executive, and his connections were invaluable. The men appointed a treasurer, Bobbie Lee Wolfe, who still serves in this capacity today. Over the next few years, the group worked to develop servant leadership curricula for scouts to be offered through the Religious Recognition Program.
The Bible speaks of “giving honor to whom honor is due.” In 2011 MCCS celebrated 25 years of service to the world of scouting thanks to these, original trustees, the trailblazers who began this ministry.
The vision continues.