For those of you who don't know, Rumspringa is a very interesting time in the lives of Amish youth. Basically, Amish teenagers are given a number of years where they can experience modern living. This means they can go into town, find some drinks, do some drugs, get into some naughty business, go joy-riding, and all sorts of other things they are otherwise forbidden from doing in their religious lives.
Not all who are given their 24 hours of freedom are actually given the ability to do all of these things. To some families, it's basically an ornamental formality. They're just given a day to think about whether or not they want to stay in the community. That's hardly a decision for most. If they leave, they lose their home, family, and entire way of life.
That doesn't mean that there aren't those who do leave. After all, any family that gives you a specific timeframe to choose family or freedom is a pretty horrible family. And it doesn't help that some Amish communities use the tradition of Rumspringa to exploit their youth and make money off of those who prefer to live in the modern world.
15 It's Not All Hard Partying and Experimentation
It turns out that while there are now more stories than ever about Amish youth partying hard and getting down and dirty, the vast majority of Amish youth actually stay within their community and don't get too rowdy at all. You may have heard about several huge parties with hundreds of Amish teens getting plastered, but remember that there are thousands of Amish teens out there and these wild parties are simply the exception to the rule. You might think that the Amish would want you to know that about Rumspringa simply because of their moral values, but I think it actually is worse knowing that most teens just stay home. If Rumspringa is all about making that decision between the Amish way of life and modern living, then how can you do that without getting out of the community?
14 Don't Think They Don't Experiment With Substances
It's true that the majority of the Amish youth just stay home and drunkenly ride their buggies through town, but there are definitely those who go out and experiment with a whole lot more than some moonshine and beer. Typically, Amish youth are placed in youth groups that are meant for connecting each other during Rumspringa and for potentially finding a spouse. But many of the older teens and young adults in these groups (typically 16-24) have been known to deal cocaine to the younger of their group members. That's one hell of a way to start out Rumspringa — getting lit off of blow or pot and then venturing out into the modern world without a single clue. I can understand mom and dad Amish not wanting the public to know too much about that sort of thing.
13 The Jebediah Jacobs Story
This is definitely something that the Amish community does not want anyone knowing about. Here is the story of Jebediah Jacobs. When he hit Rumspringa time, he went skydiving, became a YouTube sensation, and then went on a downward spiral into the depraved world of Hollywood. Trying to make it as an actor, he was met with rejection, cocaine, and a brother who had far more potential than he did.
That being said, this is actually not a real story at all! It's the invention of Jason Sereno, who made it as a comedic exploration of the Amish life. And if there is any group of people who might not want anyone to know about this, it would be the Amish community. Of course, for the most part, they'll never see it for reasons that should be pretty obvious.
12 Getting Busy... To Fiddle Music
Apparently, Amish women overall seem to have a thing they like to do when they go out to the bush parties of the Amish youth groups during Rumspringa. They love to grind. You'd think it would be a grind to find a nice Amish boy to take back to the community, but that's not always the case. I don't know how you grind to fiddle music, but it seems that some Amish girls don't go back home at all after they've found another pretty Amish girl. I imagine that wouldn't go over well with mommy and daddy. After all, both the lifestyle and the faith of the Amish are fairly out of date. And considering homosexual marriage was only made legal across the U.S. in the past few years, I'd say the Amish communities wouldn't be ready for that yet.
11 The Amish Outlaws
I guess these guys can hardly be kept a secret these days, but they got their start thanks to Rumspringa. Four of the six men in this country/rock band met during their time at Rumspringa parties. They found modern music (well, it's country, so I guess not all that modern) and they never looked back. I mean, I guess they went back and said goodbye to Ma and Pa, but they left their communities and joined together to sing about their lives. They still sort of sit close to their past. They are called The Amish Outlaws, after all. But while they may not see their families anymore, they get to fill their lives with all of the joy that music can. I'm guessing that's not something the elders want to advertise when it comes to Rumspringa time.
10 Breaking Amish... And The Bank
Kate Stoltzfus is a success story in terms of Amish youth leaving the community. But she's definitely a failure when it comes to looking at her life through the eyes of the Amish elders. She grew up without any of the modern conveniences she has now, but, as you can see, she really turned that around and is doing quite well for herself. She even starred in the reality TV show Breaking Amish, which is obviously all about cutting ties with the Amish community. I have to say that while the Amish community might not want people to know about Stoltzfus' success, I think we're all glad that we get to have a look at what a smokin' hot success she has become! There's no denying that when you look at the before and after photos. Now she's a fashion model and designer!
9 The Disgusting Case Of Willard Yoder
Rumspringa can often be about sex, drugs, and rock'n'roll. But for Willard Yoder, it was just about the former. Details of how he got the girl's number are a little vague, but Yoder managed to get in contact with a 12-year-old girl. He spammed over 600 texts that were varying degrees of naughty. The girl's parents found out and handed the phone to the police. They set up a sting operation to catch him. He pulled up in his buggy to a restaurant he was going to meet the girl at (they had planned on getting dirty in the buggy) and was met with the police. He was cooperative and in his statement mentioned that he thought the girl was 13. I'm not sure if that makes a difference in the Amish community, but that one extra year doesn't change anything in the modern world. Not all Rumspringa stories are happy or harmless.
8 Rumspringa Is Meant To Make You Come Home
You wouldn't think it, what with all of the parties, drugs, driving, and getting down and dirty, but Rumspringa is actually all about making sure you stay home. Back before such intense technological advances made communication way easier, the Amish would send their youth out into the "modern" world and they would find it dirtier, immoral, crazy, and unwelcoming. The whole point of this ritual is to overwhelm the youth and make them yearn for the simple life again, settle down in the Amish community, and find a lovely wife there to have a family with. While you might think that the tech-heavy world we live in would push them away even faster, it actually just makes it easier for the teens to connect and learn and move on and away from their dull and historic homes.
7 Tinder, Bumble, Craigslist... And Grindr!
Yup. Don't kid yourselves here. The Amish may abstain from technology for the majority of their lives, but it doesn't take the Amish youth of today very long to figure out how to get laid with the help of a smartphone. If you're kicking around near an Amish community and you're swiping through Tinder, you stand a chance of finding a few bonnet babes, or bearded brutes. I'm not sure how much that will make you want to swipe right, but it's something you'll find anyway. And there is something even more interesting than the use of Tinder, Bumble, or the strange world of Craigslist. Some of these kids find themselves sifting through on Grindr. This site is marketed specifically to homosexuals, so there is a good reason why you might only find a few articles that mention this sudden bursting out of the Amish closet.
6 Drunken Buggy Crashes
You might not think this is a very likely thing, but it's certainly happened more than once. The good thing about buggy crashes is that you have far more time to react because it's not like they're typically going very fast. But one man — after showing off his gun and giving some beer to Amish teens on Rumspringa illegally — ended up causing a buggy crash with his Dodge. Now, to be fair, this wasn't exactly the fault of the Amish, but they definitely did accept beer from a stranger. Of course, this was in Pennsylvania, so I think you'll find that no punishment befell the Amish teens. Which is strange because usually when a vehicle is rear-ended (the guy in the car stopped abruptly ahead of the buggy) it's the driver behind who is guilty. Don't worry, no horses were hurt in the making of this silly news story.
5 Some Amish Get Wild Before Rumspringa
If you think that every Amish kid waits until Rumspringa to go out and get crazy, then you must also believe that every American waits until they're 21 to have their first drink. That's just being naive. There are those Amish kids who sneak out after hours to find their way into "English" parties (those outside the community) or simply meet up with other Amish to smoke, drink, and maybe have a literal roll in the hay. These are probably the ones who are more likely to leave once Rumspringa comes around, but it's important to know that they exist. The Amish aren't completely moral and strict people up until they're given a chance to go nuts for a couple of years. No, they're people too. I'm sure there are plenty of elders in the community who would want you to think this doesn't happen.
4 Fear Of Death During Rumspringa
This is definitely something that the elders don't want you to know about. When youth go out during Rumspringa, they often live in a decent amount of fear. And that's not fear of what their parents would do if they found out that they were getting trashed or laid. No, the fear is of Hell. It turns out that if you die during Rumspringa (and it doesn't seem to matter how you die) you go straight and irreversibly to Hell. No questions asked. It's like a sick game of Monopoly when you pick up the 'Go Directly To Jail' card. So, because of this, a lot of kids do come home fairly quickly, but not for the right reasons. They come home out of fear of Hell, or out of guilt for causing their parents to worry so much. It's a pretty sad state of affairs. And in spite of all the wild parties you might hear about, nearly 90 percent of Amish teens end up going home after their time with Rumspringa.
3 Some Stay Connected Even After They Leave
It turns out that there are a number of families that stay connected with their kids even after they leave the Amish community. Now, that doesn't mean that they're all on Facebook and chatting with each other all the time. There are some Amish families who will allow the use of smartphones and/or computers. And social media surely is the best way for those who have left the Amish community to keep in touch with each other and their friends who have access back on the farm. But there are many families who are still at least understanding or accepting of their kid's choice to leave, and they will allow for visits and will still spend time with each other. There are those who just shut their kids out and banish them, but they're awful people. I can't actually tell which of these examples the community would want you not to know about.
2 They Make Money Off The Debauchery
So, here's the thing. It's no shock to anyone that the Amish use their children to make money. They have to work their butts off on the farm in order to help the family get by and make enough to keep going. That's fair enough, I guess. Work to help the family succeed. It makes sense. But considering that most Amish families don't like the idea of their kids running wild on Rumspringa, I find it strange that they would brew a beer specifically marketed with the notion that their kids will do just that. Sure, I'm guessing it's meant for us "modern" people to go and buy so we can have a chuckle about their customs, but think about what that makes the teens feel like. "Don't go out and party, but we're brewing beer for the "English" so that they can be immoral with our Rumspringa beer." What?!
1 Speeding Down The Freeway
I'm sure it's been said before, but not all Amish teens go crazy during Rumspringa. But that doesn't mean that a few don't get carried away. There was an interesting case of five Amish teens who were pulled over for driving a minivan at 110 mph! In case you don't know, that's really fast. That's 177 kph! That's not all they were doing, though. They were also chucking drinks out of the van. Imagine getting hit by one of those. Once an Indiana State Trooper pulled them over, they found the van was full of booze. "The driver is facing charges for reckless driving, underage drinking, permit violation, speeding, unlawful possession of tobacco and a person under 21 operating a vehicle with a blood alcohol concentration level between .02 and .08," according to NYDailyNews.