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Memory Makers50 Moments Your Kids Will Never Forget
By Doug Fields Duffy Robbins
ZondervanCopyright © 1996 Youth Specialties
All right reserved.
Chapter OneUN-TESTIMONY SERVICE
It's normal at the end of a retreat or camping week for students to verbalize publicly any spiritual decisions they've made. But what about those who didn't make a decision? Ask any of these kids (who are willing) to testify why they feel they cannot make a commitment yet. It's a perfect time for you to affirm sincere seekers in their search-and it promotes honest questions and candid ministry among group members.
Chapter TwoMYSTERY HITCHHIKER
What is your group's "compassion quotient"? If you're ready for a retreat on the subject, think about starting the retreat this way.
On the way to the retreat, drive your group by a staged car breakdown (the uglier and scuzzier the car, the better). Stop and offer to pick up the stranded driver-without letting anyone know that the person you're picking up is actually your retreat speaker. Arrange to have the speaker look as dilapidated as the car-dirty, smelly, unshaven, maybe acting a little strange. When you near your destination, drop the "stranger" off where he can "get further help," then continue on to camp.
In the meantime, the speaker getscleaned up and makes his way to camp (maybe with the help of one of your volunteers).
When the first session begins that night, introduce to your kids who the "stranger" actually is. Lay the weekend's foundation by discussing how they all responded with or without compassion to this stranger. Compassion will become more than a retreat theme to them.
Chapter ThreeBOWLING TROPHIES THAT BLESS
The heart of a healthy ministry just may be the message behind a bowling trophy.
Healthy ministries are filled with appreciation and affirmation-and one easy, inexpensive way to express appreciation for your students is through personalized trophies. Don't spend big bucks on new ones-just buy old trophies from thrift stores (I've found dozens for a quarter each), then replace the dated plaque (1968 Lady Bees Division Four Champions) with a shiny new plaque that bears your own message (Andy Brazelton: Servant of the Month). After spending a couple of dollars on the plaque, you'll have created an unusual treasure for the cost of lunch.
This is one memory maker that can become a regular award in your group. Heighten the anticipation of announcing the monthly or quarterly winner by keeping the trophy covered with a pillow case during the meeting, and then unveiling it as a surprise. You may be surprised how little it takes to make teenagers feel affirmed in their largely unaffirming world.
Chapter FourPREARRANGED DISASTER I: RETREAT BUS BREAKDOWN
Why is it that kids usually talk more about the bus breaking down than about the retreat the bus was taking them to? Try staging a bus breakdown a mile from camp and have kids hike the last mile. (If your church bus is like most church vehicles, it may not even make it to the prearranged breakdown point!)
The best part comes as the kids near the camp and the "broken down" bus passes them with a huge sign on the back reading PIZZA HERE. After hiking a mile or two, they'll appreciate a good dinner-and a good laugh.
A variation of this bus-breakdown memory maker requires the group to stay on the retreat for another day. Secretly arrange it in advance with parents and the retreat center so the kids think they're getting an extra day.
Chapter FiveSOUP-ER BOWL
A youth group we know organized 35 volunteers in their church to cook homemade chili. The students then went out on the street to invite homeless people in for a hot meal. The double surprise for these folks? They were being invited to a giant Super Bowl Party!
The youth group also invited members of the church to drop by for a bowl of chili (for a small donation). The proceeds were donated to the local homeless shelter, and the homeless and the church congregation enjoyed each other's company, the chili, and the Super Bowl.
Excerpted from Memory Makers by Doug Fields Duffy Robbins Copyright © 1996 by Youth Specialties. Excerpted by permission.
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