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More than 500 GEMS Girls’ Club counselors gathered at Redeemer University College in Ancaster, Ontario, for the 40th annual GEMS leadership conference.

GEMS, an acronym for “Girls Everywhere Meeting the Savior,” is offered in many Christian Reformed churches in the United States and Canada, and now also in Zambia.

The counselors came to the conference for training, inspiration, spiritual growth, encouragement, and fellowship.

“It’s the kind of thing every counselor should go to,” said Ettie Wybenga, of Hagersville, Ontario, who is eager to take what she learned back to the girls in her local club. “[GEMS Executive Director Jan Boone] was inspiring,” she said, adding that she also was reminded that “we can take everything back to God. There’s nothing too small.”

The theme of this year’s convention and GEMS year, “Prayer: No Worries,” is based on Philippians 4:6.

GEMS, established 50 years ago under the original name “Calvinettes,” ministers to 23,000 girls in more than 800 clubs, with 5,200 women serving as counselors.

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