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AWANA springs up in the Rushford Peterson Valley

By Kirsten Zoellner

Fri, Aug 15th, 2014
Posted in Rushford Education

Several members of the new Rushford Peterson AWANA enjoyed a picnic at Creekside Park this summer. The group officially kicks off with a rally night September 17. Photo submitted

Awana, an international non-profit ministry for children in kindergarten through high school, will see its first club in Fillmore County this fall, piggybacking on the success of clubs in Houston County (Spring Grove) and Winona County (St. Charles and Winona). Started in 1941 in Chicago, the ministry currently reaches over 22,000 churches or communities and has reached children in 110 countries across the world and leaders believe that the need is there.

“This is a generation that we’re losing from the church,” stresses organizer Jenny Prinsen. “It’s been shown that kids will establish their faith by age 14. It’s a critical time for them and they need as much involvement from the family as possible. It’s meant to be a well-rounded program.”

Geared to be offered through local churches, AWANA’s goal is to reach kids where they’re at and walk alongside them in their faith journey through a fun, engaging atmosphere. “It takes kids through the Bible and shows how the Bible applies to everyday life,” adds Prinsen. “It’s a way to support Sunday School, not replace it. The basis is to get into scripture, work on memorization, and really understand the Bible.”

While regional clubs have been growing, Prinsen notes the desire to have something right in Fillmore County. “A number of us had been driving eight or nine kids to Spring Grove for AWANA. We thought, ‘Why don’t we start a group here?’” The majority are participants are currently from Pleasant Valley Church in Winona, which is sponsoring the Rushford Peterson AWANA club, but volunteers from other churches are also eager to participate. Also assisting with the local, non-denominational club are representatives of Root River Community Church and Rushford Lutheran Church.

The Rushford Peterson AWANA club will begin with offerings for kids in grades K-6. Club Nights will include “Handbook Time,” that delves into individual Bible verse study and memorization, followed by small group games centered on verses. “That encourages a bit of competition,” adds Prinsen. “Kids like that.” Also included in each evening are a song time and large group teaching with local pastors or other speakers. Groups are led by trained adult community volunteers from various churches. “We try to have a theme each week, tying it all together if we can,” notes Prinsen.

The Rushford Peterson AWANA club will kick off with a rally registration night September 17, at the Peterson Middle School, from 6-7:30 p.m. Club Nights will be each Wednesday, from 6-7:30 p.m., beginning October 1, at the school. There is a small cost for those wanting to have a club uniform and handbook. Scholarships are available if needed.

The club is seeking volunteers to provide attention to a small group of children as they recite verses they have learned from their handbook and child care helpers for Awana leaders who have children too young to currently participate.

“This is a great opportunity for adults and teens to serve the Lord and volunteer in our community.”

For more information visit www.awana.org or contact Jenny Prinsen at jprinsen99@gmail.com or Ben Ekern at bekern@acegroup.cc. You can also find more at www.facebook.com/RushfordPetersonAWANA.

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