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#1 classicHSmom

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Posted 24 October 2008 - 12:06 AM

Do any of you Christian families out there take your dc to an Awanas that isn't at your home church? Do you worry about leaving them with strangers in a strange building by themselves at night? My dc are never really out of my sight except if they are with dh or family, so this does worry me. I'm sure that I'm overly paranoid, but I feel that you just can't be too careful these days.

Our church doesn't offer the program, but there are many churches within a few miles that do. I have friends who take their dc to a church 20 minutes away, but I really don't want to drive that far. Also, dh works nights and I would have to keep myself and a 2 yr old occupied while the big kids are there. I wouldn't have the time to come back home nor would I want to waste the gas. Plus, it doesn't get over until 8:30, I think. We wouldn't be home until 9:00.

Would you worry about leaving your kids? Or should I just attend the program 20 minutes away and settle with late bedtimes? Or is Awanas even worth it?

#2 LilyK

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Posted 24 October 2008 - 12:20 AM

My dd has been in Awana's for four years with a church which is not our home. I stuck around the first few weeks. They were accomodating about that. I felt comfortable after that, but I have to admit, I have never been very afraid to leave my kids, especially in a structured, multi-adult setting. If you are worried about abuse, I totally understand. Maybe you could volunteer to be a leader. I know my daughter's Awana's club is constantly in need of leaders. Good luck. It is a fantastic organization. It is the highlight of DD's week.

#3 Jennefer@SSA

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Posted 24 October 2008 - 12:21 AM

Or is Awanas even worth it?


Yes!

Our church does not have the AWANA program either but a church around the corner does. We are in our 4th year at this church. It's become our "second church home." This church is very program driven with a great VBS, AWANA and lots of carnivals for the kids.

When we first started I stayed with my ds for several weeks. I wanted to get to know the workers to be certain I trusted them. I am very spoiled b/c security is a *huge* issue at our home church and this church is much smaller and more laid back in that respect. It took me awhile to become comfortable with leaving him - especially when he was younger.

AWANA has been a huge blessing for us. I love how it allows parents to partner in discipling kids. It's just a part of our spiritual training for them but it's an invaluable resource in our minds. It's a great fit for us and worth it for the sacrifices we make to make it happen each week. But that's just our experience. We allow our dc to sleep in a little on Thursday mornings because it's a late night for us as well and that doesn't bother me at all.

I think you will have to try it to decide for you if it works for your family and your dc. I think a lot of it will depend on personality - yours and your dc. You have to really want it for it to be successful...otherwise it becomes glorified babysitting. It takes a lot of work during the week to be sure each person knows their verses. We go over our verses every morning at breakfast.

If Scripture memory is not a big thing in your family (and I am not saying it is or it should be - it's just that some Christian families value that more than others) then AWANA will probably not be worth it for you. If Scripture memory is a high priority then it's a blessing! My ds can quote more Bible than I can...and really understands it.

Hope that helps!

Edited by Jennefer@SSA, 24 October 2008 - 12:24 AM.


#4 ChemMommy

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Posted 24 October 2008 - 12:29 AM

The first few weeks, I hung out in the halls or inside the classrooms. I was warmly welcomed to observe or sit in. If I hadn't been, we would have bolted.

For awhile, I attended their mid-week Bible study, too. They have a great nursery so that was an option.

Awana has been a HUGE blessing to us since our church has had on Wednesdays, up until recently, no activities until confirmation.

My kids have learned a tremendous amount, have had great leaders who come back year after year, and are blowing away their fellow confirmands with their Bible knowledge.

I've met a number of hsing families at this church and enjoyed that since our church has no hsers. I'll actually miss going to this church when child #4 finishes up. (Two Timothy awards down, two to go!)

Oh, and other than asking if we would like a pastor to visit us, they have never recruited us or tried to get us to change denominations. That surprised us a LOT! I've been invited warmly to every ladies event though. And my kids have never been challenged over having an infant baptism. All in all, it was a good thing!

#5 snickelfritz

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Posted 24 October 2008 - 07:17 AM

We visited the church a few times on a Sunday, first. This particular church requires membership and a background check before you can volunteer. I wouldn't be able to be in both rooms, anyway and that's stricter than our own church is.

I LOVE Awanas. My 3 year old (turned 3 September 29th) can say the books of the New Testament (along with John 3:16 and many others) because we listen to older sisters Awana Cd.

#6 tess in the burbs

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Posted 24 October 2008 - 07:53 AM

And people who know me know I don't leave my kids with just anyone!

We decided to put the kids in Awana's last year when our own church choice at the time had no other children and thus, no kids programs!

I picked on from the Awana's website that was close to us. I dropped them off and my daughter had no issues. It was teens in there so dh stood around the hall a bit to see how they handled things. I had no bad vibes(this is important!)

My son was hesitant to go into the large room with all the older aged kids...so we hung around until they started and he knew who his leader was. he was the youngest/smallest kid in there! But I had no bad vibes about anyone there. even the male adults.

we spoke to my son and daughter about privacy/personal space/authority of others and that they were to stay with the group and if an adult asked them to go with them alone to say no...that you were told to stay with the group and that you would have to call mom/dad if aanything was 'weird'. I knew that would scare the crap out of most any predator ;)

So after the first 15 minutes we left. went across the street. And again, if you knew my past summer story about my son and basketball camp you would know how monumental this was! I seriously had no bad vibes about anything. I trust that instinct. If anything had triggered a worry I wouldn't have left. They were fine. And had a great year.

We went back this year and now both kids are together in Sparks and more comfortable...so I have had to get involved some weeks to assure my children are having fun without playing around/disobeying the leaders.

We have really enjoyed Awana's and the memory verse work has been fun for us all to learn.

Go. Trust your instinct. I am so glad we tried another church's program. It helped the kids learn to adapt to a new situation with stranger adults(hey, in life leaders/teachers change). It helped our kids(while so young) understand to trust their instinct about people(they were told if they didn't like an adult for any reason to ask to call home).

Having said that...I had bad vibes this summer about a basketball camp my son was to be in for a week...and I left crying that morning and I shouldn't have left him. He had a hard week with some challenging adults/kids around him and I should have trusted that vibe and just said forget it!

Awana's can be great fun and great learning. So I do encourage you to try it. Talk to the leaders in charge(ask questions!) and volunteer to get to know the program better. I help out a few times a year or on short notice when they need it. They welcomed me with no hesitation which only made me feel more secure in their program and that everything was on the up and up!

#7 ma23peas

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Posted 24 October 2008 - 08:04 AM

My husband and I were leaders for over 5 years...we LOVE Awanas...I would definitely check out the leaders at the church you're considering and get a feel for their enthusiasm/commitment.

Our church's game leader was the granddaughter of the man who started Awana...so we had loads of enthusiasm! He was amazing to talk to and so humbled by where this has all taken off to.

I will add that as a leader we were ALWAYS excited to have volunteers...in our group alone we had 20 children, so that meant 20 children needed "listeners" to check off their books and verses.. we only had about 15-20 minutes dedicated to listening and not enough leaders, so we asked the parents to help be listeners just for that portion. Every church that we have taught Awana has had a nursery care for kids too young for Cubbies....so I think you ought to check with them and see if you could stay and be a listener..they will LOVE you! And you'll get sucked in and by the time your youngest is Cubbies age, I bet you'll be a leader...that's how it worked for us! All three of my kids were there so why wasn't I?

It's a wonderful program..and we counted it as our Bible curriculum for those years!

Tara

#8 MommyX8

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Posted 24 October 2008 - 08:20 AM

My older children did AWANA all the way through high school. But then our church decided to change programs so my little ones didn't have the opportunity to go.

My oldest attended Moody Bible Institute and one of her assignments for a class was to (on the spot) write the road to salvation through Scripture. She had no problem doing it as that is what she learned through AWANA. And even at a Bible college, it wasn't a skill that most students had.

So, she called me and told me to get the little ones into AWANA immediately. So, we go to a church that isn't our home church.

They love AWANA. Their leaders are great. They look forward to AWANA every week. This club doesn't allow helpers from outside their church, though.

:001_smile:

#9 Janna

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Posted 24 October 2008 - 08:43 AM

Usually I can let this stuff go. I really do apologize for saying this- if it offends you. But I just can't take it any longer, LOL:

It is not pronounced Awanas! There is no S - it is simply Awana. We don't "love Awanas". We don't "have an awanas", not do we have an "awana's". There is never an S attached. Also, the entire word is not capitalized, but only the first letter: Awana.

This grates on me as much as hearing someone pronounce the s in Illinois or Des Moines.

I'm sorry if I've hurt your feelings; really I am. Believe me when I say though, that I don't mean to offend, and I'm not shouting or judging - only correcting. I see this mistake so often and I can no longer be quiet about it.

Now, to get to the op's question, I grew up going to Awana. I *loved* it. I went when I was in Kindergarten, all the way until I was in Jr. High. I firmly believe I would not have been grounded in my spiritual walk as a teen if I had not participated in this program. It truly helped shape me.

I really wanted my dc in Awana. I put my dd in it from K-2 grade, but in 1st grade she started attending BSF with my dh (an in-depth Bible Study). It just became too much for her, so we took her out of Awana so she could continue BSF. I tried Awana with my ds when he was in pre-K, but he hated Awana so I didn't make him go back. He now does BSF also.

I completely understand your fears about leaving your child. My suggestion would be to volunteer so that you're there every week too. They are *always* in need of help whether it's in their nursery, a leader in a class, or secretary help.

HTH!

#10 Karenciavo

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Posted 24 October 2008 - 08:43 AM

I do. I have gotten to know the people over the years, they're great. It sounds like you have other reasons for not attending. You could wait till next year, I believe your youngest will be able to attend Cubbies at that time. Then you can have 1.5 hours of time to yourself. :D

#11 Karenciavo

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Posted 24 October 2008 - 08:48 AM

Also, the entire word is not capitalized, but only the first letter: Awana.


But it is an acronym, "Approved Workmen Are Not Ashamed," and many churches capitalize all the letters. I don't know what the official stance is though.

#12 Sweetpeach

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Posted 24 October 2008 - 08:55 AM

Our kids attend Awana at a local church which we don't attend. I see our involvement in Awana as a bridge to other faith-based communities . . . because of Awana, I've made some near&dear friends that I probably wouldn't have met otherwise.

My experience with Awana is that the volunteer policies are strict; the kids are the first priority and what they bring home in terms of bible understanding is top-notch.

I highly recommend the Awana program!

#13 Janna

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Posted 24 October 2008 - 09:52 AM

But it is an acronym, "Approved Workmen Are Not Ashamed," and many churches capitalize all the letters. I don't know what the official stance is though.


Yes, it's true. But then it would be A.W.A.N.A, which it's not. And according to their website, they are not all capitalized. Anyway, that doesn't bother me nearly as much as adding the "s", and it *is* all about me, is it not? ;):lol:

#14 G5052

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Posted 24 October 2008 - 11:24 AM

For the first five years we had a superb commander who expected a lot of the leaders and adults. Frankly I would have been fine dropping them off then, but I had been an Awana leader before children and my 3 y.o. was iffy about being potty-trained when we started. I loved those years. I had as much fun as the kids.

Then that commander moved away, and we got a new commander. Everything changed in a matter of months, and I was glad that I was there to witness first-hand the serious lapses and to hear the discussions in the leaders' meetings. I did meet privately several times with the commander, but unfortunately nothing really changed and it got worse as the year went on. We did not return to that group, and have since found other activities.

Call me paranoid, but I like being aware of what my kids are involved in, and usually volunteer somehow. Even with their sports, I'm sitting on the sidelines or in the lobby most of the time. To me at least, that's part of being a parent.

#15 ma23peas

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Posted 24 October 2008 - 12:04 PM

It is not pronounced Awanas! There is no S - it is simply Awana. We don't "love Awanas". We don't "have an awanas", not do we have an "awana's". There is never an S attached. Also, the entire word is not capitalized, but only the first letter: Awana.



Sorry to offend (really I am :))...but folks from where I'm from put an 's' on the end to mean (those that belong to a group..) so if you're a Kentuckian...and there are many of you...you're Kentuckians...so if you're a part of Awana...you're called Awanas....and I've met the dear man who started the entire program, I don't think he'd give one tick how you pronounce it as long as you DO it! :)

Tara

#16 Melissa in St Louis

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Posted 24 October 2008 - 12:13 PM

Another thumbs up! We love it! (I am not going to get sucked into the all caps or "s" at the end debate! ;)):D

Melissa in St Louis

#17 frogpond1

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Posted 24 October 2008 - 01:00 PM

I have always helped out and AWANA always can use extra listeners etc. Be sure to find a club you are comfortable with though, sometimes the attitudes of the club vary. I was always careful to find a club that didn't let kids go crazy.

#18 Camy

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Posted 24 October 2008 - 01:05 PM

Personally, we found AWANA was not for our family due to many of the concerns you stated. I stayed w/ my preschoolers (rather than leave them w/ those whom I did not know well) while they had Cubbies. We found that this program was bit much at that time of night. It was very exhausting for us. Blessings.

#19 Vida Winter

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Posted 24 October 2008 - 05:25 PM

Personally, we found AWANA was not for our family due to many of the concerns you stated. I stayed w/ my preschoolers (rather than leave them w/ those whom I did not know well) while they had Cubbies. We found that this program was bit much at that time of night. It was very exhausting for us. Blessings.


This was our experience also. It was too late for my children and they got overly wound-up before bedtime. Also, some of the gymnasium activities that the older kids would do (~5th graders and up) were not supervised very well - my daughter always ended up getting hurt and crying by the end of the night. Frankly, I'd not want to do it if I had to entertain a little one during the entire time.

#20 classicHSmom

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Posted 24 October 2008 - 11:10 PM

Thanks for all of your advice and input. I may just wait until next year since I can't seem to make up my mind and motivate myself enough to try it right now...especially with winter coming. Situations like this really show how my indecisiveness and introversion dovetail nicely together. :blush:

For what it's worth it seems like a great program.


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