History of U.M. ARMY

U.M. ARMY started in 1979 when several Houston area United Methodist churches combined their youth groups to go on a summer mission trip to Athens, TX.  Instead of travelling across the country to serve people in need, they determined there was a real need only a few hours away.  They spent the week in Athens, and provided some needed home repairs to people in that community.

The trip needed a name, and the acronym U.M. ARMY was derived from United Methodist Athens Reach-Out Mission by Youth.  Soon the program grew beyond Athens, and the name was changed to United Methodist Action Reach-Out Mission by Youth.

This first U.M. ARMY was so successful and rewarding that a return trip to Athens was planned for the following summer.  Other churches heard about this mission trip, and wanted to join in.  Soon a second trip to another East Texas town was needed to accommodate all of the participants; and in 1984 a third was added.  By 1994 the number of mission locations had grown to 15, and in 2004 it was 39.

In 2000 the leadership of the original U.M. ARMY organization had a vision of spreading this ministry beyond Texas, and a National organization was formed.  The purpose was to focus energy on growth, and allow the original organization to focus on providing the ministry.  Soon a second chapter was added in Southwest Texas, another in the Northeast U.S., and most recently a chapter in North Texas.

What began in 1979 with a single youth mission trip to Athens, TX, has grown to 4 U.M. ARMY chapters; 3 in Texas covering the state, one in Pennsylvania serving the New England area, and the National office in College Station, TX tasked with growing U.M. ARMY into Louisiana, across the South to Florida, and beyond.  In 2015 the combined number of mission locations from all of these U.M. ARMY’s was 53, and includes all of Texas, Louisiana, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, Vermont, New Hampshire, Maine, and Rhode Island.

In spite of this growth, the focus has remained serving locally, and the mission has stayed the same; to provide Christ-centered, quality youth mission trips that serve people in need, and promote spiritual growth and leadership development in youth.

Camp Stories


U.M. ARMY has much to offer. whether you're a middle school, high school or college student; a parent; or adult looking to volunteer. Begin your journey here.


Find out what makes U.M. ARMY a unique, rewarding and fun summer camp experience for students Grades 8 through 12. See how lives are changed.

Campers' Stories

A decision to attend a U.M. ARMY summer mission camp can be one of the most spiritually and emotionally beneficial experience of a young person's life.

Youth Ministers

U.M ARMY can be a powerful experience for those who participate and an important resource for youth ministry programs to engage young people.

Parent's Perspective

An important element to the success of a U.M. ARMY experience is parental support. Find out why one father's story about how UM ARMY affected his family.

Adult Volunteer

One of the key ingredients to the U.M. ARMY experience is the volunteer support of adult volunteers. Discover the rewarding benefits of lending a hand.

College ARMY

The U.M. ARMY experience doesn't end with high school graduation. Many campers continue or begin their mission experience while in college.

Pastor's Q&A

Rev. Tony Vinson of Clear Lake United Methodist Church in Houston is a long-time advocate of U.M. ARMY and helped start the movement.

Next Steps

Ready to get started on your U.M. ARMY journey. Get more information. Get excited. Get involved...and Join The U.M. ARMY today.

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