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Surprises in store for fall Acteens curriculum

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)–Eula Parks hardly dropped her luggage before she dug through the packet of information she’d received and pulled out “The Mag.” She gathered the girls in her Acteens group and together they flipped through the publication. She liked what she saw.

“It looks very good,” said the veteran Acteens adviser from Hampton, Va. “I could tell by the girls’ reaction that they connected with it immediately. They’ve really made it user-friendly.”

“The Mag: A Kaleidoscope of Missions Awareness and Growth” is the new curriculum designed by national Woman’s Missionary Union for Acteens, a missions education organization for girls in grades seven through 12. The Mag is the result of two years of research, planning and preparation and replaces “Accent.”

It was officially released during the National Acteens Convention July 29-Aug. 1 in Nashville, Tenn. Acteens leaders from around the country received teaching materials, including the newly released, “Acteens Leader.” Groups subscribed to Accent will automatically begin receiving The Mag in time for September study.

“The quality of the lessons in the new material impressed me,” said Parks, who attends West Hampton Baptist Church. “They’ve obviously done their homework.”

The changes are noticeable even before The Mag is ever picked up.

“Acteens will notice a dramatic change in the new, smaller size of their magazine,” said Kym Mitchell, design editor for WMU’s student resource team that developed and produces The Mag. “It fits in their Bibles. It will also bridge the gap between Acteens’ meetings and everyday life.”

Apparently Acteens agree. National Acteens Panelists were impressed when the publication was previewed at the Southern Baptist Convention annual meeting in June. Designers intentionally removed Acteens-specific terminology and placed an emphasis on using language that speaks to a larger audience of teenage girls.

“I’m not really a magazine person,” said Trisha Wise of Gum Springs, Va. “But this is the best magazine I’ve seen for people our age because it fits everybody.”

“I saw a magazine that could be given to girls who didn’t come to Acteens that could draw them in,” said Anna Sanders of Cumming, Ga.

Important elements of The Mag are:

— Four undated devotions and prayers which refer girls to the included prayer calendar.

— The prayer calendar which contains a missionary of the week profile and also a North American Mission Board, International Mission Board and a retired missionary listed for each day.

— Web links to a variety of other information and activities.

— Plenty of blank space for girls to record their thoughts as they interact with the material.

— “Missionary Bytes” focusing on missionaries being studied for the month and linked to the missionaries written about in Acteens Leader.

— “Snapshots” of cultural information and tidbits from the countries where the missionaries being studied serve.

— “Try this at home” will give four suggestions that girls can do at home — hands-on activities that girls can do to impact the world for Christ

Holdovers from Accent are “Dr. T,” music reviews, stories from Acteens groups, missionary kid stories and unreached people group features.

“We wanted to have an exciting new publication,” Mitchell said, “but we listened to our audience and kept the elements of Accent that they enjoyed the most.”

Leaders will notice that their guide also has been radically altered. First, Acteens Leader now will be a quarterly piece instead of monthly with a combined June/July issue. There also is a weekly Bible study designed to nurture the spiritual life of the leader toward a missions lifestyle and a focus on the adult leader’s role as a mentor. Mentoring activities will be weekly features in Acteens Leader.

“We are using a new approach in the creation of this curriculum,” Mitchell said. “A team of writers is working together to compile the sections of material. The teams include a Bible study writer, an activities writer and a missions writer. Each week’s lesson plans will include a complete learning cycle based on the experiential learning theory.”
The Mag and Acteens Leader can be ordered through WMU either by calling 1-800-968-7301 or from www.wmustore.com. (BP) photo posted in the BP Photo Library at www.bpnews.net. Photo title: ‘THE MAG.’