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Church program helps develop spiritually strong children and youth

Awana helps churches and parents work together to develop spiritually strong children and youth who faithfully follow Jesus Christ. Its programs offer an approach for children to learn more about evangelization and becoming disciples in the church and community.

Awana in Hastings is a church ministry that ministers to the children and families of Hastings. Awana programs in Hastings are currently available at United Methodist Church, New Life Evangelical Free Church and River of Life Church.

As a ministry leader for more than 60 years, Awana is making an impact, according to a national survey, which indicates the program to be as important to its alumni's spiritual foundation as all other church activities combined. Among alumni who participated in Awana's programs for at least six years, 92.7 percent still attend church at least weekly as adults.

Each week, more than 1.5 million children ages 2 to 18 participate in Awana. More than 12,000 churches in the United States and more than 10,000 internationally run Awana programs.

Children who attend the River of Life Church for Awana are ages 3 year olds through sixth grade.

Cubbies are clubbers who are 3 and 4 years old. They receive a book award at the end of the year. Each cubbie completes a book a year memorizing 30 verses.

Sparkies are clubbers who are in kindergarten to second grade. Those that have completed the Hanglider Book have recited a total of 35 verses. They are: Xavier Beal, Isabelle Davenport, Nicolas Dehmlow, Lukas Foss, Max Holm, Joshua Jacob, Audrey McNamara, Grace Petrich, Tori Sellner, Jordis Schaeffer, Alexis Smith, Robyn Smith and Aimee Yaeger. Sparkies who have completed the WingRunner Book have recited a total of 50 verses. They are: Shanaya Banks, Rachael Bernier, Hans Holm, Tailynne Hughes, Grace Kehn, Sara Myers, Averi Nelson, Kayden Neuharth, Zach Olson, Andrew Padmanabhan, Jacob Simons, Daniel Swanson and Bridget VanLoon. Sparkies who have completed the Sky Stormer Book have recited a total of 64 verses and received a Sparkie plaque.

To receive the Sparkie plaque, a clubber must finish all three Sparkie handbooks, which involves reciting 150 verses and completing 37 activities on missions, witnessing, patriotism, prayer and creation. They are: Josh Abraham, Shanaya Banks, Aiden Beal, Roman Davenport, Jacob Dehmlow, Chase Harder, Ariel Ingli, Thomas Kennedy, Seth Kimmes, Sara Myers, Zach Olson, Lizzie Petrich and Hope Zwart.

Truth and Training (T&T) is for third through sixth graders.

T&T Clubbers who have finished Ultimate Adventure Book 1 have recited a total of 80 verses and receive an Alpha Award. They are: Hope Davis, Isabelle Holm, Lovely Holm, TJ Hoye, Autumn Kirchoff, Matt Myers, Jason Neuharth, Presztyiegei Pachan, Kaitlin Petrich and Hayley Yaeger.

T&T Clubbers who has finished Ultimate Adventure Book 2 have recited a total of 101 verses and received an Excellence Trophy. They are: Joanna Abraham, Wesley Caldwell, Nate Dehmlow, Robbie Geiken, Caden Harder, Billie Hoye, Autumn Kehn, Jonathan Kennedy, Elliot Kimmes, Maleec Sellner and Sean Smith.

T&T Clubbers who have finished Ultimate Challenge Book 1 have recited a total of 109 verses and receive the Challenge Award. They are: Grace Borchardt, Sydni Nelson and Samuel Padmanabhan.

T&T Clubbers who have finished Ultimate Challenge Book 2 have recited a total of 133 verses and have earned a Timothy Trophy.

To earn the Timothy trophy, a boy or girl must complete four handbooks from T&T and have memorized and recited a total of 432 verses in four years. Justin Boe, Drew Davis, Claire Glade and Simon Kimmes earned their Timothy Award this year at River of Life.