History

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:

2013

October

GEMS holds its first online auction.

September

The Esther School in Zambia starts
it second year with a new first grade classroom

 

 

2012

September

The Esther School in Zambia opens!

2011

July

GEMS International is introduced as
the newest facet to the overall ministry.

 

 

2010

September

It is decided to adapt GEMS Zambian
curriculum for use in all developing countries.

January

Two interns travel to Zambia to work with clubs,
help with training, and support the growing number of CITs there.

2009

November

GEMS partners with Zonderkidz to bring The
Beauty of Beliving Tour to Grand Rapids, MI

July

Construction on The Esther School in Zambia began.

 

 

2008

Happy 50th Anniversary GEMS/Calvinettes

2007

April

The GEMS website is given a completely new
and fresh look. SHINE brightly circulation is
15, 578. Sparkle circulation is 5,119.

March

A promo video for GEMS Girls’ Clubs is created.
This can be used in churches or at large
community gatherings to promote GEMS.

January

Christian Service Brigade partners with GEMS.

 

 

2006

July

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.

2005

September

GEMS Girls’ Clubs is introduced to the
idea of expanding GEMS Clubs to Zambia.

May

Believin’ It Girlz Tour is the new name
given to the previously named Power House.

January

New version of Jesus is All the World
to Me by Colleen & Grace is produced.

 

 

2003

December

The first Heartwarming Christmas Tour of
Homes is held – a fundraiser for GEMS Girls’ Clubs.

November

The name of Counselor’s Convention was
changed to Counselors’ Leadership Conference.

March

SHINE brightly sold through QSP –Reader’s
Digest Fundraiser Program – catalog, enabling
girls not in club to more easily purchase the magazine.

2002

September

GEMS has been invited to be involved in the
Girls of Grace tour organized by Point of Grace.

April

New website for GEMS unveiled.

 

 

2001

May

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.

March

Bridges board game is designed.

2000

November

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.

May

Finishing Touches! On Guard Series
& Kingdom Kids made available.

 

 

1999

August

1st Get Connected! Camp is held on Lake
Tippecanoe in Webster, Indiana

1998

Happy 40th Birthday GEMS/Calvinettes

 

 

 

1997

September

1st Celebration Gathering held in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

1996

November

GEB approves revising the Discovery Badge Book
and utilizing more color on the merit badges.

September

Touch magazine goes full color throughout!

May

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.

March

New advanced curriculum Finishing Touches!
completed and approved to market outside of GEMS/Calvinettes.

January

A new logo for GEMS Girls’ Clubs was adopted.

 

 

1995

November

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.

May

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.

March

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).

February

Jo Ilbrink retires as Executive Director.

January

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.

1994

November

Jan Boone selected to be Executive
Director upon Jo Ilbrink’s retirement.

July

Celebrate 25th Annual Calvinette
Counselors’ Convention at Wheaton, Illinois.

January

The CEB (Calvinettes Executive Board) approved
expanding Awareness Calvinettes to first grade.

 

 

1993

November

Personnel Committee accepted Jo Ilbrink’s
intention to retire as of March 1, 1995.

1992

July

Revised Discovery handbook introduced at
Convention in Vancouver, British Columbia.

June

Decision made to change the name of
Busy Bees to Awareness Calvinettes.

 

 

1990

November

A program introduced to minister to girls who
live in isolated areas: mission fields, military bases, etc.

July

Clothes Designed by Jesus for Busy Bees
introduced at Convention in London, Ontario.

1989

July

Women of Faith – Then and Now for Busy Bees
introduced at Convention in Sioux Falls, South Dakota.

January

Position of part-time Leadership Training Coordinator approved.

 

 

1987

March

Decision made to begin long-range plan to
unify all program levels and materials.

1983

Happy 25th Anniversary GEMS/Calvinettes

 

 

1981

May

Bible helps publication renamed Connections,
mailed three times per year to registered clubs.
Cable becomes a quarterly publication to counselors.

1978

July

First theme badge developed, first
theme sectional offered at Convention.

 

 

1976

May

A committee was appointed to write new material
for Advanced Calvinettes to replace Manna
Publications’ Charm Course.

March

Jo Ilbrink hired as the first full-time Executive Director.

1973

March

A survey showed approximately 20% of girls in
Calvinettes did not come from families who attended church.

 

 

1972

November

Adopted as Calvinette verse and aim: Micah 6:8,
song: Jesus Is All the World to Me.

July

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.

January

Report on program revision committee: Badges for
Junior and Senior Calvinettes should be separated.

1971

April

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.

 

 

 

1970

December

Touch Circulation at 9,700.

September

First issue of Touch published

July

1st Calvinette Counselors’ Convention held in Niagara Falls, Ontario.

February

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.

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