If a young person wearing a red T-shirt, carrying a copy of the Adventist Review, and sporting a smile approaches you in the exhibit hall or a convention center hallway, take time to say a friendly word—even if you’re not interested in buying the magazine.
The NewsKids—a team of 16 young people ages 14 through 18—are selling subscriptions to the church’s official magazine throughout the session and gaining valuable job experience. But it’s not always easy.
“It’s tiring because we’re on our feet all day, and we’re always yelling, ‘Daily bulletins!’ ” said NewsKid Megan Eisele, from Rockville, Maryland. Even though Megan said some people have been less than courteous, she added that most people have been friendly and encouraging.
“We met one lady who is working in the convention center [who isn’t a member of our church],” Megan said. “She wasn’t interested in buying a magazine, but she said we were a nice group of kids and she enjoyed us being around. That made us feel good, that people appreciated what we were doing even if they didn’t buy anything.”
Beate Richli, a volunteer helping to run the
Adventist Review booth, said the experience the youth are gaining will serve them well in the future.
“This is a good start into the world of work,” she said. “The first day it was really hard for them to stand there and sell something, but now they’ve become pros, and we have some really top sellers.”
“It’s giving them a behind-the-scenes look and understanding of the church,” adds
AR marketing assistant Sharon Tennyson, who organized the NewsKids program under the leadership of marketing director Claude Richli. “And they’re operating well as a group. It’s exciting to see them growing and changing.”
NewsKid Mia Karimabadi has been particularly perceptive with sales tactics.
“You learn who to look for and who to avoid as to people who will buy your product,” Mia said. “You don’t get in the way of people wearing multiple badges who are walking really fast, because they’re usually on their way to a meeting; but those strolling by your booths kind of looking at the magazines, they’re usually interested and have more time.”
Adventist Review uses youth and young adults to sell the magazine because “people react to kids differently than they do to adults,” Beate Richli said. “They’re more open to listening to kids.”
Promoting magazines also apparently helps young people to “come out of their shell.” NewsKid Megan Stanley said that selling the magazines was difficult at first because she has always been “kind of shy.” After six days of selling, however, the experience has made her “more outgoing and confident,” even to the point of pulling out and playing her ukulele to “attract people.”
Alexandra Tennyson, one of Sharon’s two daughters working as NewsKids, has had a similar experience, Sharon said.
“She didn’t think she could do it because she was so uncomfortable talking to people she didn’t know,” Sharon said. “Now she’s excited because she’s had high sales and has found she loves meeting and talking with people. It’s really changed her.”
Although most of the
Review kids live near the Adventist Church’s world headquarters in Maryland, United States, others come from as far as Moscow and Rwanda. Multiple languages, including German and Spanish, are also represented among the group.
“Having people in our group who can speak other languages helps us [to connect with others],” Megan Eisele said. “I know a little Spanish, and I’m trying to learn greetings in other languages. It’s kind of fun trying to talk to people in a different language.”
Tony Keeko from Moscow said he heard about the opportunity to sell the
Adventist Review at General Conference (GC) session while staying with friends for the summer in the United States.
“I learned about it while visiting the General Conference,” he said.
Gwyn Pagarigan from Kigali, Rwanda, traveled many miles to attend GC session with his mother and appears to have adapted well to a different working culture.
“It’s fun working here and getting people involved with
Adventist Review,” Gwyn said. “There’s a lot of positive people who say, ‘Good job.’ Subscriptions and bulletins are going well.”
Since the international church publication
Adventist World first came out 10 years ago and was provided free of charge to some 1.5 million members worldwide, some people have confused the monthly magazine with the church’s oldest journal, Adventist Review, which is subscriber-based.
NewsKid Sarah Klingbeil said she talked with people who didn’t understand the difference, so she “would show them the
Review and they would say, ‘No, I don’t get this. This magazine is really cool,’ ” she explained. “A lot of people really like the new design,” Sarah added, referring to the smaller size and new design of the magazine, launched with the April 2015 issue.
NewsKid Elennie Ramirez agreed, saying that subscribers told her the new size is more portable.
Those in the “older crowd” are also appreciating
AR’s accompanying magazine for kids, KidsView, Elennie noted. “One adult told me she enjoys doing the activities herself.”
One of the challenges the NewsKids are encountering is that some people think the magazines are free.
“When they find out they have to buy an annual subscription or pay $2.50 for a bulletin, they give us this surprised look,” said NewsKid Alexandra Tennyson.
Alessia Richli, originally from Germany and Switzerland but now living in Maryland, is dealing with the same problem. When she explains to people that “they need to buy it, they say ‘Oh,’ and leave,” she said.
Alessia suggested that because delegates receive the bulletins free, those who are not delegates think they are free to everyone—adding to the confusion.
Some subscribers have made a positive impression on the young team members because of their concern for others and spirit of sacrifice. Alexandra Tennyson told of a woman who came to the booth just as they were shutting down in order to purchase a subscription—but not for herself.
“She bought a subscription for a school that she’s sponsoring in the Philippines,” Alexandra noted. “She wanted to send them the bulletins as well as an
Adventist Review subscription. I thought that was really, really cool.”
Alexandra’s sister, Emma, also a NewsKid at the session, said she was impressed by those who talked to her about China, her birth country, and shared aspects of Chinese culture with her. Raised in the United States, Emma said, “That’s been very interesting to me.”
Even with all the hard work, however, the NewsKids don’t appear to be daunted by the task. When asked, many of them echoed the sentiment of Gwyn Pagarigan when he said, “I would love to do it again!”