Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Remembering CYC!

When I was growing up, lots of kids were in Camp Fire or Scouts, but not me.  I was a CYCer!  CYC (Christian Youth Crusaders) was the Free Methodist version of Scouts and we met every Wedesday evening during the school year.

We had uniforms and handbooks, and we worked toward badges, just like in other programs.  Each session began with our song and pledges, then a time in our squadrons to tally up our points for the week.  The rest of the evening was spent on a missions lesson, a Bible story, a movie, a craft, or a party, and reminders to keep working on those pins and badges at home.

During my CYC days, there were Cadets (grades 4-6) and Crusaders (grades 7-9); later they began programs for younger children -- Heralds for grades 1-3 and Joybells for kindergarteners.

I loved Lucille Robinson's monthly missionary stories and the challenge of memorizing scripture; I enjoyed the fellowship of a large children's program in a relatively small church; and I felt safe and cared for at CYC.  Our church had a strong sense of family, and CYC allowed the kids and the grown-ups to be a part of each others' lives.

I especially liked singing in the Cadet Quartet.  My brother Tom and our friend Suzy traded off singing alto and tenor, and Tom's best friend, David, and I sang soprano.  (David is now a deep bass, but that didn't come till he got into Crusaders!)  Our repertoire was limited to Great is Thy Faithfulness and one other hymn that has long since slipped my mind, but, boy did we know those songs well!  And we were pretty good for a group of young kids!  (Suzy had many talents.  She was also the best baseball player of all the Cadets.  She even had her own mitt, and would bring it along on the nights that we went to the playground at Longfellow School for recreation night!)
David, me, Suzy and Tom

Do you like our outfits?  We got points for wearing dark skirts/trousers and white shirts.  I think the boys wore hats, too, but they didn't wear them inside the church.

Each week we recited the Cadet Promise (with hand motions): "Taking Jesus as my example and Saviour, as a Cadet Crusader I will try to increase in wisdom, stature, and in favor with God and man." Our handbook, Cadet Trails, laid out a systematic program to help us fulfill this promise, and we spent the year demonstrating our growth through the pins and badges we earned.

Our efforts were rewarded at Honor Council, the last night of the year, where we received our awards before the whole church.
Tom, David, Margurite and Suzy displaying their pins and badges
Some of the Cadets receiving our awards
That's me, third kid from the right, in front of my dad.
Mom's on the far left. 
I loved going to CYC, and I really loved going to CYC camp.  But that's a story for a different blog...

(Thanks, Suzy -- now Sue -- for loaning me the slides from CYC days.  It was fun to see them, and to remember)


Joan Husby said...

This must have been just about the time I came to Everett and the FM church. Such fun to try to see what faces I can remember!

glennteal said...

Very nice -- I remember well!

Gary Dean said...

I went through those same years in the Bremerton Church which is now gone, but the memories and the connections are still alive!!

Leslee Graves said...

I recently found all of my CYC awards from my elementary school days! It started when I was in the 2nd grade so when I was in the 5th grade I went back to complete all of the stuff for 1st grade so I could get the John Wesley Award. I won the first award given in Michigan. I wore the beanie, hat, scarf, slide and t-shirt proudly. The girls in my neighborhood were jealous of all that we did in CYC. Thanks for writing about CYC I was beginning to think that I was the only one who remembered.

Ginger Kauffman said...

Fun to hear from you all!

Dale & Liz said...

I just posted a link to your blog on the Growing Up Free Methodist group on Facebook as a comment on another CYC post. We're trying to remember the words to the Cadet song, which I SHOULD remember as I was a CYC director for several years. "Cadets for Jesus, Cadets for the King ...."

Dale Cryderman
Brooklyn, MI

Anita said...

I think CYC was started when I was a teenager so I missed it. But...my five children were all in it, all the way through. It was such a good program.

Ginger Kauffman said...

OK, Dale, I think I have the words to the Cadets song:

Cadets for Jesus,
Cadets for the King,
We love and serve our Savior,
His great Kingdom to bring.
With Christ we conquer,
Defeat every foe,
Cadets for Jesus brave and true,
Forward we go!

Dale & Liz said...

Thanks, Ginger. Now I remember it well.


Randy said...

I was in CYC in the Fulton, New York Free Methodist Church. After 50 some years, I still remember some great times with my friends there. The church is no more. How sad!
Wish the church I now attend had something for children. Maybe I can suggest something like this.

Ginger Kauffman said...

Randy, our church currently has CLC, Christian Life Club. It is similar to CYC in that kids earn badges and the format for the evenings is similar. Maybe it is a program your church could consider.

Unknown said...

I attended a Wesleyan Church growing up. We also had CYC. Ithe was started my last year as a Herald and when I got out of Cadets,I was so upset I couldn't move up, so I was given the 1st graders to teach. I did that until my sophomore year of high school until our denomination disbanded it.
I am now a wed night leader at that same Wesleyan church and wish CYC was still an option for kids now.

Ginger Kauffman said...

Thanks for sharing your story! I'mm glad your church had the wisdom to let you work in the program when you were too old to be a CYCer yourself. Maybe you'd like to look into CLC, which is similar to CYC. (It stands for Christian Life Club.) Here's the link: WPHonline.com