A reader made a comment a few weeks ago that the Followers had a good system to keep the kids busy and out of trouble. This is true. We did have a structured and active social life. I never want to downplay the good things about the FOC.
For every special occasion, we had a formal dance. The formal dances weren’t too much different than the Sunday night dances. We had live bands. But for these special occasion dances, most of the teenaged boys asked a girl to be his date before the event, and both parties bought corsages/boutonnieres for each other. The girls or their mothers sewed or purchased formal gowns for each of these occasions.
Almost as much fun as the dance was the three evenings – Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday before the party when the teenagers gathered in the old church building to decorate. Each party had a theme and a group of teenage girls signed up to design the theme and purchased the supplies for the party. The party my friends and I organized was New Years. We went with a black and white theme, drove to Portland for the supplies we couldn’t find in the storage cupboards in the back room.
While all the teens came together for these three evenings, it was just as much for socializing as for decorating. The boys generally didn’t help decorate unless they were needed for heavy lifting. Groups of girls created a wall of names – with the party theme in mind, each teenager’s name was written on a cutout (boys in one color, girls in another); others put up streamers and wall decor. For the New Years Parties, we blew up hundred of balloons, threw in confetti and candy, and hung three large clear plastic sheets filled with these goodies to be dropped at midnight for the waiting kids.
A lot of drama could happen at these and other gatherings where dozens of teenaged boys and girls gathered. New romances sparked, couples broke up or reconciled, girls argued with their best friends. This church, these teens that God had destined to be in this place, they were our entire lives and world.