Boys and Girls Association

Founded on October 26, 1966, this association seeks to convey the joy of faith to boys and girls of fifteen years of age and younger and to help them grow into fine Yoboku. The idea of transmitting the joy of faith from parent to child was nothing new at the time, for Oyasama Herself had worked with Her own children, thus providing a model of how to carry out the "vertical mission," which refers to the transmission of faith from parent to child. What was called the "children's association" had in fact been formed in some churches as far back as 1906, resulting in some organized efforts to nurture children's faith. After the Vertical Mission Committee was established under Mission Section II in 1959, Tenrikyo sought to form a children's association at every church, thereby building the foundation for the present Boys and Girls Association.

The Boys and Girls Association stresses that everyday situations in families and churches, as well as organized association activities, can provide opportunities to convey the joy of faith to children. The goals that the children are encouraged to work toward as members of this association are concisely expressed in the Boys and Girls Association Pledge: "I am a member of the Tenrikyo Boys and Girls Association; I will be faithful to the teachings of God the Parent; devote myself to hinokishin; help others at all times; and strive to become a good Yoboku." In more concrete terms, this association has set forth the Goals for Spiritual Growth for Members of the Boys and Girls Association as follows:

The main goal:

Appreciate being kept alive by God the Parent and savor the joy of living.

Specific goals:

1) Pray to God the Parent.

2) Study the teachings.

3) Learn the dance and musical instruments for the service.

4) Practice early rising, honesty, and working selflessly.

5) Make my parents happy.

6) Get along with others and help others.

7) Speak politely.

8) Take good care of things.

Chapter and regional activities include conventions, camps, fife and drum corps activities, overnight stays at churches, hinokishin activities in local communities, and practice of the dance and the musical instruments for the service. Promoting these activities is one aspect of the work of the Boys and Girls Association Headquarters, which has the Nurturing Section, the Publishing Section, and the General Affairs and Accounting Section. The headquarters also has five research groups that are concerned with the following: Tenrikyo stories for children, audio-visual materials, music, outdoor activities, and recreation. The headquarters produces teaching materials, devises educational activities for the association members, and publishes magazines such as Sansai, which features articles helpful to parents who play a key role in the vertical mission, and Ritomaga, which is a monthly magazine for children. Another aspect of the work of the headquarters is to organize such events as the annual Children's Pilgrimage to Jiba, study meetings for association leaders, camps, and courses in the vertical mission.