Caravan is a scouting, or kids’ club, type of program that
typically meets once a week, usually on Wednesday night.
Children are assigned to one of the three major groups –
Searchers (first and second graders), Explorers (third and fourth
graders), or Adventurers (fifth and sixth graders) – according
to their grade in school.
Each group is under the direction of one or more adult leaders
who are called “guides.” The awarding of badges is
an optional part of this program.
LeRoy Haynes wanted boys and girls to learn the beliefs and doctrines
of the Church of the Nazarene. He planned and organized the first
Nazarene club program for use in his local church in the 1930s.
Word of this successful new approach spread quickly.
In 1934, the Southern California district actively launched "Boy's
Work" under the direction of LeRoy Haynes. In 1935, the district
program expanded to include "Girl's Work" with Jeanne
Haynes as the director.
As the program grew, people from across the United States and
the British Isles began contacting LeRoy and Jeanne Haynes for
help in setting up local Nazarene club programs.
At about the same time, Rev. W. W. Clay was concerned about creating
a program that would teach Christian principles to kids. He developed
two programs, "Bluebirds" for young children and "Pioneers"
for older children.
Rev. Clay invited Rev. Milton Bunker to work with him to develop
and promote these club programs.
Interest in Nazarene children's club programs grew, but a problem
occurred as the number of club programs increased. The local churches
and districts were handicapped by the lack of a unified program
and inadequate materials.
Therefore, the 1940 General Assembly called for a "Commission
on Boys' and Girls' Work" to find a solution.
On November 17-18 in Santa Cruz, California, representatives
from six western districts, three members of the commission on
Boys' and Girls' Work, and two members of the Department of Church
Schools attended an historic meeting.
The decision was made for the Church of the Nazarene to develop
its own children's club program.
A committee was appointed to prepare the manuscripts for the
Nazarene Caravan program. The newly–created club program
was presented to and approved by the Board of General Superintendents.
In 2005, a Children’s Ministries team, led by the Caravan
Editor, Suzanne Cook, completely revised the Caravan program.
The program was re-structured to adapt easily to the scouting
aspect of Caravan into the evangelistic, visitor-friendly kids’
club type of ministry that it is today.
Among the many changes, Core Values badges were added to the
Core Values are designed to teach children the Articles of Faith
of the Church of the Nazarene.
In addition, several skill badges were added or modified. All
badges and awards in the program were re-designed in full color.
2006 marked the 60th anniversary of the Caravan program.