As a former military member, I learned the value of a ‘go-bag’ long ago. Here’s the idea: You keep a bag ready to go at a moment’s notice. In this bag you put everything you will need for a specific operation, or in the case of youth ministry, an event. When I started in youth ministry, it was only second nature for me to apply this principle.
In my office I keep three go-bags. One is for camp and has everything in it that I need minus things like my clothing. One is for overnight events like lock-ins. One is for single day events like ski trips, paint ball, amusement park trips, or other day trips. That is the one I will focus on for this post. Any of these bags I can grab on the way out of the door and know I have certain items in it that can help me.
Here is a list of items that are invaluable to me on those youth day trips:
- Small bag: I use a small tactical day pack. There are various places to pick one up cheap: Ebay, local army surplus stores, or perhaps other thrift stores. It should have more than enough room for anything you will need. I use different colors for different events; my day trip bag is black, my overnight bag is green, and my camp bag is a tan, full-size rucksack .
- Cell phone juice packs & cord: I keep two fully-charged juice packs and a pocket-sized cell phone cord in my pack at all times. I have had my phone die on a youth trip before. Try explaining that one to a parent!
- Pocket knife: A small knife of some sort is invaluable. You never know when you might have to cut a piece of rope or tape on a trip.
- Multi-tool: I never go anywhere without my multi-tool. Its usefulness goes a long way.
- Flashlight: If the church bus breaks down at 10 PM, you’ll be thanking me for this idea.
- Small First Aid kit: I keep a pouch in my bag with band-aids, sterile wipes, aloe packs, gauze, medical tape, aspirin, lip balm, feminine products, and rubber gloves.
- Para-Cord: How many times have you been at camp or an event when a shoelace snapped or you needed some rope? Carry a small amount in a bag and problem solved.
- Spare t-shirt: Just in case.
- Epi-pen: I have a student in my group that is allergic to peanuts. I carry a spare epi-pen on me at all times in case she has a reaction.
- Small bottle of sunscreen: Goes without saying what that’s for.
- Small book of games: Buy yourself a resource like The Hot Seat from Group/Simply Youth Ministry. This can make a long bus ride a lot shorter!
These are just a few of the useful items I carry with me on day trips. Obviously there are things that I pack for a ski trip that I wouldn’t need for a day at an amusement park; those are things that I add to the bag as needed. Also, there are things that cannot be pre-staged that I add later; for example, juice packs for my phone need to be charged before the event.
What are some items that you find useful to carry along?
Thanks for loving students,