Friday, June 8, 2012

Club 316: Character Building for Kids

The Salvation Army offers a number of ministry programs and events for young people that will help them to develop an unwavering character while at the same time helping them to grow in an understanding of God’s love through a life-long relationship with Jesus Christ.  Like other scout and troop programs, Club 316 uses achievement emblems as an incentive for further learning and accomplishments.

Some of the badges earned include: Cooking, Bible Study, Indoor Sports, Astronomy, Friend to Animals, and Service to Others.  Badges often take about a month to earn, doing various activities and assignments.  “One of the activities we did when learning about the Solar System was to calculate our weight on each planet.  We had to multiply our weight [on earth] by another planet’s gravity factor.  It was very interesting,” says Joanna Estrada, Christian Education Director.

Because students often visit a planetarium for a school field trip, it was decided that Club 316 would do something different.  As part of their astronomy badge, they took a field trip to the Johnson Space Center in Houston.  They were able to take a tour around NASA and participate in a Feel of Space simulation to learn about how astronauts live in a space environment.  There were modules to demonstrate actual training exercises astronauts have to take as well as an astronaut gallery that had many different spacesuits.

Several of the children also presented projects on a given planet of the Solar System providing visuals and relevant information.  They presented at the Sunday morning worship service at The Salvation Army.

Club 316 really takes a hands-on approach to learning.  In order to experience how the blubber of arctic animals like penguins and seals can protect them from extreme temperatures, they prepared a large bowl filled with water and ice – it was freezing!  All the children wore a food service glove on their left hand and dipped it into a can of solid shortening; then they took turns to place both hands into the water, with only the left hand covered in shortening.  The result was very cold right hands!  “The idea was to discover how the shortening acted like insulation, keeping the left hand warm just like blubber helps to keep arctic animals warm too,” says Joanna.
As part of their assignments for the Friend to Animal badge, the troop made a visit to PetSmart where they were given a fully detailed tour of the pets, how to care for them, and unique facts about them.  Other activities to earn the badge included: giving a presentation on a specific animal, a group project caring for live hermit crabs and learning about various animals in the wild.

More recently, the children have been working on a Service to Others badge. They visit nursing homes, help serve food, and volunteer to help in other activities as well.

On Saturday, May 12, Club 316 went on a field trip to the Houston Zoo where they were able to see and learn about many different animals, even pet some in the petting zoo.  On Sunday, May 17, Club 316 troopers made a special presentation to complete their Bible Study badge.