1958 to Today
In 1957, God brought together a group of women with a passion for helping girls grow closer to Him. As a result, GEMS Girls’ Clubs (then Calvinettes) was born. Today, GEMS Girls’ Clubs is still seeing that passion lived out across the world. God’s Spirit is moving, and the GEMS ministry is touching the lives of thousands of women and girls each year. Take a look at some of the Annual Themes and Theme Songs from years past.
Our milestone dates:
GEMS holds its first online auction.
The Esther School in Zambia starts
it second year with a new first grade classroom
The Esther School in Zambia opens!
GEMS International is introduced as
the newest facet to the overall ministry.
It is decided to adapt GEMS Zambian
curriculum for use in all developing countries.
Two interns travel to Zambia to work with clubs,
help with training, and support the growing number of CITs there.
GEMS partners with Zonderkidz to bring The
Beauty of Beliving Tour to Grand Rapids, MI
Construction on The Esther School in Zambia began.
Happy 50th Anniversary GEMS/Calvinettes
The GEMS website is given a completely new
and fresh look. SHINE brightly circulation is
15, 578. Sparkle circulation is 5,119.
A promo video for GEMS Girls’ Clubs is created.
This can be used in churches or at large
community gatherings to promote GEMS.
Christian Service Brigade partners with GEMS.
A team goes to Zambia, Africa to build The House
that GEMS Built for orphans. Training for Zambian
women to be GEMS Counselors also takes place.
Four new clubs are started in Zambia, Africa.
GEMS Girls’ Clubs is introduced to the
idea of expanding GEMS Clubs to Zambia.
Believin’ It Girlz Tour is the new name
given to the previously named Power House.
New version of Jesus is All the World
to Me by Colleen & Grace is produced.
The first Heartwarming Christmas Tour of
Homes is held – a fundraiser for GEMS Girls’ Clubs.
The name of Counselor’s Convention was
changed to Counselors’ Leadership Conference.
SHINE brightly sold through QSP –Reader’s
Digest Fundraiser Program – catalog, enabling
girls not in club to more easily purchase the magazine.
GEMS has been invited to be involved in the
Girls of Grace tour organized by Point of Grace.
New website for GEMS unveiled.
Touch magazine has a name change – SHINE brightly.
A new magazine for Awareness Level girls is introduced – Sparkle.
Power House is the new name given to the previously
named Celebration Gatherings.
Bridges board game is designed.
ACTS (Area Counselor Training and Support Program)
adopted. Thirty Four areas replaced the existing 52 councils.
This will provide on enhanced plan for delivering training to leaders.
Finishing Touches! On Guard Series
& Kingdom Kids made available.
1st Get Connected! Camp is held on Lake
Tippecanoe in Webster, Indiana
Happy 40th Birthday GEMS/Calvinettes
1st Celebration Gathering held in Grand Rapids, Michigan.
GEB approves revising the Discovery Badge Book
and utilizing more color on the merit badges.
Touch magazine goes full color throughout!
GEB (GEMS Executive Board) decides to adopt
the title Club Coordinator instead of Head Counselor.First Annual
GEMS Golf Classic held – a fundraiser for GEMS Girls’ Clubs.
New advanced curriculum Finishing Touches!
completed and approved to market outside of GEMS/Calvinettes.
A new logo for GEMS Girls’ Clubs was adopted.
GEMS Girls’ Clubs chosen as the new name of the ministry.
This was done in an effort to better convey our mission
and vision – helping bring girls everywhere into a living,
dynamic relationship with Jesus Christ.
Approved adopting new version of Jesus is All the World
to Me by Colleen & Grace. Touch utilizes first full color insert.
Touch circulation is 15,000.
Jan Boone begins tenure as Executive Director. New
Awareness materials to replace Busy Bees and Blossoms
and Beehives. Titles for new materials: God’s Kids
(grade 1), Hearts Reaching Up to God, and Hearts
Reaching Out to Others (grades 2 & 3).
Jo Ilbrink retires as Executive Director.
The Awareness Level names to include: Grade One – Observer,
Grade Two – Learner,Grade Three – Achiever. CEB approves
Touch to include use of full color on some pages.
Jan Boone selected to be Executive
Director upon Jo Ilbrink’s retirement.
Celebrate 25th Annual Calvinette
Counselors’ Convention at Wheaton, Illinois.
The CEB (Calvinettes Executive Board) approved
expanding Awareness Calvinettes to first grade.
Personnel Committee accepted Jo Ilbrink’s
intention to retire as of March 1, 1995.
Revised Discovery handbook introduced at
Convention in Vancouver, British Columbia.
Decision made to change the name of
Busy Bees to Awareness Calvinettes.
A program introduced to minister to girls who
live in isolated areas: mission fields, military bases, etc.
Clothes Designed by Jesus for Busy Bees
introduced at Convention in London, Ontario.
Women of Faith – Then and Now for Busy Bees
introduced at Convention in Sioux Falls, South Dakota.
Position of part-time Leadership Training Coordinator approved.
Decision made to begin long-range plan to
unify all program levels and materials.
Happy 25th Anniversary GEMS/Calvinettes
Bible helps publication renamed Connections,
mailed three times per year to registered clubs.
Cable becomes a quarterly publication to counselors.
First theme badge developed, first
theme sectional offered at Convention.
A committee was appointed to write new material
for Advanced Calvinettes to replace Manna
Publications’ Charm Course.
Jo Ilbrink hired as the first full-time Executive Director.
A survey showed approximately 20% of girls in
Calvinettes did not come from families who attended church.
Adopted as Calvinette verse and aim: Micah 6:8,
song: Jesus Is All the World to Me.
Program revisions included: The youngest girls
would be called Busy Bees. Uniform suggested:
a yellow vest with a bee insignia for membership.
The rank structure was dropped from current programs.
Report on program revision committee: Badges for
Junior and Senior Calvinettes should be separated.
The three ministries of Cadets, Calvinettes, and
YCF joined together as UCY (United Calvinist Youth)
and were all housed in the same building in Grand Rapids, MI.
Touch Circulation at 9,700.
First issue of Touch published
1st Calvinette Counselors’ Convention held in Niagara Falls, Ontario.
Magazine name: Touch – suggests contact; by touching
we are aware of others. Suggests that girls,
counselors, and the Service Center keep in touch by
sharing ideas, plans, suggestions.