Anybody Combine Gems & Cadets Into One Group?

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Greetings!

Like the title says: Has anyone ever merged their Cadet & GEMS groups into one group? I can imagine quite a few different ways that one could so this but I'm curious if anyone has? 

I ask because this seems like a good strategy to both lessen the burden on leadership and to provide some awesome opportunities for our children and neighbors. But I also ask because I come from a Scouting background, where (never mind the current American debate), internationally, Scouting is about 70% co-educational and has been since the 1990s (Co-education scout groups first appeared in the 1930s and became more official in 1971). 

Any Ideas? I'm looking for constructive feedback—I am already well aware of potential drawbacks and roadblocks. My question is, has anyone actually done this, and what has your experience been?

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Hi Jonathan. Honestly, our church has not done this, but I am curious about this as well. About a year ago, our church couldn't get enough volunteers for our GEMS program and they had to take a year off, but we still had enough volunteers for Cadets for that to be possible. Part of me wondered if it would have made more sense to try a co-ed group instead of two separate groups, but the church's goal was more to give volunteers a year off and to find GEMS counselors for next year instead.

Do you have any type of outline for what your co-ed group would look like? Like would you still call it GEMS and Cadets or would you come up with a new name? Would you still follow GEMS/Cadets curriculum or would you come up with something completely different? 

I'm sorry I don't have an answer to your question, but I would really like to know how this works out for you and your church.

Our churches have not joined the two programs. I question any advantages that a joined program would have. I believe we would have more behavioral issues. Without sounding sexist and all the other labels, girls and boys are different. As a rule they have different talents, needs and gifts. For ninety minutes twice a month, they can hang out with just boys or just girls. For twenty plus days a month, they are together. If a church cannot find counselors, this isn't a good solution. Perhaps adult members need to take the vows they made at the children's baptisms a little more seriously.

We are recently having a similar conversation - do we have a combined Cadets and Gems Sunday? This year the theme and theme verse is the same for both groups, which makes things difficult for a pastor who wants to preach to each group's theme verse on their designated Sunday, but preaching on the same text a few months apart gets to be a little redundant... Does anyone know if the Cadets and Gems plan to have the same theme going forward? Or was this a one time thing?

We always have a combined GEMS & Cadets Sunday, with "Lunch on the Lawn" afterwards to attract more of the families who don't normally attend on Sundays. We do this twice a year (November and May). In the past, we have either chosen one of the themes or something generic or more in line with what our church is doing. I don't think it's necessary to preach on the theme verses of either group.