It’s a very transitional time that decides what direction the rest of their lives will take, and that time is called Rumspringa.
Rumspringa ends in one of two ways: either the person chooses to get baptized within the Amish church or they decide to leave the community and assimilate into the outside world.
Rumspringa has been portrayed as time of experimentation and decision.
While Amish youth will mull the decision to join the church at this time, an Amishman who has studied the subject extensively contends that this decision is typically already made in the mind of many youth.
Youth groups vary in their character—some “plainer” or slower groups are tamer, and even adult-supervised, while other “faster” groups are less conservative in expectations and rules. In the case of the faster groups, this may mean parties or “band hops”, while with the slower, or “singing” groups as they are called in some communities, meet at the home where church service took place for games of volleyball and group singing.
The larger Amish communities may have dozens of youth groups, varying in degree of plainness.
At the same time, there must be at least a semblance of free choice in the decision to become Amish.
A young man will invite a young woman to drive her home in his buggy after a Sunday singing.
The period serves other purposes besides deciding whether to join the church, detailed here and below.
One of those purposes is to enter into a more formalized social world and peer interaction, which occurs when joining a youth group.
Or it may just be one carriage trying to pass another. I also found the discussion of bed courtship, or “bundling”, interesting.
This is a practice that has been associated with the Amish but today is typically only seen among more conservative Amish groups.