Operation Christmas Child

We’ve been tossing confetti around the GEMS office lately in celebration of our partnership with Operation Christmas Child (OCC) whom we’ve collaborated with since 2018. This alliance has been fruitful in many ways with OCC helping to sponsor our Sisterhood Summit each year and in return many of our GEMS Girls’ Clubs participate in filling shoeboxes for OCC. This past year our clubs packed a total of 5,006 boxes–surpassing our goal and nearly doubling the amount of boxes packed in 2022.

Both of our organizations are working in different ways to tangibly bring the Gospel to children. This partnership is a win/win for everyone! Our volunteer leaders are blessed by OCC’s financial support which helps keep the Summit registration fee low and GEMS girls are blessed by giving and serving others. Thanks again, OCC, for your support of GEMS Girls’ Clubs.

Did you know we started 23 new clubs in 2023?

Starting a GEMS Club is as easy as recruiting volunteer leaders, inviting girls to come to the club, and finding a space to hold your meetings. GEMS has everything else you need to begin.

That’s why one of our leaders, Joanie, from our GEMS Club at Friendship Christian Reformed Church in Byron Center, Michigan, reached out to us and asked how we could help her support a club in Nairobi, Kenya. Joanie had traveled to Kenya on a mission trip for other reasons, but was introduced to Doreen who was meeting with approximately 40 girls and calling it a GEMS Club after hearing that name from the local Cadet Club. But she had no knowledge of GEMS, no supplies, no curriculum and no funds.

After learning this, Joanie pursued helping them start an official GEMS Club. Her club paid for Doreen’s GEMS international membership so she could access materials and the church held a fundraiser and purchased curriculum for Doreen’s Club. The Nairobi club is currently going through our LOVED curriculum and has 31 girls signed up, with four leaders mentoring. Doreen says, “The girls are attending our club consistently and enthusiastically. We have seen self-acceptance being evident in some of them and several can lead prayers in their homes where there were no family prayers.”

We love to start new clubs and reach more girls for Jesus Christ. Please let us know if you have an idea of where a club could be started whether in the United States, Canada, or anywhere around the world.

GEMS on Fire

Our GEMS Girls’ Clubs can often be found performing acts of kindness in their communities as they learn the value of serving. In Mississauga, Canada, our Meadowvale Church Club recently blessed their local fire department by creating EMS (Emergency Munchie Stash) boxes for the firefighters that included written notes of appreciation along with chocolate bars, gum, protein snacks, and cough drops. The staff at the fire department were able to spend some time with the girls despite answering three emergency calls during the girls’ visit.

Helping Girls Shine Brighter for Jesus

If your tween girl struggles to make or keep friends, our new ShineBrightly BFF Box is a great solution and is now available for purchase!

According to a report published by ROX*, when girls have supportive relationships with both adults and friends, they enjoy school at higher rates, have lower reports of sadness, and higher reports of confidence.

That’s what we want for all girls and why we created our ShineBrightly BFF Box to help tween girls, ages 7-12, navigate new and existing friendships. This faith-filled resource includes the newly-released book, Let’s Be Friends: A Tween Devotional on Finding and Keeping Strong Friendships, written by a mother and daughter to help girls develop strong friendships and recognize Jesus as their greatest Friend.

The box contains Conversation Cards, Nail Stickers, Hair Clips, and more fun treasures that a girl can share with a friend or use as an ice-breaker in making a new friend. To purchase the ShineBrightly BFF Box, order one today here!


*ROX – www.rulingourexperiences.com/research

New Florida Club Impacts Nearly 100 Girls

A new GEMS club began in Saint Johns, Florida, last year and according to the Club Coordinator, Becca, 88 girls immediately joined. This year they are still going strong with 99 girls. While it’s much more than just numbers that make a GEMS Club successful, it is wonderful to see so many girls being impacted with the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Since the club began, five GEMS girls have been baptized, over 10 girls learned to recite all the books of the Bible, and many other girls have been memorizing Scripture. Becca is grateful for the support of 20 leaders and multiple women who fill in when the regular leaders are not available. She says the club has an awesome group of moms who gather to help prep the crafts and snacks, and the support from their church family has been overwhelming.

But what Becca says is really amazing about their group is this, “About half of the girls don’t attend church at all. Their time together at the club is their only exposure to the life and love of Jesus. Seeing these girls begin to grasp what it means that they are loved by God and then desire to share that love with those around them has been so encouraging. It really proves the importance of this ministry.

Letter from the Executive Director

Dear Friend,

Seasons shift. As Ecclesiastes 3:1 reminds us, There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens. I recently shared my season as GEMS Executive Director will wrap up on May 31, 2024. (If you missed the announcement, please read it here.) Although my GEMS role will soon change, my belief in the good work God is doing through GEMS friends—like YOU—will not. Your commitment to the vision of Girls Everywhere Meeting the Savior is being carried out worldwide through your generous giving and passionate prayers. Thank you for the joy of serving together over the past seven years. Regardless of the season, I’ll always be grateful for you.

Serving Together,

Cindy Bultema
GEMS Executive Director

P.S. Questions about the transition? Please email me at cindy@gemsgc.org (until 5/31/24) or Grace Moes, GEMS Board President, at boardpresident@gemsgc.org. We are here to serve you!

Today’s Relevance of an Enduring Tradition

Each year we hear from GEMS leaders about their nostalgia for the badges their girls can earn and adhere to their scarves (or another creative mounting) for safekeeping. We thought you’d like to know that badges are still alive and well!

Last year the highest selling badge was the ETIQUETTE badge.

Many of our GEMS Clubs use the GEMS Discovery Place Badgebook with its instructions for earning the 100 badges we currently have along with the annual theme badges. Recently, we calculated that the number of total badges sold in 2023 was an amazing 53,664! So while the badge program is not a requirement, it is clearly still popular.

Although badges like Baking and First Aid are timeless, there are others that may not be relevant. For this reason, we are beginning preparations for updating our badge book and would welcome any suggestions for new badges or updates on current ones. You can email your ideas to stories@gemsgc.org.

This year our Sisterhood Summit will be held in the Chicagoland area on July 18-20. We have a great lineup of speakers planned who are some of the more recognizable voices in Christian leadership today including Allison Allen, Jill Savage, and Jonathan Pitts.

This event is created for our highly-valued, volunteer leaders who serve as mentors to GEMS girls. These leaders work tirelessly each year to ensure that girls learn valuable life skills, how to build relationships with each other, and most importantly, how to live in a dynamic relationship with Jesus Christ.

The Sisterhood Summit helps leaders grow by learning new leadership strategies, sharing ideas with each other, and building their faith. They return to their GEMS Clubs and start the new season refreshed, renewed, and armed with new initiatives on how to lead their girls more effectively.

We are grateful to have sponsors for our Summit as it helps us keep this event affordable for our volunteer leaders who join us from around the world. Anyone interested in sponsoring this event can CLICK HERE for more details.

Learn More About Summit Sponsorship Opportunities