If you are like me, as soon as the second semester begins, I am also planning for my summer months of youth ministry activities. Often all my energy and time goes into planning those larger trips—like mission weeks and weekend conferences. As powerful as these opportunities are, we need to remember that not all of our teens can attend these. So, it’s also smart to plan some simpler, cheaper, shorter and closer-to-home activities.
Once you have got all your big summer trips planned, be sure to add in some other activities to keep up the relational ministry you have begun during the school year. These summer months give us an opportunity to be creative in our efforts to build our relationships with teens, especially because they tend to have more time.
While I know that summer is key relational ministry time, I often find that wrapping up the year, working out all the details for the large-scale trips, and planning for the follow year saps all my energy. I tend not to schedule anything (outside of the big trips) in fear of scheduling too much. We all know it is important to take some Sabbath time; it is also important to look ahead, plan and not miss the opportunity that summer provides. In order to avoid regret when fall rolls around, I try to start thinking ahead about what I can do each summer.
My summer activities—beyond the big trips—tend to be different each summer. Often they are a direct result of the teens themselves asking about doing a particular thing. So, here are sixteen ideas that you might try this June-July-August. Depending your locality, size of group, etc, you will need to modify them for your own group.
- Adoration night — If your parish doesn’t offer this, you might visit another parish that does.
- Attend a local baseball game. The one year I did this, it was a big hit with the guys. We bypassed our local Triple A team and headed to a nearby MLB game for a day trip.
- Bible study series – I’ve picked either a theme for the summer or a particular book of the Bible and taken a few weeks of the summer to go through it.
- Bowling — although this was a fun evening for the teens, the Core team also took a lane and tried to prove their skill.
- Catch a Christian concert — find out what’s in the area and see if you can get a group ticket discount.
- Challenge another youth group to a sporting event — this can be a great way for teens to meet other Catholics
- Cook for a homeless shelter — serving together is always a great bonding activity.
- Day retreat — this will still be a significant amount of work, but you will get to sleep in your own bed.
- Frozen yogurt night! These places are popping up like weeds. Except they taste better. One place in our area is very popular with my teens.
- Go to a theme park — I know of one youth group that did scavenger hunts in the theme park.
- Go to daily Mass—and afterwards, grab breakfast with the teens.
- Ice skating — of course, depending on where you live this may or not be a fun idea—especially if your lakes are still frozen.
- Meet teens for lunch — especially the ones you’ve wanted to catch up with all year, but never did.
- Pool party — I had a parent that was willing to open their backyard and even make a lot of the snacks.
- Visit a nursing home — another great idea of service and loving our neighbor.
- Weekly hang out nights at the youth ministry room — this lets teens know that your door is still faithfully open.
Whatever you do this summer, enjoy your ministry! Enjoy the young people that God has called you to serve! God bless!
Do you have any ideas for summer ministry? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.