By Kevin White –
The Adventure Begins with You!
That is the theme of the long awaited revision of The Salvation Army Adventure Corps program, to be released in early 1997. The Adventure Corps has been through an extensive updating/rewriting process on a national level, led by the Western Territory on behalf of the National Youth Commission.
It has been an exciting project to work with the other territories and numerous individuals, all contributing to the reorganizing and refinement of the Adventure Corps into a quality program for young men and boys.
“As we have shared samples and information of the new Adventure Corps during the past year, we have been greatly encouraged to see a dramatic rise in enthusiasm and anticipation for the new program. In addition, the training events held in various divisions have been very positive and very well attended,” says Territorial Youth and Candidates’ Secretary Major Rudy Hedgren.
“It has been a ‘huge’ undertaking and many acknowledgments should be handed out. The original Adventure Corps Ad-hoc Committee from the Western Territory should especially be commended for their excellent contributions in getting this project up and going.”
Members included Kevin White, THQ project manager, Captain Paul Fanning, Alaska, Captain Jerry Simpson, Del Oro, and Tim Smith, Northwest.
What is Adventure Corps?
The Adventure Corps is a Christian education program designed for boys in grades 1 through 8 and is divided into two sections: Explorers for boys in grades 1 through 4 and Rangers for boys in grades 5 through 8. Each section takes members through a series of achievement emblems and levels, helping boys to develop their individuality and potential through:
- Gaining a sense of personal identity and character through interaction with other boys and leaders.
- Learning the importance of Christian values and biblical truths by experiencing God’s Word and by the modeled example of their Christian leaders.
- Developing physical, mental, and social skills as challenged by the Adventure Corps program.
- Providing a balanced environment for learning, developing and caring that is child oriented and Christ centered.
The Adventure Corps is designed for use in all Salvation Army Corps Community Centers, regardless of size and location, and offers flexibility in the implementation of the overall program.
At each level of the program, leaders and boys may choose different achievement emblems to work towards which best fit their needs, capabilities, and resources.
The Purpose of Adventure Corps…
The Adventure Corps program emphasizes discipleship, evangelism and life skill development, intending to involve Salvationist boys in an organized program designed to challenge them to grow in their commitment to Christ and The Salvation Army; reach out into the community to attract boys, to lead them to Christ, and if they are unchurched, encourage them to make The Salvation Army their spiritual home and place of service; and provide a learning and caring environment in which life skills may be taught and developed.
Goals of Adventure Corps…
The goals of the Adventure corps address the needs of the total boy, including:
- Salvation– To present the “good news” of Jesus Christ in meaningful and practical ways which relate to the boys’ experiences and capacities to understand.
- Growth–To meet the individual needs of boys through an organized activity oriented program.
- Education– To teach life skills and instill an appreciation and sense of stewardship of God’s created world.
- Fellowship– To provide recreational and fellowship activities that will encourage healthy physical growth and enhance good friendships.
- Service– To challenge the boys to Christian service in their corps or other churches and in their communities.
The Revised Adventure Corps…
Under this revision, the Adventure Corps has adopted a new look, a new style of awards and more resource and training materials for leaders. The “new look” comes from the addition of some graphic arts to enhance the logo on the promotional material, handbooks and manuals. The T-shirts have been altered, baseball caps and polo shirts have also been added. An award sash will now be used to display the new award emblems.
The awards that have been developed represent the most dramatic change, moving from the coins and folders to more presentable and colorful emblems that can be displayed on the Adventure Corps uniform.
Members will now earn achievement emblems that are divided into eight categories:
Arts, Crafts, Hobbies and Skills
Health and Safety
Bible and The Salvation Army
Family and Culture
The World Around Us
Science and Technology
Sports and Athletics
One of the major concerns throughout the revision has been the development of the material for the new achievement emblems. All four territories have contributed writers to compile these emblems, making sure each emblem has adequate material and resources to provide the most from the Adventure Corps experience. With that in mind, the revised program takes the members a little bit further into each award, giving them more tasks to complete in order to earn the specific emblems. In addition to the “expanded” materials for each emblem, every emblem has a spiritual component that lends itself to that particular subject.
Another concern for the revision has been the need to provide leaders with sufficient resources in order to implement the program. Program guides have been developed, giving leaders pre-planned programs and outlines for every achievement emblem. The guides contain all the information necessary to teach and instruct, as well as providing games and additional program materials.
Two levels of Adventure Corps leadership training have been established to assist in the proper equipping of leaders in the field. The training programs are currently in seminar format and have already been conducted in many divisions throughout the territory. Level One training focuses on the structure, theory and organization of the Adventure Corps, as well as providing emphasis on how to present devotions, communicating with young people and concerns regarding youth protection. Level Two covers topics such as discipline, basic first aid, spiritual leadership and recruitment. Eventually, both levels of training will be available in a video format so everyone may benefit from the training experience.
To assist in the promotion of the revised program, a new poster, brochure and video have been produced and are available from the Trade department. The poster and brochure utilize the new graphic artwork, as well as the brochure providing a general overview of the program. The video was produced by the Office of Media Ministries in conjunction with the Western Territory and depicts the many varied aspects of Adventure Corps while taking the viewer on a breathtaking roller coaster ride.
Looking Toward the Future…
Those who are familiar with the original version of the program will notice that the older boys, or Adventurers, have been deleted. Removed but not forgotten! Plans are in place to establish a new “follow-on” program for this age group that will center on college and career opportunities, leadership development, and high adventure types of activities. At present, this age group is encouraged to undertake leadership roles within the Adventure Corps and/or participate as part of the Ranger program.
The Adventure Really Does Begin With You…
The challenge for the boys is simple: Discover that following Jesus Christ is the greatest adventure of all! The challenge for the leaders is simple as well: In all we do, our main goal is to bring young men into a relationship with Jesus Christ, or if already existent, challenge them to a deeper commitment. But the challenge is for us all: Discover for yourself that following Jesus Christ is truly the greatest adventure of all!
The Adventure Corps Motto:
“Adventure with Christ!”
The Adventure Corps Pledge:
“I promise to explore God’s Word and God’s world to find ways to serve Him and help others; to develop and guard good habits so that I will grow as God desires; and to adventure into the world with the “good news” of Jesus Christ.”
The Adventure Corps Prayer:
“Lord Jesus, help me to discover you as the Way, the Truth and Life, and to find for myself that following you is the greatest adventure of all.”
Please pray for this vital program, that God will uplift the leadership and that those involved will be brought into a closer and deeper relationship with our Lord Jesus Christ.