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Burgeoning Youth Ministries Almost Sink a Boat

In 1942, Navigators held camps for boys and for girls. The Big Bear Boys Camp used a Presbyterian Lodge, with participants “from grammar school through college age, assigned cabins and leaders according to age groups. . . . The whole camp being divided into the Polar Bears and the Grizzly Bears.”

Harold Chrisman, Elroy Robinson, Dawson Trotman and others provided the spiritual challenge. During the week of July 20-27 that year, a similar girls camp took place in which they were urged “to get down to business for the Lord.”

The Navigator clubs were only a small segment of a burgeoning drive to reach this emerging youth culture in ways beyond the traditional skills of local congregations. . . . Youth for Christ was proving astonishingly successful in attracting youth. Thomas Bergler wrote that, “By the end of the war, about one million teenagers gathered every Saturday night in nine hundred churches and auditoriums across the country for Youth for Christ rallies.”

Around this time, Leroy Eims tells how Daws sent him to Washington, DC with Don Rosenberger. He secured a job at the local Sears store. He and Don put on a Saturday Night Club for two or three hundred high schoolers for at least a year.

Leroy tells this story about a near disaster: “We owed everybody money. So, we decided we would do a moonlight cruise on the Potomac. We got Cliff Barrows to come and be a speaker. We had no idea how many people the ferryboat would carry. We just said: Come one, come all. We almost sunk the boat. It was a horrendous crowd. You could hardly move around. All the money we took in was used to pay bills the next day.”

By Donald McGilchrist

Excerpt from the Worldwide Partnership article titled “Youth Ministries.”

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