If you follow my Facebook page you’ve probably heard me mention Keepers of the Faith. My girls have been a part of a local group since we moved to the area a few years ago, and we have all really enjoyed the fellowship and projects.
I had a reader ask me to talk more about Keepers, so I thought I’d write a post and explain how our group works and how you can form a group or find a group to participate in. Please, keep in mind, my experience is unique because all Keepers groups are unique due to their autonomous nature. Also, keep in mind this post is specifically pertaining to the girls club and not the boys; however, much of the same information applies to the boys club.
How Our Keepers of the Faith Club is Organized
Our group does not have a “leader” per se. One person always emerges as the organized one, but all the moms in the group have input, as do the girls.
The moms get together a couple of times a year to discuss the next 6 months of projects. Typically, we have previously discussed with our girls some of the projects they are interested in doing as a group so we can bring those to the table. We choose the project, who will lead it, and where the meeting will be held.
The moms have a private Facebook group to send out messages, share photos, and remind people of meeting dates and anything they might need to bring.
We meet once a month in one of our homes or at a local church. We open with prayer, the club Bible verse (we have chosen to learn it in another version), and the mission of Keepers of the Faith.
Usually, we have a Character Lesson that fits well with the skill we are learning. When we worked on American Sign Language, we had a Character Lesson on Attentiveness. At Christmas time we worked on Charity. Keepers of the Faith have their own booklets for each Character Lesson, but we don’t always use theirs. There are a lot of resources online that can be used for free. Typically, the mom leading the project also leads the Character Lesson.
After that, we start the monthly project. Each project has a certain set of skills the girls are to learn. Sometimes all of the skills can be learned in a meeting, and sometimes the girls have to go home and finish up.
For instance, a few months ago, we did Plastic Canvas.
The mom in charge taught all the stitches, but to finish the project, each girl had to finish 2 different plastic canvas projects. We only had time for 1 that day, so it was up to us to finish at home.
I will talk more about this in the next section, but I also want to mention here that because Keepers of the Faith is parent-led and autonomous, each family has the choice of what equates completing a project. I could have chosen to make that one project the fulfillment of the requirement to complete the Plastic Canvas badge, but I knew my girls were capable of doing more, and my 9 year really enjoyed it! (In fact, she received MORE plastic canvas and project books as a birthday present!)
Meetings last about 2 hours. The girls ages range from 6 to 14.
How We Handle Multiple Ages -
We are a small group, so we haven’t seen much of a need to separate the girls out by age. Yes, we have different skill levels, but we really haven’t had much trouble coming up with activities that are suited to all age levels. The girls are welcome to work on other badges at home, so we try to keep the monthly meetings to projects that are good for everyone.
Some of the moms have chosen to award their younger girls with the silver badges and then work through the book when they are older and receive a second badge in gold. This means the younger girls can work at their level and still be rewarded for their effort without needing to complete the entire project at the same level as the older girls.
We have chosen to buy the actual pin badges and put them on the sash. There are sites that have patches that coincide with the different KOF projects, but I wanted the ease of pins, so that’s what we went with.
You don’t have to award with badges, but I’ve found the girls are highly motivated by the badges and the Awards Ceremony we have a couple of times a year.
Our Awards Ceremony is not a huge to-do either. We just can’t seem to coordinate a night that allows for a major celebration, so we will often do it at the same time as our monthly meeting and have snacks afterward. We only do an Awards Ceremony when all the moms feel it is time. Each mother is responsible for tracking and purchasing badges to hand out at the Awards Ceremony.
Our club itself has no dues. If an individual project requires an investment in supplies by the hosting mother, then she lets everyone know the cost for that project (usually via the Facebook group), and we come prepared to pay that amount per child participating. I don’t think it has ever been over $3.
You will need a handbook for each girl. There are also Companion Notebooks, but we have chosen not to purchase these.
The badges also cost, but you only purchase those on occasion, and you can choose to cut costs by going through a 3rd party that sells the project patches at a cheaper rate. You will probably want to purchase or make a sash to put the badges on.
You can buy a Keepers t-shirt, but it isn’t necessary at all. We do not require our girls to dress alike at meetings.
There are Leadership Materials you can purchase if you would like to start up your own club. These are good to have if you’ve never been a part of a Keepers Club and need some help figuring out how to get it off the ground.
You might also want to check out the Club Locator to see if there is a KOF club near you, but keep in mind, not all clubs register, so there might be one near you that isn’t on the map. Ask around!
Can’t find one? Start your own!
How to Start Your Own Keepers of the Faith Club
At Home, On Your Own -
Buy the handbook for each of your girls, and work through them on your own. This would be a great addition to your homeschool!
Find Others to Join You -
Look to your local homeschool group or your church to find other moms and girls interested in joining you in a more club-like atmosphere. Purchase the Complete Starter Kit, set a meeting with the moms, and start planning!
Remember, this is YOUR club! You can make it as structured or unstructured as you like. Our group has done very well with a more low-key approach, but your group may need something different. You may get large enough to split off into age groups, or you may want to meet more than once a month, or you may want to have a more structured meeting that is planned out more than 6 months in advance. Any or all of these are totally appropriate!