When I was in elementary school, one early-September constant was the start of Awana. If you are not familiar with Awana, it is a program for children age 3 through 6th grade (some churches extend it through 12th grade). Kids in the program memorize Bible verses, hear Bible stories and practical Bible lessons, learn how to use their Bibles, play games, and build relationships with their leaders. A child who stays in the program from kindergarten through 6th grade will memorize over 600 verses.
I remember my Awana days vividly. Each Tuesday night we would make the trek to a church in Felton, CA, for the best evening of my week. I loved the nights I got to carry the flag in the opening ceremony. I loved the fun, interactive lessons from Mrs. Tanner or Mr. and Mrs. Brush. I loved the one-on-one time with my small group leader, Mrs. Dangers. I loved the theme nights, the boys-against-girls fundraisers we had for Awana clubs in other countries, the Awana Grand Prix, the Awana Olympics, the awards, and the time with my friends. Most of all, I loved the half hour of high-paced, fiercely competitive Awana games. I remember the smell of the church, the faces of my fellow clubbers, even the sound of my leader's voice. The lessons I learned during my 7 years of Awana have stuck with me through the years. So many times I have been thankful for the deep bank of Scripture in my memory. So many times as a high schooler and young adult, I determined that my kids would one day go through Awana, too.
And now here we are. Snapper is in her 3rd year of Awana, a Spark in the Hiker rank. Pepper is starting his first year of Awana in the new Puggles program for 2-year-olds. And I am the director of Truth & Training, the 3rd-6th grade club. Tonight was our directors' planning meeting, and I am so excited for this club year! I'm anticipating around 20 3rd-6th graders in T&T, and I have a wonderful year planned for them. I use fun incentives to encourage them to stay ahead of the pace necessary to complete their handbooks. I love to get in there and play with them at game time. And this year, Matt is going to be doing the teaching. He's putting a lot of thought, effort, and energy into the lessons, and I know they will be wonderful. I will post photos and updates in a few weeks, once our year gets rolling. Registration is a week from tonight. Our first club night is on my birthday, September 3rd. What a fun way to celebrate, spending time with the coolest bunch of kids in the world!