By Rev. Doug Forbes
“You’re a youth leader…do something with these kids!” Have you ever walked into your house of worship or civic organization and heard these words? If you haven’t, you probably will.
A few years ago, I was asked to speak at a church in another community. My wife and I decided to go early and “observe” their Sunday school in action. We sat in the back row and waited. The starting time for Sunday school came and went without anything happening. We whispered to another couple, “What time does Sunday school start?” They answered, “Whenever you’re ready.” They assumed that we were going to teach Sunday school as well as conduct morning services!
My wife took the children to one room, while I taught the adults in another. It’s a good thing we decided to come early and that we had extra material with us. If you work with youth, you need a Youth Leader Emergency Kit. Your kit might be a nice briefcase or simply a large plastic bag that ties at the top.
The first item in your kit could be 3-by-5-inch cards. The children could use the cards to play “Dear Abby.” Instruct half the group to write down crazy questions and the other half to write down crazy answers. Read a crazy question to the group and then follow it up with a crazy answer randomly drawn from he pile. Laughter will follow! You could also use the cards for a house of cards building contest.
Be sure to add some copier paper, pencils, and markers to your kit. They can be used for signup sheets for events, to draw targets, make signs, or for your students to write stories, poems or draw pictures.
Bubble gum is a must for every kit. You could have a biggest bubble contest or a gum sculpture contest. To round out your kit add Ping-Pong balls, tennis balls, balloons, rubber bands, a ball of yarn, sidewalk chalk and a book of games.
Working with young people is a lot of fun, and it’s even more fun when we’re prepared with a few extra ideas. We hope you enjoy the fun, energy and surprises that come from working with the young people in your organization.