Festival promotes fun, funds for youth groups

June 22, 2003|by RICHARD F. BELISLE

MARLOWE, W.Va. - The Royal Rangers and the Missionettes, Bible-based youth groups fashioned somewhat after Scouting, got a financial boost Saturday at the Marlowe Assembly of God's first Summer Family Fun Festival.

The youth programs - one for boys and one for girls - are ministries for children who belong to the church and for those who don't, said Wendy Chapman, group leader for the Missionettes.

Many of the members are at-risk youths, said David Hite, 26, senior commander of the local Rangers unit.

The youth programs are sponsored by the Assembly of God churches across the country, said the Rev. James Lloyd, pastor of the 120-member church in Marlowe.


Boys from kindergarten age through 12th grade are eligible for the Royal Rangers. Girls age 3 through 12th grade can join the Missionettes.

Rangers wear military-style uniforms with dark blue ties. They go on camping trips and join in other activities similar to those of Boy Scouts, Hite said.

Several tents were sitting at the edge of the church parking lot during the festival Saturday to show Rangers the basics of camping, Hite said.

He joined the Rangers when he was 12, he said.

Missionettes attend retreats with other Missionettes groups and, like the boys, can work toward a series of badges and awards.

"Through Christian-based programs, we teach good values that they can focus on in life," Hite said.

Most of the youth group leaders are parents and grandparents, Chapman said.

Church member Mark Dieter came up with the idea of Saturday's event as a fund-raiser for the youth groups. He estimated about 200 people attended Saturday.

Chapman said the church decided to continue they festival as an annual fund-raiser so the children wouldn't have to go door-to-door to raise money.

"And we don't want fund-raiser after fund-raiser," Hite said.

"The bottom line is we can reach more boys and girls and help to make this community a better place," he said.

Saturday's event featured music by four groups, including Royal Rangers Out, By Faith, the Promising Hands Gospel Singers and Forgiven.

A religious-themed puppet show put on by church members rounded out the day's activities, along with games and craft booths.

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