The Marines’ Club is a Christian club for teens and resembles a combination of scouting and a Bible study group. It is a club in which discipline, communication, leadership, cooperating and following God are central issues. The highest aim is: becoming a ‘genuine marine’!
The aim of the Marines’ Club is that all Roma teenagers can develop on their own levels. We call this development: becoming a ‘genuine marine’.
A ‘genuine marine’ has a positive outlook on life, respects authority and has the wish to serve others. A ‘genuine marine’ uses his words to the advantage of others and speaks positively about others. A ‘genuine marine’ tries his utmost to grow, and does not quit, despite setbacks. A ‘genuine marine’ lives up to his promises and can be trusted.
Also, it is our deepest desire that the ‘marines’ may get to know God as a loving God, and that they may let His will determine their choices in life.
The Marines’ Club has been a steady factor in teenagers’ lives for some time now. Teens love to tell about things they experience in the Marines’ Club. Things they learn, but also their dreams about the Club. They want to become ‘captains’ and have their own leading role in the Club. The characteristics of a ‘marine’ can be truly used in the Marines’ Club, but in everyday life this can sometimes be difficult. Our eldest ‘marines’ (15-18) prepare for a leadership role in the Club. We see the choices they make for their own lives are often influenced by what they have learned at the Club.
In 2010 we recognized the social and spiritual needs of the teenagers of Rȃndunelelor Street (Swallow Street). There was a group of teenagers for which nothing was organised by the Church (nor other organizations) to get them acquainted with the Gospel and support them to understand life better and make good choices. So, we started the Marines’ Club as a Christian club for teenagers. Its concept resemble a combination of scouting and a Bible study group. We started with 12 ‘marines’ from 14 to 16 years of age. At the moment there are 28 ‘marines’, who are 12 to 18 years old.
What does the program look like?
On arrival each ‘marine’ gets his own ‘marine’s collar’ which indicates which rank the ‘marine’ has: 3rd, 2nd and 1st marine, team leader, navigator or captain. Besides this collar all ‘marines’ have their own coloured insignia which indicate their development in various areas such as cooperation, cleaning, being a good example, etc.
We start Club-time with some manifestations of discipline including the ‘marines’ salute’ and our Club’s song, which is followed by a rollcall. After these standard formalities there is a moment of prayer. During the prayer the ‘marines’ do not wear their ‘marines’ collars’, since there is no difference between a ‘marine’ and a ‘captain’ when we stand before God – as all members of the Marines’ Club will acknowledge.
The Bible study is always part of the annual theme. There also is time for worship.
The Bible study is followed by a game or doing a creative assignment, in which teambuilding and skills such as cooperating, leadership and communicative skills are the goals.
After a drink and some candy there are other fixed scheduled parts.
Afterwards the room is cleaned by some ‘marines’.
Besides the Marines’ Club-meetings every Friday, there are other special moments during the year. At Christmas and Easter we visit the psychiatric ward of the local hospital. We sing, dance and pray with the patients. At the end of the visit, all patients receive a box with savoury gifts.
In the autumn we have a special day of training during which the keywords are: adventure, cooperation, spending time together. If the group of ‘marines’ develops positively, in spring a three days training program is organized. These three days are a mix of fun games, challenging walks, physical exercises in the early mornings and moments when we work on the relationship with God and His guidance in our lives.