congress2013Congress is the annual board meeting of the Cadet organization. As with most boards of directors, the congressmen are the people who are given the task of making sure that the organization stays true to its mission statement (Helping boys to grow more Christlike in all areas of life) and, as a Christian organization, that it is building a vibrant and spirit-filled future. Each council is allowed to elect congressmen to represent them at this annual meeting. The number of congressmen that represent a council is dependent on the number of clubs in the council. Independent clubs are represented by the Independent Club Consultant. The congressmen meet in West Michigan for three days every January to have visioning discussions, review programs and materials, approve a budget, elect executive committee members, participate in educational workshops, review recommendations, and review and vote on proposals. Proposals come from the general membership of counselors (via their councils or for independent clubs, via the club consultant). Any active Cadet counselor can make a proposal to Congress but it will be reviewed by the executive committee (See Proposals and Recommendations tab for specific information on proposals).

Here is a slide show from the 2019 Cadet Congress


Who are the congressmen? They are counselors who are elected by their local council to represent their council at Congress. They are the “men in the trenches” who know how the tools and training of the ministry is utilized in the local club. Perhaps these men do not get a lot of recognition by worldly standards for their dedication to serving Him, but the Lord rejoices at their heart for bringing young men and boys before Him.

The 2020 executive committee members are:
Front row (left to right): Jim Hoekstra, Chaplain; Randy TenBrink, Vice President; Scott Klooster, Visioning Team Rep.; Sam Bysma, Secretary
Back row (left to right): Gerrit Sterk, Treasurer; Ron Mohr, DYM Rep.; Dave Mast, President; Steve Bootsma, Executive Director; Rich VanVeen, DYM Alternate

Their Work
Making sure that the decisions of congress are carried out by the staff, reviewing proposals for congress, developing and overseeing the budget, and making decisions that affect how the work of the staff is accomplished, are the basic tasks of a group of men called the executive committee. There are nine men on this committee — the Corps chaplain, the executive director, the Corps president, and six additional members. They meet once a month or as often as the Corps president deems necessary. Every year at congress three congressmen are elected out of a pool of congressmen nominees. An executive committee member’s term is for two years. The Corps president, who chairs the executive committee, is elected for a three-year term by Cadet counselors through votes cast at council meetings. The Corps chaplain is appointed by the executive committee. The executive director is the only paid staff who is a part of the executive committee. He is hired by the executive committee to head the group of paid staff who serve the organization.

congressman2Congress meets for three days in January. Congressmen review current program materials, look at the budget for the upcoming year, elect new executive committee members, have visioning discussions, review recommendations, and review and vote on proposals.  Proposals come from the general membership of counselors (via their councils or for independent clubs via the club consultant). Any active Cadet counselor can make a proposal to Congress but it will be reviewed by the executive committee to make sure it:

  1. Has sufficient grounds
  2. Is constitutional
  3. The proposal arrives at the Cadet office on or before October 1 (three months prior to when Congress meets) PLUS proposals must come to the executive committee through the Cadet council with the signatures of two council officers or congressmen.

Below is a link to download the Congress proposal form. If you are a counselor and have a proposal for Congress, PLEASE make sure you follow the guidelines above and submit your proposal through your council. Independent club counselors can submit a proposal through the independent club consultant.

If you would like to recommend a new merit badge for inclusion in the Cadet program materials, there are two forms for that purpose  — one form for council clubs and one for independent clubs. The forms are listed below as a link for downloading. Recommendations for new merit badges are reviewed by the Executive Committee and they vote wether to include the new merit badge in future program materials.

Download the Congress Proposal Form (pdf file)

Download the Council Merit Badge Proposal Form

Download the Independent Club Merit Badge Proposal Form

Recommendations can be made by any active Cadet counselor. The form requires a signature of a council president or congressman if you’re a counselor in a club that is part of a council. If you are a counselor in an independent club, you must have the head counselor’s signature. Any recommendation or comments submitted on a recommendation form will be forwarded to the appropriate Congress committee and the committee may share this recommendation on the floor of Congress if they choose, BUT no official action will be taken. If the Congress committee favors the recommendation, the executive committee will review it and decide whether action should be taken to implement it. Below is a link to download the recommendation form.

Download the Congress Recommendation Form (pdf file)