Last school year, my boys participated in Awanas. I knew relatively nothing about this when we got started, but my great friend Carla was heading it up, and it sounded like something our family would value. We decided to go for it.
What is Awanas? Here it is, explained, from their website.
Awana helps churches and parents work together to develop spiritually strong children and youth who faithfully follow Jesus Christ. Our programs offer a proven approach for evangelizing and discipling kids in the church and community.
As a ministry leader for over 60 years, Awana is making an impact. A national survey found Awana to be as important to our alumni's spiritual foundation as all other church activities combined. Among alumni who participated in our programs for at least six years, 92.7 percent still attend church at least weekly as adults!
Each week, more than two million kids ages 2 to 18 participate in Awana. This includes more than 1.1 million in 102 countries outside of the U.S., the most children that Awana has ever reached internationally.
JB and I have really made it a point to prioritize and limit activities outside of the home. Our boys have not participated in any sports, at least yet, and we really contemplate the consequences of giving away an evening outside the home. We decided that Awanas would be the ONE activity we would do. Tuesday evenings were not easy. It meant eating dinner early and getting the kids in bed late. But we thought that one night a week was worth it.
My boys LOVED Cubbies. They aren't in school so having some time with their friends coupled with snack time and game time and store night (where they can use their "Awanas Bucks" to buy cool stuff) was a huge highlight of their week. They couldn't wait to start the program again this year.
As a way to keep myself organized and limit clutter (I am a person who is very organized and craves this organization), I have attempted to scan into my computer any of my kids coloring sheets and other "only emotional" documents. Right now I am quite a bit behind due to the difficult pregnancy year I had. But I hope to soon catch up. This scanning means I can throw items away without guilt! Here is a scanned copy of the front of their Awana book from last year (which I scanned before throwing their books in the trash.)
What I will always remember about these books was that the boys wouldn't take a picture by themselves. They insisted on taking a picture together so the teacher had to cut the photo and split it between both of their books.
Technically, Cubbies is for kids younger than kindergarten. The next grade level -- Sparks -- is for grades K-2. We debated, as summer ended and a new Awanas year got set to begin, where to put the boys. I talked it over with my buddy Carla (now tanning it up in Hawaii) and the new Awanas leader, Karen. We knew we wanted to keep the boys together. But the boys have not started kindergarten. (Isaac is old enough for kindergarten, but we are holding him back a year since he is a May birthday.)
We decided to put the boys in the K-2 class. The first night, I knew we had made the right decision. The Cubbies looked so small at ages 3-5. And while Sidge is young, he is H-U-G-E. (He's bigger than most six-year-olds). He is also very excited about learning, pays good attention, asks tons of questions, and answers them as well.
So Awanas is in full swing. My boys are in Sparks. They'll have red vests to put their patches on and will be the youngest in their class. It is my hope that wherever we go next, they will have the opportunity to continue participating in this great program.