Summer is a looong way off. In fact, some of you are still thawing out from the Polar Vortex as you read this little article and may be tempted to postpone thinking about summer until the thermometer reads at least 40 degrees!
And although summer is still several months away, the time to start thinking about summer events and activities for your youth group is now. And very few things take more time to plan out than service projects. So today I want to share three summer service ideas that will take a little planning but are worth the effort. Besides it’s January. You are huddled up in your office throwing 7th graders on a fire in an attempt to stay warm. You might as well plan ahead!
ADOPT A BLOCK
There’s lots of ways to do this, and larger youth groups may be able to adopt more than one block, but here’s the basic idea: Pick a neighborhood in your town and offer to “adopt” for the summer. Once a week, once a month…or just once! Mow lawns, wash cars, and do general chores for the folks who live in that neighborhood. Make sure the families on that street know well in advance when you will be coming so they have time to think up some projects that your students can perform.
MOTOR HOME MISSION TRIP
Instead of picking one destination for your missions trip, why not go mobile? Rent or borrow a few RV’s and head out for a week-long road trip that consists of a different service project each day. The memories created from living, sleeping, eating, and driving together in an RV combined with a mission experience are hard to beat!
VACATION BIBLE SCHOOL
If your church does some sort of VBS, make serving at it an exiting summer event instead of just another service opportunity for a select group of students. Here’s a crazy idea that just might work (the two previous ideas are proven, this one is theoretical): Consider making serving at VBS a missions-like event of it’s own. Spend the night each night at the church or in homes and have evening de-brief and programming like you would any other missions trip. Since VBS is typically only about 4 hours, you can add a half-day of fun (lake day, amusement park, etc.) to each day of the week, too!
Not every student is attracted to every sort of missions/service opportunity so it’s important to try to create a variety of opportunities…by putting lots of hooks in the water you are more likely to get every student to eventually “bite” at the idea of serving this summer.