Opening Night of AWANA 2020

Last night I was blessed and honored to take on the new role of AWANA Truth & Training director for our local church.  When the previous Truth & Training director announced she would not being coming back next year, our AWANA director made it known that no one had yet volunteered to step up and fill that role.  She said that if no one would fill that role, the program would not be able to continue in the 2020/2021 school year.  So, after prayer and contemplation, with the help of God and others, I decided that I could handle those responsibilities so that the program could continue.  I’d already been serving as an AWANA Truth & Training leader for 10 years and I know how everything works (or at least I thought I did)…  When the previous Truth & Training director handed over the responsibilities to me this summer, I was shocked at how much record-keeping was involved in the job!  There were so many data points that needed to be tracked – color groups, AWANA bucks, handbook section progress, gold and silver extra credit, attendance, AWANA Grand Prix, book awards, patches, Timothy awards and the list goes on…  I was beginning to wonder what I got myself into!  So, I kind of sat and stewed on it for a few weeks.  Then, about 3 weeks ago, I decided that I was going to take action to make things better for myself and for the program – we were going to go paperless.  I put my enterprise web development skills to use and designed/developed an AWANA record-keeping tool.  Knowing that I had a deadline of opening night (September 2nd) I started working on this every morning before work for 2-3 hours.  So, by the grace of God I was able to finish enough of the features to use the tool for our opening night.  I will continue to enhance and modify the tool as the semester continues and our needs evolve and be come clear.  Here are some screenshots from the tool:

Login:

Main Page:

AWANA Bucks:

Handbook Time (for listening to verses memorized by the Clubbers):

Section Progress:

Clubber Rankings by Week:

Color Group Assignments:

Add New Clubber Screen (automatic “greedy” algorithm to select best color group for each new clubber to distribute clubbers across color groups while spreading out distribution of grades within a color group):

This is just the beginning…  I have many other ideas for enhancing this tool.

By implementing this tool, I’ve lifted a huge record-keeping burden off of my shoulders.  Additionally, this will allow me to focus on more impactful activities such as preparing for the weekly teaching.

Last night, for the first night everything went very well – better than I could’ve hoped for!  Praise the Lord and thanks to those who were praying for success last night.

The first night is always a busy and hectic night – a lot has to be covered and there’s a lot of “administrivia”.  I had to spend 45 minutes teaching the clubbers – covering our weekly routine and rules, getting to know each other and also, had to cover the Start Zone, which is the basic overview of the Gospel and the Bible.  Here are the pages of the Start Zone which I covered:

The following is the slide presentation I used to guide my teaching for the night:

I created a prayer box for the room and encouraged the clubbers to fill out the following (paper) form if they had any prayer requests.  In the past, I learned that if we have the clubbers verbalize their prayer requests, it tends to become a long story telling time, which does not work well at the end of the night when we’re praying…

Overall, I’m so thankful that things went well and I thank God for being with us through all of this – may He be glorified in this ministry!

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