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Hi Dave,

I don't seem to have access to the portal any longer, as our position was filled mid-2020.  I will contact the folks in Grand Rapids and see if I can get access again and let you know what those parameters are.


Good Evening.  I read this post, and some of the less constructive comments, shortly after it was posted.  I did not read the responses from the Gems and Cadets leadership until tonight.  At my small CRC church, where I have attended for over 25 years, we have never had Cadets or Gems.  There are a variety of reasons for this, which are not necessary to go into here.  In recent years, however, we have started a joined program for the K-5 boys and girls in our congregation - we call it Young Builders.  In our first year, we did more "projects" (planter boxes, insect hotels, bug habitats, bird feeders).  More recently we are doing more activities (tie blankets that we have donated to our local police department and pregnancy shelter, cornucopia sun catchers at Thanksgiving, game nights with the congregation, clean up activities around the church grounds).  It is more challenging to come up with quality projects and activities without the assistance of the Cadets and Gems framework.  Our church did request Cadets/Gems materials from the CRC as we embarked on this endeavor, but we were informed that those materials were generally not available to us since we did not have an official program.  They did send us some dated materials.

My advice would be to proceed as the needs of your congregation allow.  Be prepared for some gender challenges, but those are relatively easily overcome.  If you need to combine (and rename) your program, do it.  It is better to provide something than nothing, and you have a background of years of Cadets and Gems activities to build from.  The lack of having a portfolio to pull from is our biggest challenge, and that will be much less of a challenge for you.

Feel free to contact me if have further questions.

Jeff Kopaska

Trinity CRC, Ames, IA

jeffkopaska51 (at)

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