Gang Names in Lancaster County

When Amish youth hit sixteen, they typically begin “running around.” This is the famous Rumspringa period, during which they can do almost whatever they please, because they are no longer under the rule of their parents, but nor have they been baptized officially into the church. I didn’t know before that they don’t do this alone; they join “gangs.” According to Donald Kraybill:

About twenty-seven youth groups, called “gangs,” ranging in size from fifty to a hundred and fifty members, crisscross the Lancaster settlement. By the age of ten, an Amish child will be able to name some of the groups––Bluebirds, Canaries, Pine Cones, Drifters, Shotguns, Rockys, and Quakers––and even describe some of their activities. Youth are free to join the gang of their choice. Young people from the same church district or family may join different groups. The gangs become the primary social world for teens before they marry, but the groups vary considerably in their conformity to traditional Amish values.

What, no Jets or Sharks?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: