Don Glaske, an army veteran of WWII, had studied business and was a materials handling engineer at VM Corporation, "Voice of Music" in Benton Harbor, Michigan, where record players and tape recorders were made.
He started Berrien County Youth for Christ in 1954 after attending a YFCI Convention in Winona Lake, Indiana. He did both engineering and directing the monthly Saturday night rallies for 9 years before being fulltime in YFC.
Three men would stand at the back of the High School auditorium with cards in front of their eyes to see whose head of the 20 quizzers on stage appeared above it first. A physics teacher in St. Joseph, where Ibba taught elementary art, later helped Don to make an electric box to use in the rally. Another Michigan YFC director begged Don for 3 years to make one for him...but it was too delicate and too expensive. So in 1961 he finally agreed to make a quiz box...the very first...and it had 15 seat pads and was battery-operated. (During those years, once Berrien County's senior high team and once their junior high team won the quiz finals at the YFCI Convention in Winona Lake.)
Don didn't realize it would become a business, since only YFC groups were quizzing. Then some church denominations began, and so did several schools. He made pretty much everything from scratch and almost single-handed (including sawing, gluing and covering the wood cases with red fabric), along with some help from his parents and sister. While Ibba continued teaching school another nine years, the Teenarena was built in 1968 next to their home. Quiz-O-Ramas were held one weekend before each monthly rally at the High School, and the top 20 quizzers then competed on stage.
Making the quiz boxes battery-operated was a wise decision, since they can be used indoors or outside, and no electrical adaptor is needed when used overseas.
After 20 years in YFC, the youth work became Christian Youth Ministries, Inc., still continuing the teen and family style Saturday night rallies, which included a Bible quiz every month, music, speakers, and Christian films, and Bible verse backdrops that glowed in black light during the invitation at the end of each rally.
Thirty three years of YFC/CYM Rallies were interrupted in March 1987, when Don had emergency surgery for a malignant brain tumor. He was still able to make 106 quiz boxes during his illness, and his final box was a Model 450, that a California AWANA director took to Capetown, South Africa. He died in January 1988, one month after the second surgery.
A few weeks later, Ibba decided to continue making the quiz boxes, since there were still 113 waiting orders. Many people were needed to do the various processes, and it took almost two years to fulfill the orders while also learning what Don had been able to do alone. They sometimes work in the Glaske home, in their own homes or the Teenarena. Many boxes and parts are always in the process of being built. Ibba continued making all three sizes for 10 years just like Don did and, in fact, Model 250 is to this day still made of particle board covered with red fabric. In recent years, some stages are being carried out by local companies, seat pads are now dip molded in one piece, and red plastic cases are molded by a company in Ohio.
The local CYM Quiz-O-Ramas had also resumed in October 1988, as other volunteers faithfully served as quizmasters and scorekeepers in the Teenarena. The quiz questions Don had written during 33 years of rallies (on 20 of New Testament books) can be accessed on-line click here. During their 50th year in 2004-05 Mark and I John were studied, part of a seven-year cycle, with 3 chapters each month during a quiz season. Each year is culminated with "Quizzers' Revenge" in April, when even adults get to quiz over the last 3 chapters, learning what it's like for quizzers all year long.
Ibba Glaske is thankful Don was doing worthwhile things that could be continued, both the CYM quizzing and Quiz-Time boxes. In addition to the standard seat pad models produced for years, new handheld switches have been added in March 2005. Whether people use their equipment or someone else's, she's glad they're working with quizzers and considers it a privilege to "serve others who are serving".