What is Awanas?
Awanas (derived from the first letters of Approved Workmen Are Not Ashamed as taken from 2 Timothy 2:15) is an international evangelical nonprofit organization founded in 1950, headquartered in Streamwood, Illinois. The mission of Awana is to help "churches and parents worldwide raise children and youth to know, love and serve Christ."
Awana is a non-denominational program and licenses its curricula to any church willing to pay for and use the Awana materials consistent with its principles. In addition to its programs for children and teenagers, Awana has prison ministries, and a parallel curriculum for family use – the "Awana-At-Home" series.
Awana offers multiple curricula levels from toddlers to senior high-school. In the U.S. and Canada, Awana is split into six age groups: Puggles (2 and 3 yr olds), Cubbies (3 through 5 yr olds or "the 2 years prior to Kindergarten"), Sparks (Kindergarten, Grade 1 & 2), Truth & Training (T&T) (for grades 3, 4, 5 & 6), Trek (grades 7, 8, 9) and Journey (High school).
Most recently T&T divided up into Pals (Boys Grade 3 & 4), Chums (Girls Grade 3 & 4), Pioneers (Boys Grade 5 & 6), and Guards (Girls Grade 5 & 6), which changed in the late 1990s. Originally Pals and Chums were Grades 3 to 5 and Pioneers and Guards included Grades 6 to 8. Trek and Journey, which are under the 24/7 Ministries (now, Awana Youth Ministries) banner, were called, respectively, Jr. Varsity and Varsity.
Internationally, the age groups offered vary in each country and materials are available in many languages. Awana's prison ministries (Malachi Dads) attend the needs of inmates by providing parental coaching to incarcerated fathers, and to children of inmates by sponsoring events in prisons to bring children and their inmate fathers closer together.
Puggles has three "friends" in the materials – Sydney the Koala, Alice the Kangaroo, Puggle the Platypus. The precepts taught are that "God made all things", "give thanks" and "God is love".
Cubbies friends include Cubbie Bear, Katie Collie and Luvie Lamb. This material is currently being updated and new materials are to be implemented fall 2013. Former handbooks were "Hopper" and "Jumper", which will be replaced with "Appleseed and Honeycomb".
Sparks friends include Sparkie the firefly and children named Chloe, Joel, Jacob and Chloe's dog Sebastian. The original three-book series was called Skipper, Hiker and Climber but this material was updated 2009-2011 and are now called HangGlider, WingRunner and SkyStormer. If a clubber completes all three books they earn the Sparky Award Plaque.
T&T (truth and training) friends include children and the dog, Streamwood. The books are called Ultimate Adventure 1 and 2 and Ultimate Challenge 1 and 2. There is an award for each book completed between Grade 3 to Grade 12 – Alpha Award (one book), Excellence Award (two books), Challenge Award (three books) and Timothy Award (four books).
Trek is based on a travel theme. It has three years worth of lessons so the program can be used for Grades 6, 7 and 8 depending on local school and church preferences. The three years are called the Billboard, Roadsign and Dashboard Series. Additional awards available are the Milestone Award and Meritorious Award (six books between Grade 3 to Grade 12).
Journey is based on ten Bible Studies consisting of either books of the Bible or topical studies (12 sections each). Each year there is one study that is chosen by Awana for all clubs to use if they plan to participate in quizzing. To complete a year of Journey curriculum, students must complete the Faith Foundation (a small booklet containing a few verses), two studies and read one-quarter of the Bible (books are specified).
If a student completes all 10 years of material from Grade 3-12, the Citation Award is awarded. This is the highest level of achievement and considered a great honor. The names of students receiving the Citation Award are inscribed on plaques located at Awana Headquarters.
Awana missionaries and volunteers run local, state (provincial) and regional competitions between churches' Awana programs. These involve Bible Quizzing, AwanaGames, Sparks-A-Rama, and Awana Grand Prix. High-school age Awana students can also participate in an annual national event called Summit.
Awana missionaries help churches start the Awana ministry, train church leaders how to introduce kids and youth into the Awana program and instruct church leaders at Awana Ministry Conferences on how to better utilize the Awana ministry.
Awana missionaries are completely "faith supported" by donations from churches and individuals, thereby acquiring all of the funds necessary to keep each of their ministries funded in addition to receiving all funds needed for their personal housing and income needs.
Awana broadly encompasses the following tax-exempt entities:
- Awana International
- Awana Clubs International
- Awana International Canad
- Impact Life
- Canadian Adventure, Inc.
According to the 2006 Form 990 filed with the IRS by Awana Clubs International, ACI reported gross revenues of $45,595,800 --- significantly higher than the amounts reported for both 2004 ($41,464,006) and 2005 ($41,513,499) within the Awana "2004–2005 Financial Highlights" report, but this gross revenue variation may be due to a timing difference with the actual start and end date of the ACI tax year or a transfer of funds between the various Awana EOs.
At the close of 2007, Awana was named one of 30 "Shining Light Ministries" by MinistryWatch.com, a financial watchdog group. The award is based on passing a number of stringent financial accounting and reporting standards. Awana is also a member of the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability (ECFA).
"Awanas" Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (with minor edits), under GFDL.