Monday, November 22, 2010
Monday, November 8, 2010
The retreat was simple. Leaders register their group and each leader really planned the overnighter for their own students (transport, games, dinner, activities, Etc). I provided hotel accommodation that is located close to places to eat and things to do. We ran a very short program at the beginning of the evening to give away a few prizes and to help those newer leaders feel supported and not on their own.
Purpose: To provide an environment for Life Group Leaders to spend quality relational time with their students. Primarily aimed at Freshman or newly formed groups to give them a good head start in relationship building.
Cost: $49 per student (Leader cost covered by student fees)
Accommodation: 4 people to a room, I chose a RedLion hotel where 95% of all the rooms are identical with 2 Queen beds. Pool, fire pits, lounge/lobby area.
Meeting space: Complimentary use of meeting room (I brought my own PA system)
Catering: Groups arranged to meet for dinner on their way to the hotel Friday night, this was not included in the $49. Hot Buffet breakfast included in rooms rate.
Transportation: Groups arranged their own transportation to and from the hotel (30mins drive)
A few thoughts...
1. If we do it again I would rename it "Life Group Overnighter" or "Life Group Hangout" or something that gives a better indication of the low-key nature of the event and doesn't encroach upon our programmed events (like Winter Camp and Summer Camp)
2. It is worth shopping around for hotels and a personal visit will help.
3. Check if the hotel has a rewards program.
4. When you submit the room list, request that girls and guys are on different floors.
5. As trip leader arrive hours earlier than the students/leaders, you will have to reorganize a few rooms around and fix a few errors.
6. Be proactive. I usually check with the front desk during the evening/night to see of there have been any problems. This gives a good impression and helps you head off any potential problems early.
7. Keep the programmed part of the event short. We met together and played a quiz that gave everyone the chance to in something for their group (ranging from a giant bag of popcorn to a deck of cards). Students will be hyped up to stay in a hotel so anything more than that will be tough. It's just a chance to check everyone is ok.
8. Keep your guidelines to minimum. If you are asking leaders to run the show for their group...let them. My only rule was to respect the hotel and follow their leaders direction.
9. Give leaders contact cards. I have a cell phone designated for events so that I can leave the ringtone on LOUD all night.
A common challenge we face as youth workers is the decision of whether or not to subsidize an event or trip. The reasons for doing this could include, keeping the cost per student down, allowing more students to come or perhaps paying for a single student that cannot afford to come at all. There are a couple of things we should consider before do so.....To read more click here
Saturday, October 30, 2010
1. Mason jars, these are great for serving drinks, filling with candy, using as centerpieces (we've filled with them with coffee beans before), use them as a vase, fill them with colored water or gels, you can use them to hold pens or collect donations. Hugely versatile, fairly hard wearing and pretty cheap.
2. Rope lights. Definitely not the cheapest thing to have in storage but they are often more affordable than Christmas lights (with individual bulbs), easier to store because they don't get tangled and give a great effect. For Pumpkinfest we used orange but you could buy white to up-light something or line a table with them or even snake them around food on a buffet.
3. Whether you run large events or small events, often or frequently you should consider putting together an "Event tub". Mine has staple guns (which go missing frequently), flashlights, zip ties, caution tape, rope, tape, duct tape, box cutter, glue, permanent markers. It doesn't need to have expensive stuff in it but just basic tools that are super valuable during set up. Try not to pull form this stash between events...you will be grateful you didn't during event set up!
4. Cash boxes. This is fairly obvious but they are expensive (for something that you rarely use) store them well, borrow them if you can.
5. Halogen work lights. Again not the most inexpensive item but worth the investment over time. We use them at evening check-in, to light up signs, to flood light areas and even to create a more intimate environment by pointing them at the ceiling or wall etc. We also use them for work projects on various mission trips. The one pictured is the type I use but you can buy the same set without the tripod which is much easier to store and more durable.
6. Flashlights. Depends on the events that you run but you can often pick up packs of mini LED flashlights like these cheaply at hardware stores (Home Depot often sells packs of 10 for around $15). They're great for leaders to use during a dance party or outside...and judging on the number that go "missing" at every event, they are probably a great volunteer appreciation gift too!!
7. Galvanized tubs. These are fairly inexpensive and you can fill them with ice for drinks, or put candles in them, use them as a drop point for info cards and even store event equipment in them.
8. Hurricane lanterns are pretty cheap (especially online) and with some tiki torch oil are a great addition to a check-in table. They give a little functional light but are perfect decor for many evening outdoor events.
9. Burlap. This is pretty inexpensive and really versatile for table decor especially used with Mason Jars.
10. Extension Cord. You can never have enough of these and multi-socket adapters. They aren't cheap but if you can keep a few long cords (50ft-100ft) stashed away it'll save you in the long run. Put one or two in your event equipment tub.
Any other "must haves" or items that you are pleased you kept and use frequently? I'd love to add to my storeroom!
Saturday, October 23, 2010
Friday, October 22, 2010
So..what are the big 5 of Youth Ministry Event Planning:
1. Know the purpose of the event
Why are you doing what you are doing? You need to figure this out early on. It may be an event that you've come up with yourself or one that you're planning for another team member. If it's the latter, ask! If it's the former, check that there is a point and it isn't simply something that you will find fun (though hopefully that will play at least a part). Write a mission statement, one sentence that sums up the event that can come back to to help you stay on track.
Even for a simple parent reception ask yourself what the intended outcome is...do you hope to meet parents yourself, present something to them, help them connect to each other, honor them as ministry partners or just take a moment to pray.
Never put an event on the calendar simply because it was there last year.
2. Know WHO the event is for.
Parents, Students, Staff, Volunteers, Newcomers, well connected students, Christians, the whole youth group...
This is vital. If you plan a camp and invite non-Christians then your teaching must reflect that. If you want to run a discipleship retreat, figure out how to attract the specific demographic you're after and tailor the retreat for them.
3. Work out a budget
Do this early on. Don't fall into the mindset of "money doesn't govern my ministry" because in many situations (like on the paper report you present to your senior pastor) it does!
Start with the big costs like Venue, Transportation and catering and then add in the next level of costs like a guest speaker etc.
Remember to ask questions when booking all of these, never assume anything - your budget will hate you for it. Check what you should tip a bus driver (I always ask to have the tip included in the contract), factor in room tax, check to see what A/V equipment is available and whether there is an extra charge. Don't feel like you're asking too many questions, remember, you are the client!
Be strategic. If students don't know about it, then they wont come to it. Promotion is the first step to success, it takes time, effort, energy and enthusiasm. A good promotion campaign is effective and forgotten once the event is done. A poor one is disastrous. Be creative, be clear and once you've grabbed their attention make the next step as simple as possible. Consider online registration (but factor in a cost if there is one).
5. Get the team on board
You may have come up with an incredible idea for an event that you want to reveal at the last second. But if you keep your cards close to your chest you will struggle to pull it off. Share your ideas with your team (whoever that is: paid staff, volunteers, parents), get them excited about what your planning. Give them chunks of the event to own. Delegate as much as you can of the big events. Share the vision, don't assume the team is on board...nobody is as excited about your event as you are and it's your job to change that.
Monday, May 24, 2010
1. Compete in a Lost trivia quiz
2. Design a Lost themed shirt
3. Write a Lost themed poem
Here is my poetic entry...
Don’t rest on your luck, there’s more ways to end
Or you could be destroyed by a fast meteor
a lack of a constant will help you meet your maker
from explosive C4 or a simple fist fight
or an aeroplane engine could lead to your slaughter
Or kinda less glamorous, pushed off a balcony
Impaled on a knife in a kitchen appliance
C-Spine injuries beyond medical science
be trapped in a small plane that fell just too far
killed by a smoke monster or simply punched in the face
A Flaming arrow might hit you as it flies through the air
Your Heart still might give in and just stop completely
Things that will make you scream, struggle and shout
You just CANNOT die when you’re hit on the head with a gun!
I didn't win the poetry contest but was voted best shirt, I might even post a picture of my shirt depicting the simultaneous existence both on and off the island.
Monday, May 17, 2010
Saturday, May 8, 2010
The turning point is when the flight attendant serves drinks. It seems that there is something about coasting along 37,000 feet above sea-level that triggers a mysterious mechanism in the universal passenger subconscious that makes salted peanuts the most desirable entrée this side of In & Out cheeseburgers and a half-cup of Canada Dry the finest carbonated beverage on (or above) planet earth.
But I always ask for coffee on the plane partly because I enjoy coffee but mainly, and this is a little odd, because drinking a half-serving of substandard coffee from a Styrofoam (UK: polystyrene) cup always provides me with a sober moment of reality and perspective. In those few moments of lukewarm enjoyment I always find myself staring at the bottom of the cup after every sip. I laugh at myself for the things I once thought mattered, I recall dreams and plans that I made days, weeks, months or years ago but that never came to fruition. I think of the future, the opportunities ahead. In just a few moments I realign my concerns and desires. I feel as though the world stops for a moment, a moment that is always contemplative, serious but tremendously positive.I'm left staring at the bottom of the empty, coffee stained Styrofoam cup. I smirk, breathe a short laugh at myself and then get back to not talking to people.
I wont share my thoughts of that recent moment here but will perhaps encourage you to take a Styrofoam cup moment every now and then.
Monday, May 3, 2010
The sun shone all day, I read a book, watched TV, listened to music and spent a lot of time outside. I enjoyed drinking ice cold water dispensed directly from the fridge with my own choice of cubed or crushed ice. I loved that the only sound I could hear was the water feature in the back yard. I even remembered to switch my phone alerts to "sabbath" so that I didn't get email alerts.
The last few years has taught me that I could live anywhere in the world, wherever God leads me to serve Him...but there's definitely some great perks living in California!
Sunday, May 2, 2010
- Technology is your best friend when it's working and your worst enemy when it isn't
- Life demands too many passwords and usenames
- No matter how many possible scenarios you prepare for, there will ALWAYS be a student or a parent that will present just one more
- A paperless registration process is incredible, despite the minor hiccups we've had, the set up looks clean and professional (and I'm not carrying large wads of cash and checks around with me)
- Online registration seems to encourage people to email questions rather than speak to someone in person or by phone, allowing me to respond within hours
- NOBODY enters telephone numbers in the following format (xxx)xxx-xxxx which is unfortuante because that's the only acceptable format for our system
- Old people type SUPER slow
- Young people assume that every monitor is a touch screen, despite the presence of a keyboard
- Despite all the fancy programs we have installed on our computers, the easiest and quickest way to get an image onto a screen is good ol' fashioned Powerpoint.
- Sitting on a bar stool but working on a regular height table is a very quick way to develop pain in your neck and spine
Overall I'm super happy with how it's going, just a few kinks to iron out and then keep praying for those sign ups to start pouring in!
Saturday, May 1, 2010
We just finished installing shelves into our new closet space...I really want to buy new matching storage stubs but I also enjoy not spending money frivolously so haven't.
Last month I led a mission trip to New Mexico and we took 200 people, out of the four charter buses, one was slightly older and different....that was irritating.
When I helped lead a Summer Camp many years ago (FAB for those reading who remember the LCET days) and as a gift one of the other leaders arranged all the coloUred cups in such a way that each table had their own coloUr rather than a mismatched non-complimenting array of bright tones...I almost cried it was so great.
I could never wear socks that didn't match, one year for Christmas I was given a set of 7 pairs with the days of the week on. I hardly wore them because I could never find the right day.
There's no real point to this post other than I was thinking about this yesterday as I was working to get our Summer Camp registration online (solely online, there is no other way to sign up). It's up and running but I had to ask about a million time for "one last change" which I'm sure was not only annoying for the IT guy but was killing me for being so disorganiSed.
And this is only the beginning! Summer Camp only 8 weeks away and we have the possibility of taking 700 people so it's going to be a busy few weeks! I might need to get some matching file folders or something to help me through!
Monday, April 26, 2010
In the UK, Mothering Sunday is the fourth Sunday of Lent (March 14th 2010) and is traditionally the Sunday where people would meet in their "Mother Church", the cathedral of the diocese. More recently, it has adopted the name and nature of the US equivalent.
This year in the US, Mother's Day is May 9th. So my usually dependence on Greeting Cards advertising is not helpful.
So inspired by Allison's recent blog post, I have purchased a belated UK Mother's Day gift (or an advance US Mother's Day gift) from Charity:water.
I'm not asking you to give, but I would encourage you to poke around their website.
I have posted very rarely over the past few months. One of the reasons for this is that I have felt the need to process what God is saying to me before I can really develop some answers to my previous posts. Below is an overview of where God led me as I thought and prayed through the questions...Who am I? Where am I? What am I doing?
My purpose is to glorify God through my thoughts, words and actions, to maintain and develop a deep personal relationship with Him and share His love with the world.
Identity: spending quality time with God
Integrity: maintaining God’s standards in life and leadership
Growth: continual learning and developing
Leadership: being an effective steward in ministry
Discipleship: nurturing others
Fellowship: sharing life with others
Encouragement: empowering others
Appreciation: showing gratitude towards others
Awareness: being aware of the needs in my immediate surroundings and the wider world
Advocacy: supporting and standing up for the broken, the needy, the hurting
Action: more than just thought and reflection, being someone of action, making vision a reality and meeting needs head on
As I continue my walk with Christ I dedicate myself to the following six principles:
In my life I will honoUr His authority
(by nurturing a deep relationship with Him)
In my service I will glorify His name
(by working selflessly and sacrificially to lead others to Him)
In my witness I will declare His grace
(by outwardly expressing my faith to the world)
In my leadership I will fulfil His mission
(by steering people towards His purpose)
In my relationships I will reflect His love
(by generating opportunities for fellowship, accountability and discipleship)
In my community & world I will be someone of action
(by turning vision to reality, plans into programs and by meeting the needs that God places on my heart
Sunday, March 21, 2010
That's what I want to do, but I don't have the words.
The words of the previous post to this one, that I wrote many months ago, echo in my heart...
Who am I?
Where am I?
What am I doing?