Extreme Make Over
Do some major redecorating in your student area! If it’s been more than four years since you redecorated, you need to do it just to give your current students a feeling of ownership over their space. If you have a dedicated youth space, you might consider putting in a coffee bar and blender to make smoothies. Add some fun items, like kid magnets, old gaming systems, anything retro (e.g. lava lamps). After you complete the renovations, host a Lutherbuck’s KaffeeHaus. Invite some local musicians to come and serve up a good time. Feel free to use this logo  
Doug Widger, DCE
St. Paul Lutheran Church
Fort Worth, TX



Youth & Parent Softball & BBQ
Some of the best community building ideas or games for warm weather is to have a youth vs. parents softball game & BBQ! No matter how you organize something like this, it is a great time! Be sure to videotape the game and show it to the congregation at a convenient time (and be sure your pastor is in the video)!

John Hagge, DCE



Vacation Bible School
Utilize lots of youth (middle school and senior high) volunteers during Vacation Bible School. Have the student volunteers meet in the morning prior to the children arriving and treat them to a quick game, morning snack (Krispy Kreme and Egg McMuffins were both big hits), and a devotion. This morning meeting also gives you the chance to give announcements and reminders regarding the day’s activities. 
Leah A. Helmrichs, DCE
St. Luke’s Lutheran Church
Oviedo, Florida



Movie Night
Most teenagers keep later hours during the summer months. How about having a movie night? Meet every Wednesday night for a movie and a brief discussion. This is a low impact event that works no matter what your numbers are.
Leah A. Helmrichs, DCE
St. Luke’s Lutheran Church
Oviedo, Florida



Ending a Summer Trip
We have found that taking a day or two to come down from the high of a Servant Event or Gathering experience builds stronger bonds among the kids. We try to plan a big, fun event like white water rafting, followed by something that involves lots of rest, like floating down the river in inner tubes or hanging out at a camp ground. This “fun time” has given the kids a chance to process a lot of their experiences and the opportunity to begin talking about what will happen when they go back to their “real” lives.
Leah A. Helmrichs, DCE
St. Luke’s Lutheran Church
Oviedo, Florida



Summer Clubbing
Our youth program is putting together a “club” idea for this summer. The idea is to provide several different “club” options for youth to join. The clubs meet 3-4 times per month. Each club has a different focus and each meets at different times, making it possible for the youth to sign up for as few or as many as they want. Nearby schools are letting us advertise on their campuses. When we passed out a prelim sign up sheet (to get an idea of people’s interests) we got a huge response (over 100). The clubs focus on many different things. Some clubs were so popular we had to split them into different sections. I hope this helps others out there!
Michael Matson, DCE
Christ Lutheran Church
Meridian, Idaho



Shaking Up the VBS Closing Program
For years we were in a rut where we always had our VBS closing program on Friday evening. The number of children in attendance was about half of what we saw during the week. Last year, we had the closing program (abbreviated) at noon followed by a picnic, featuring grilled hot dogs, chips, beverages and ice cream cones. We were blown away by the attendance. Needless to say we will do it again this summer.
Steve Endicott, DCE
Shepherd of the Hills
Snohomish, WA



Summer TIME
For me the best thing about summer is simply being with the kids. I don’t have much time to just hang out with youth during the school year, when their schedules (and my schedule) are crazy. Summer brings extra time to evaluate programs and to block out time to hang out with youth individually by shooting pool, going out for coffee or ice cream, or doing a project in the church or youth room. I look forward to a little bit of a Sabbath as well. 
Eric Oswald, DCE
Grace Lutheran Church
Sandy, UT



The Great American Cheese Race
My favorite activity for the summer (and it really works any time of year) is the American cheese race.  To have this race, each person sticks a slice of American cheese on his or her forehead and races to see who can get it into his or her mouth first. Be sure to have a trashcan ready, and explain that you don’t want the youth to actually EAT the cheese. Who wants to eat cheese that’s been stuck on your forehead? (Or that has hit the floor 40 times?)
Eric Oswald, DCE
Grace Lutheran Church
Sandy, UT



Water Balloon Volleyball
This game is a lot like sand volleyball, only you use a water balloon instead of a ball. To play this game, everyone needs to find a partner. Each person gets one towel to use to catch the water balloon. Throw  the water balloon across a volleyball net without it breaking it. If the balloon breaks on your side, the other team gains a point. Be sure to have lots of water balloons at the ready. It’s additionally fun to provide spectators with big buckets of water and cups to use to throw water from the sidelines on the players.
Eric Oswald, DCE
Grace Lutheran Church
Sandy, UT



Saying Hello AND Goodbye
This summer, to welcome our new members and say goodbye to our seniors, we are planning a weekend adventure to the Passion Play in Spearfish, S.D. We are camping overnight following the play, having fun at a water park and go-cart park the next day and then heading back home. Past welcoming/goodbye parties have included water skiing, swimming, and barbecues at the local recreational lake.
Tammy Dean, Adult Sponsor
St. Paul’s Lutheran Church
Bridgeport, NE



Common Connections
What if instead of just “passing the peace,” congregations actually connected? We spent 15 minutes one Sunday playing the Connections game. Form two lines that face each other. Give everyone 15-30 seconds to find something in common with the person across from them. Then yell, “Switch!” One line rotates to the right and they have 30 seconds to find something in common with that person. Of course, it’s cheating to say that you have the color of your shirt in common. The rotating gets messy, but that’s half the fun. Imagine the member of 30 years finding something in common with the new confirmand!
Signe White, Director,
Camp Perkins



Camcorder Scavenger Hunt

These days camcorders are very common in your youth group’s families. Why not use them for a youth group activity?


What Youll Need:

One camcorder for each group of four or five youth (fresh battery & new tape)

A willing parent or counselor with a car for each group of youth


A big television

Three hours

A list of the same tasks for each group, sealed in their own “Mission Envelope”


The Rules:

  1. Each group will have an hour and a half to complete their hunt.

  2. Each group must complete as many of the 20 tasks as possible in the allotted time (extra points can be given for creativity).

  3. Points will be deducted from any team that returns late.

  4. Each team member must wear a seatbelt.

  5. Each driver is required to obey all traffic laws (including speed limit).

  6. Each team is required to have fun in Christ.

Your Mission:

(Use these to inspire you.  You may want to tweak them or change them to fit your situation.)

  1. (20 pts)  Film a dog chasing a cat/squirrel/car down the street.

  2. (15 pts)  Your group singing “Happy Birthday” to a stranger in a fast-food restaurant.

  3. (30 pts)  Video footage of a room in the house of a youth group member not on your team.

  4. (15 pts)  An adult (not a team member) doing a cartwheel.

  5. (35 pts)  Your team holding hands, praying around the school flagpole for two minutes.

  6. (50 pts)  Someone singing the “Lollipop Song” from the Wizard of Oz while under the influence of helium.

  7. (25 pts)  Your team building a human pyramid and saying a cheer.

  8. (20 pts)  A team member wearing a fireman’s hat, boots, and coat while making siren sounds.

  9. (75 pts)  A team member sitting in a bathtub, squeaking a rubber ducky.

  10. (20 pts)  The team singing and doing the hokey-pokie with a Wal-Mart employee.

  11. (20 pts)  Drying an article of clothing (such as a jacket or sock) from each team member at the local laundromat.

  12. (75 pts)  Telling three residents at a nursing home that Jesus loves them, then giving them a hug.

  13. (50 pts)  Asking the clerk at the convenience store to recite John 3:16.  If they don’t know it, teach it to them.

  14. (20 pts)  A pizza restaurant employee balancing a pizza box on their nose for five seconds.

  15. (20 pts)  Buying something that costs exactly $1.23 at the grocery store (tax included).

  16. (25 pts)  Someone demonstrating the proper way to clean a toilet.

  17. (20 pts)  A band student playing a song on their instrument.

  18. (35 pts)  Someone wearing your pastor’s clerical shirt while the group recites the Lord’s Prayer with them.

  19. (15 pts)  Film the team as you drive through an automatic car wash.

  20. (20 pts)  Your whole team blowing a bubble gum bubble at the same time.   

Use the first 15 minutes of your meeting to talk about rules and safety. Divide the group into teams. Set your watches and tell them when to be back.  Have a prayer, then send them off with their Mission Envelopes.


When the teams return, have the youth relax with snacks and watch their tapes together. Have a group of two or three adults award points accordingly. Give a small prize to the team that scores the highest.


A great Bible Study or Devotional tie-in would be “Pressing On Toward the Goal”

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