How does your church promote the growth of Cadet Club?

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Our Cadet club has been shrinking for the last several years. We have terrific co-ordinator who truly loves the ministry and the boys, but it seems like each year there are less and less boys who attend. I am wondering what other CRCs have done to promote their Cadet clubs and increase their membership. Is this a denomination wide problem, or is it just our goup? I wonder if a name change would help....??? Any ideas would be great! Yours in Christ, Grace

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Dear Grace,
I am a DCE (Developer of Counsellor Eduction) with the Cadets and have been involved with cadetting for more than half my life stemming from cadet, to Jr. Counselor to Couselor. In response to your questions, comments and concerns I hope my reply will help. It is not just your church. In the entire program across North America we have been slowly shrinking. We have been looking into this effect for several years and we have accounted it to three things. One is a demographic that is effecting the entire denomination not just this program and that is that family sizes are smaller than the norm has been in the past. This has effects on all youth ministries in the CRC today. There just isn't as many youth. The second reason we have found is we are in competition with alot of other extra curicular activities and loosing boys to those activities weather it be football, soccer, hockey ect. That leads to the third and that is lack of understanding by the parents/churchs about what the program is truely about. The goal of cadeting is to have Men mentoring boys in ALL aspects of life Spiritual, Physical, Mental, and Social. Because of all the activities surrounding cadets alot of parents and observers do not see the spiritual end of the program. As for what is being done to correct this trend or a better way to put it would be to inspire growth is also being looked at at all levels of cadeting. One way is advertizing to the community. There are many ways to do this and also many materials available from the cadet head office in Grand Rapids that is specific to promotion of a club. All cadetting is great ministry to the community. One thing that most churches are doing now is alot of outward promotion to the community. I know personally in my club we have about 50% from outside of our church. Not necessarly unchurched but just from outside our church. We also have put together a program wide visioning commitee to also look into ways to increase growth. We have looked at the name change issue and at the Congress 2009 it was decided not to change the name. Now personally in my oppinion that won't hurt or help the program and I don't think it will make a difference in already existing clubs. If you want more promotion idea's I would suggest that you call the Corps office at (616) 241-5616 xt. 4, or have your Head Counselor talk to the DCE's and Cadet Congresman in his area. If you are an independant club have him contact the independant club consultant or feel free to email me for more information.

In His Service
Rick

We are just starting up a group.   Without changing the actual name, we are promoting it as Christian Cadet Club.   We have a small church, but it seems the boys are interested, also in bringing non-church friends.  When I talked to some individually, their eyes just lit up!   We decided to start it now, rather than wait till fall, because some of the winter activities such as hockey are slowing down, and cadets can do more things outdoors in the summer than in the winter, and the evenings are light longer.    Hopefully this initiative is God's will, and our ministry will flourish and grow boys  into men of God. 

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