Ideas for Involving Your Youth Group in Special Events Which Encourage, Provide Christian Fellowship, Nurture, and Inspire for Service
All of us are always looking for new ideas and activities for our youth group. The following events and activities have been a blessing to my young people and youth leaders. I hope you will find an idea or two that will give life and energy to your special youth. May Jesus always be the focus around which all our activities are planned.
1. Plan a summer ski campout. Lake Powell, Utah was our favorite location. We pitched our tents on the beach and skied all day. Youth sponsors would bring their boats and the registration fee paid for the gas, food and other expenses. A kitchen tent was set up on the beach and all the cooking was shared by the youth group. The youth sponsor’s worships were held early in the morning and at sunset. Lake Powell will always be a special memory to all the youth who attended this annual event.
2. Take your youth group on a special trip outside the conference where you live. For example: When I was living in Missouri, I took my youth on a backpacking trip to the Rocky Mountains in Colorado. They had a fantastic time! Some had never been to Colorado. We all had a great time getting used to the altitude!
3. Take advantage of the special outdoor activities that are available in your conference. One state in which I lived had beautiful rivers and streams for canoeing. So we planned a 3-day trip and traveled 35 miles. Along the way, there was plenty of time for swimming, fishing and lots of water battles.
4. One summer we planned a horseback trip to the mountains of Wyoming and finished our 2-day trip by white water rafting on the Snake River. After the horseback trip, our youth had a new respect for cowboys.
5. Community service projects are a positive witness for Christianity. The youth also gain a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction from helping others. Here are some samples of possible service projects: Paint houses for senior citizens, mow lawns and do general landscaping, housekeeping--cleaning interiors of homes, adopting a highway or stream to clean up.
6. Plan a Sabbath vesper program by the lake or ocean. Build a huge campfire. Your speaker should be a great story teller. After sunset, roast marshmallows and cook vegelinks. Finish the evening with an old fashioned hayride.
7. Youth leading other youth in creative Bible study is exciting. Select a boy and girl from your youth group that are really into reading and studying God’s Word. Ask them to be the leaders of this volunteer Bible study group. The youth set the times and dates according to their busy summer schedules. Time should be given for this group to share their experiences with the entire youth group during the Sabbath School AYS.
8. Plan a trip to a theme park where Christian concerts are held. Enjoy the concerts and have fun on the rides.
9. Organize a "Service the Church Day." Show the adults that the youth really care about their church. Projects include cleaning the inside of the church, landscaping and any painting that might be needed. Finish the day with a pizza party and possibly a visit to a major league baseball game.
10. Some call it a Spring, Summer, or Fall Fling (depending on the season). The plan is to have an outdoor Sabbath Youth Service that features musical concerts throughout the day. Choose a dynamic speaker for the Sabbath worship hour. Later in the afternoon, involve youth in some type of outreach service. What a way to spend a special Sabbath together!
Allan R. Williamson was Youth director for the Southern Union Conference when this article was written.