With the start of the 2011-12 school year, Ramona Awana Community Club celebrates 24 years of partnering with churches and parents of Ramona to provide a fun, safe, Christian faith based club for youngsters ranging in age from pre-kindergarten through high school.
“I have been in Awana here in Ramona since I was 3 years old and I love it,” said Danielle La Rosa, a high school freshman. “It’s been so helpful in my daily walk to be able to memorize verses of the Bible and have them stay with me.”
Ramona Awana Club has grown to more than 200 youngsters with eight churches actively participating, and the club expects to keep growing.
The Awana organization has existed for more than 60 years in the United States and works with churches from 100 denominations. It began as a children’s program at the North Side Gospel Center in Chicago in 1941.
Each week across the United States and internationally, more than 1.5 million children and youth, 250,000 volunteers and 170-plus field staff take part in Awana in over 22,000 churches, according to the Awana website, awana.org.
The Ramona club is one of the largest chapters in San Diego County. It is the only youth organization in Ramona with fully integrated evangelism and discipleship programs for ages 3 to 18 that actively involve parents, church leaders and mentors.
“Awana volunteers have always worked to create a strong parent-church partnership during a child’s formative years here in Ramona,” said Gayla Beverley, former Ramona Club commander. “The club’s goal has always been to help kids grow to know, love and serve Jesus Christ.”
“As the Ramona club continues to grow, we are going to need more and more volunteers,” said incoming club commander Kevin Springfield. “Being available and being role models for our youth can bring amazing results in children who grow up to become fully grounded in their faith. In order to accomplish this goal, we need as much community participation as we can get. It‘s rewarding for both the children and the adults who serve.”
Parents and young adults are encouraged to apply to be leaders and volunteers in the club and can get information on applying as a leader by calling 760-315-2323 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
“Our town’s Awana Club features fun scripture-based programs that include games and leadership activities that are specifically designed to be engaging for youth all the way through high school,” said Springfield. “All are welcome to come and check it out.”
The club features special events throughout the school year including the popular Awana Grand Prix pinewood derby-style race and the Awana drive-in movie for the younger participants. The Ramona Club also participates in the Awana Games events that give the children and teens a chance to compete against other Awana clubs from San Diego and Imperial counties.
“Being able to be a part of the Awana games is one of my favorite activities we do. That, and going to Awana camp in the summer,” said La Rosa.
The events continue into the summer with the annual Awana water park trip and Summit Leadership camp.
Signups for Awana are scheduled for Wednesday, Sept. 7, starting at 6:30 p.m. at either Grace Community Church at 1234 Barger Place or Mountain View Community Church at 1191 Meadowlark off state Route 78 and Ash Street.
For more information, call Springfield at 760-315-2323.