NOTE: We understand that this article reflects stereotypes of males and females and not all of your students fit these assumptions. We simply made a statement acknowledging it, gave both genders permission to not like some of the planned activities, and moved on.
I (Tasha) love “Chick Night” (our female students named the event). When a group of girls asked us a few years ago to plan something just for the chicks, I thought it would be a total failure. I was under the wrong assumption that if boys weren’t part of the mix, then the chicks wouldn’t want to attend (and vice-versa). I was wrong.
I (Tim) knew all along this idea would be awesomely amazing! When Tasha and our leaders planned the Chick Night, we planned also a corresponding Dude Night.
We planned our first Chick/Dude Night and it was a mega-hit, but the formats for the two events were extremely different.
If you give dudes something to do, especially if it’s a competition, they’ll take care of the rest. Our Dude Night consisted of MREs for dinner, a giant bonfire and a table full of s’mores ingredients, BB gun target competitions, remote control car races, and hitting golf balls into the Mississippi River. I (Tasha) am pretty sure it also included various bodily functions, but that’s another article. Chick Night was way cooler.
We planned Chick Night in three phases: dinner, programming, and hang out time.
- Dinner. We served jambalaya (a Southern Louisiana staple), but anything except pizza would work. We used tablecloths and made things look pretty. Not so pretty that the decorating takes over the event, but definitely prettier than anything they’d attend if the boys were there. We also covered all the mirrors in the bathrooms with huge signs that read, “Take a break from having to be ‘pretty.’ I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. Psalm 139:14” We had a coffee bar (black coffee with a half dozen flavored syrups and creamers). We had moms make homemade desserts.
- Programming. All of the leaders were chicks. We played games that were funny and relevant to chicks (like guessing if passages you read are from Song of Songs or a One Direction song). We had multiple random dance moments (there are awesome example videos online). We spent time worshiping together (again, with an all-chick band). We had a chick speaker addressing a chick topic.
If you’re a dude, and you don’t have a chick pastor or leader who could teach a lesson, it’s worth considering bringing in a competent chick to help you with this event. (See our previous article for more thoughts on making room for girls in your group.) There is something very healing for a chick – regardless of age – to see and hear someone who looks like her and thinks like her teach the truths of the Kingdom of God.
- Hang Out Time: I (Tasha) love this part of the evening. We set up multiple stations (depending on the size of your group), and we let chicks just hang out. Each table has an activity: nail polish station; DIY summer hair wrap station (there are links online); note writing station (we taught the chicks how to fold a note like we did in the 80’s); modern calligraphy station; craft station (something cheap and crafty); coloring station (we provided adult and child coloring options). The chicks float from table to table. It’s loose and organic. This year we played High School Musical on the big screens during the hang out time. We also dress uber-casual; this year we did a pajama theme. We have fun, learn a new skill, and build relationships while doing it.
I (Tim) like Chick Night because it allows girls to celebrate being a chick. It allows students to engage in activities with the freedom of not having the opposite sex in the room. Our planning team can focus on things that are relevant to chicks/dudes and even push the envelope a little. Plus, it makes it easier for some students to invite their friends to an event that is more targeted in scope.
I (Tasha) like Chick Night because it celebrates being a chick. It’s tailored to meet the specific needs of our girls. It helps build relationships. It allows students the opportunity to take a break from having to translate their faith from male illustrations and perspectives. (I like male illustrations; I just don’t always get the mixed martial arts metaphor). Plus, it’s super FUN for our students and for our volunteers! It’s a great way to get all the girls involved in leadership – there are lots of opportunities to lead: theme and decor, set up and decorate, lead worship, share a God story, lead an activity table, or help with menu planning and food preparation.
We’ve modified these chick/dude events each time we’ve done them. Sometimes we turn them into overnight retreats, sometimes we start or end altogether with a meal or a debrief. Every time we see deeper connections built between and among students and adults. So we’ll keep doing them, and see what happens next.
What do you think?