I hope that by now you have heard about the transition to the newly revised T&T. It is not a major transition, so don’t get to stressed out about it. From my personal viewpoint, you have several options depending upon your club.
Delay your transition. The material in the handbooks (from my understanding) will be unchanged except for a few sections in the current Book 3 (Ultimate Challenge 1) which reviews items in Books 1 & 2. If your clubber is mving from Book 2 to Book 3, then this isn’t an issue. It would only come into play if you have a 5th grader start in Book 3, then you can reference the change in sections in the A.R.T. area of the Awana Web Site.
If you have several award badges and seals left over, then you can continue to use them until you run out, especially if your club is running fine currently. If you choose to take this route, then look at the clearance items in the Awana store. Awana has marked several of the current materials down to eliminate stock to prepare for the new material. You can stock up at a BIG discount and so left over items may not be such an economic hardship on your church. This is also a great option if your church has a tight budget, or reaches children in difficult family situations that may not be able to afford the handbooks and uniforms. But remember that supplies would be limited to current stock, so once it is gone, it’s gone, so NOW is the time to plan if you plan to continue with the current items for awhile.
The common question I hear is, “we only run through 5th grade, do we make our clubbers buy a new uniform for one year? Some families cannot afford that.”
Again, a few options. I find that a lot of children require a new uniform by the time they reach 5th grade because the child has grown so much. So you can offer the option of the clubber buying the 5th gerade uniform jersey, or keep them in the Green Ultimate Adventure t-shirt uniform. If you keep them in the t-shirt uniform, then you can still award the 5th grade awards to be sewn on to the uniform.
In lieu of sewing, there is a product called Badge-Magic which adheres the patches to the uniforms. If you are concerned about clubbers who may re-use the uniforms for younger siblings, I am told that if you dry-clean the shirt, then the patches will come off.
So if your club only goes to 5th grade, see what works best in situation.
Go all out now with the transition. If you do that, then you will probably be able to give your unused items to clubs who are delaying their transition (Option 1). We will have an area on our web site (www.commanderbill.net) for clubs to share items, and list what is wanted to assist clubs during this transition. As you share your unused items, you are expanding your ministry and reaching other children for Christ by partnering with the church that you give the resources.
The final option is simply to see what works the best for your club with your budget, the size of your club, the remaining resources, etc. There is no one best way to transition, and no one way to transition. Evaluate your club and see how to be the best steward of what God has already provided and how to best reach the children in your care.
I urge everyone who is transitioning to the new material to share your unused materials with other clubs who seek them. Generally they would be smaller clubs/churches, or clubs/churches on a tight budget and so by sharing with them, you are working together with another part of the Body of Christ.
Don’t over think the transition and remember that the bottom line is that Awana is seeking to provide you with various tools to reach more children by this transition. How you receive it, and how you transition will speak volumes to leaders and clubers. If you have resistance, it will spread. If you share the hope that more children will be reached, and discipled, for Christ, then others will catch the vision.
So don’t stress about the transition, but begin planning now. If you are seeking to maintain with the current awards, then I again say that NOW is the time to order items as they are on clearance before the shelves are empty, but only purchase items you think you will use.
A little planning now, will make the transition in the fall a lot easier.
(Added note – 7/17/2010)
The one thing to keep in mind, this is mainly a “cosmetic” change to better reach, and keep, the 5th & 6th graders. I hope this post has helped you prepare for the fall.