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Youth Ministry ‘Go-Bag’

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,


9 thoughts on “Youth Ministry ‘Go-Bag’

  1. I’ve tried acquiring an epipen to have on hand but was unable to get one from any doctor. How did you manage to get one without an allergy yourself?

    • Hey Christine! Great question! Her parents actually gave it to me. I believe they had a spare and wanted me to have one for events in which she would be away from them, like camp, etc. I guess I should have put a caveat on that about how I acquired one. Blessedly, I have never had to use it and hope I never will!

  2. Every single youth trip I’ve ever been on (not kidding), someone has forgotten a towel (oftentimes it’s a leader). I always bring two extra towels, and they always get used.

  3. I try to keep some Ace bandages or athletic tape and foam athletic wrap with me at all times. You never know when someone’s going to sprain an ankle or wrist. Along the lines of your portable chargers and cords, I keep extra chargers for most devices in case someone forgets theirs.

  4. Thanks for the article. it worked for me a lot.

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Youth Ministry ‘Go-Bag’

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