The third weekend in January found thirteen of us sitting in a Zoom meeting discussing the finer points of the Adventurer Program. With COVID looming, our previously scheduled in-person meeting which we had all been excitedly waiting for was moved to an online format. Despite this last minute change to our leadership weekend, we attempted to make lemons into lemonade.
NNEC Adventurer Leadership staff was excited to be able to offer the Adventurer Basic Staff Training to our Adventurer Directors from across New England. This 8 hour course covers everything from the purpose and history of Adventurers, course curriculum, best teaching methods based on age, as well as, how to encourage church involvement in the Adventurer program. The content was new to many of our directors and a refresher course for others.
It was exciting to see the directors come together from across the conference to discuss different strategies that worked and to share tips and ideas of how to best introduce Jesus to the youngest members of our church. It was during this time of discussion that an underlying theme started to emerge. How do we connect with our Adventurer kids in the midst of a nationwide pandemic as numbers are increasing? Is it safe to hold in person club meetings? How can we ensure that our adventurers are able to attend enough classes to be invested into the next class level without putting their health and safety at risk? The concern for the children was written across every director’s face.
Slowly, the conversation shifted. If we could be on Zoom for a conference event, was it possible to teach a bunch of 4–9-year-old children on Zoom for a Conference wide meeting? Would we be able to keep their attention? Would parents want their kids sitting in front of another screen when they already must spend so much time on the computer? After much discussion, we made the decision to give it a try. Hey, there is a first time for everything, and necessity is the mother of invention.
With the Olympic Opening Ceremonies only a couple weeks away, the NNEC Adventurer directors agreed that it was only fitting to host an Olympic Games Adventurer meeting. With a mere two weeks’ notice directors from around the conference stepped up and planned out amazing activities to introduce adventurers to the history and excitement of the Olympic Games.
The meeting, held Saturday, February 5, 2022 was a great success. All classes met together to learn about the history of the Olympic games. With a little help from Katie the puppet and her friend Jack, the adventurers learned why it was more important to compete in God’s race than to win a medal that will tarnish and fade. Little Lambs completed the healthy me award, learning about different foods that would help their bodies grow strong like athletes. Our Eager Beavers completed their my body award, where they explored how their bodies were wonderfully made and how they can use their bodies for Jesus. Our Busy Bees completed the Health Specialist award, which explored more ways in which we can care for our bodies, such as eating healthy foods and practicing good hygiene. They were blessed by several guest speakers which included a doctor and a dentist to help them understand why it is important to care for Jesus’ temple. Our Sunbeams were able to get a bit of energy out while completing their fitness fun award. They learned about the acronym NEWSTART and how all the components together contribute to their fitness while they filled out an Olympic time capsule that also chronicled how many exercises they could complete in a minutes time so they can open it at the next Olympics and see how things have changed. Last, but certainly not least, our Builders and Helping Hands joined together to work on their Olympics and Country fun award. Diving even deeper into learning about the Olympics and what they stood for. They were asked to choose a country, not their own, to study and learn about many aspects that make it unique from other countries. They were given a medal sheet to take home and keep track of how their country does while competing in the Olympics. Many of the students were excited to choose countries that held personal connections to their families.
We were fortunate to have our NNEC Youth director give our worship talk, which included a virtual snowmobile ride- a highlight to many of our children. Their eyes grew large with excitement as he drove over hills and through snow clouds to deliver our worship talk. Our Olympic games started with a torch relay- which took some technical finesse (and at times chaos) to complete over zoom. Each child made their own Olympic torch from tissue paper and paper plates and proudly escorted it to the kitchen sink and back to virtually hand it off to the next adventurer waiting for their turn. From there, our games included cross country skiing on cardboard skis and careening down this year’s official bobsled course in laundry baskets- But don’t worry, many of the children made sure to wear their helmets- because as always, safety first.
What a blessing it was to witness the joy on all the children’s faces as our adventurer directors energetically taught our Adventurers about how even the Olympics can show them how special they are and how much Jesus loves them. We hope to see their faces again soon! Our prayer is that we will see the COVID numbers go down enough to feel like we can consistently meet in person, but if not, the lemonade tastes pretty good, too.
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