Adventure Corps Offers a Place for Boys Fellowship
By: Major Mark Satterlee
I come from a generation where a program for boys was non-existent in The Salvation Army. Each corps basically came up with their own thing, and my home corps had nothing to offer young men my age. While the girls had leaders, passed all kinds of badges and invariably got a snack, the boys hung around until they were done or played a little baseball on the empty lot beside the corps building. The only option open to many of us young men at the time was some sort of Scouting program.
Thank God that today in The Salvation Army, we have an official boys program called Adventure Corps. Young men, many of whom come to us from difficult backgrounds and neighborhoods, can come and be a boy, if only for an hour. Having worked with young men in the Adventure Corps program over several years and locations, it is the most exhausting part of your week, yet one of the most gratifying ministries an adult can have.
It was always somewhat of a surprise to me as I worked with Adventure Corps that a boy had never hammered a nail, built something with his own
hands, learned to tie a necktie or swung a baseball bat before. I will never forget the look of accomplishment and excitement on a young man’s face when he built and launched his first model rocket in the backyard of the corps. Our annual awards night, when boys received patches for the badges they earned at our corps or camp, became one of the more significant nights in their young lives. The smiles on their faces were surpassed only by the smiles on the faces or their parents.
If ever there was a boys program that is needed in The Salvation Army and in our nation, it is Adventure Corps. Sure, girls can do everything that the boys can do. No one would argue that point. However, is there a place where a boy can be among other boys with a male adult figure to look up to?
We have called upon the Men’s Clubs to get involved with their local Adventure Corps program, if they aren’t already, by resourcing that program in some way, either by providing funds or providing manpower. We firmly believe that the men of today are needed to pour themselves into the men of tomorrow.