AB GIRLS: And so… it happened … Fall 2015

by Claudia Little

When I agreed to take this position again, after a 20-year break, I admit that I thought maybe I had been seized by a mental disease and lost all common sense.

Doing this and working with teen age girls at age 35 was a challenge, doing it at age 65 was going to require a miracle. And so… it happened.

I have spent the last year emailing, promoting, visiting associations, calling and begging for participation in our AB Girls program.

I remind everyone that AB Girls is a branch of the ABWM…not a separate identity, or a part of the NYS youth program.

It is a part of US.  Hence, its’ success or failure is upon us. the women of ABW of New York State.

I’d like to think that there are a few more people aware of our needs. I KNOW there are some girls out there who WANT to a part of it and I PRAY that many of you may find it in your hearts to become a part, support a part, or share the word.

As I traveled and talked, I learned and I’d like to share some of that knowledge.

  1. Girls are different that they used to be
  2. Girls are busier than they used to be.
  3. The number of girls in our churches is declining
  4. The money to fund these girls is tough to find
  5. It’s really hard to find someone to lead a girls group – even if you have a few

I also want to share some other knowledge

  1. Girls may be different than they were 20 years ago, but they are still fragile, insecure and needy especially when it comes to social areas. They’re vulnerable in a world that at times seems to be a wolf nipping at their heels.
  2. Girls are very busy, but there are some that are being overlooked that are not so busy, and some that are busy because that’s better than being at home. They still welcome and yearn for a place where they can feel safe and comfortable.
  3. Almost all of us are experiencing a decline in church attendance, which in turn means fewer girls. But you may note that our title is not LARGE GROUPS OF AB GIRLS. If only 1 or 2 girls are reached… this is what God has asked us to do. Set your expectations at a reasonable level. An afternoon baking cookies, shopping, doing a craft, or just talking counts as an AB Girls gathering. We don’t base our success on numbers; we base our successes on our faith and our ability to share it.
  4. Times are tough, money is tight…but if you look at your church, and your own personal finances.is there not something else that could be cut back a little? Have you looked at your congregation? Is there possibly someone who would love to help touch these young lives?
  5. Women are busy too these days. Asking someone to donate several hours a week or month to AB Girls is asking a lot. But what about asking 4 women to devote an hour a week. That mom with little ones really can’t pay a sitter while she meets with a group – but what if someone offered some free babysitting?

Many, many young women that I have talked to, want to do more, but their finances won’t allow for trips, meetings, taking days off to attend conference or paying for them to attend the annual conference. As supporters of ABWM and AB Girls (again, remember – we’re all one group), why not help them financially, spiritually and emotionally?

If it were not for my mom, the women of my church and some women who are in this room from ABWM of NYS I would not have been able to lead and touch the lives of so many girls in years past. I was so fortunate to have these women then, and some of them now.

Please consider being one of those women for someone in your church. With your support, the future of our churches may look a little brighter.

On a very pleasant note. The AB Girls convention was a huge success this year. We met in July on the Houghton campus. A total of 31 girls and 8 adults gathered for 3 days of fun, faith and fellowship.

I have never been so proud as I was of the 2015 commission as they led this group. They came together ready to work and lead ….and they did. Keep in mind that the age range is now age 8-18 – a small challenge in itself, but we did it!

I’m pleased to announce that again this year, we were financially independent, paid all our own bills and are financially sound to plan next year’s event.

The dates for next year are June 30 –July 3rd, at the Houghton College location.  I’m so happy that we could obtain these dates; hoping to not be in competition with camps, summer schools and summer employment – yet everyone gets home for the 4th of July.

Pastor Sherrie Alderman will be our spiritual leader. She is from Niagara Falls and is a great, high-energy woman who I know will be able to relate to and interact with these young women.

I am hoping that there will be a good AB Girls presence at our annual conference.

We are planning a separate agenda for them during some portions of the weekend and I know that you will enjoy their life and energy as we meet together.

Please spread the word to your church, your women’s groups and your youth groups…. all girls ages 8-18 are welcome.  We do ask that for every 4 girls attending, an adult from that church will accompany them.

NOW is the time to start your fund raising for girls and women to attend Owego in April.

Thank you for giving me the opportunity to re-visit this position and to get to know these young women and their leaders.

I recently read an inscription in a book presented to me by the commission of 1995. One of the girls wrote “Thank you for this experience. You have supported, encouraged and guided me through a time I will never forget. This will always hold a special part in my heart”

This is what we need to offer to our girls. They so deserve it and their experiences now will mold our churches of tomorrow.

Claudia Little, NYS Chm of AB Girls

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1 Response

  1. Sandy H says:

    Claudia, thanks so much for your work on behalf of girls! I loved reading these words and will be in prayer for the AB GIRLS of NYS. May your efforts bear fruit and may you feel always the strength of God’s presence in your ministry.
    Sandy Hasenauer
    Associate Executive Director
    AB Women’s Ministries

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