How important is the environment portion of your Edge or Life Night? If it wasn’t important, it wouldn’t be included, youth ministers wouldn’t use them, and I certainly wouldn’t be dedicating my first blog to it.
Environment can be transformational in your parish Edge and Life nights. The teens will begin to anticipate the topic of the night, take ownership in their youth room, and it makes for a great conversation starter with the teen that’s hard to reach.
Some practical environment tips:
Assign a Core Member to the environment each Edge night. Let that Core Member have creative freedom. Work with them to create an environment for a particular night and praise them! Make sure that’s their only major contribution to that particular night. Be sure to thank them at your Core Team Meeting or evening debriefer.
If you don’t have enough Core to assign, consider asking parents to help out. Many times parents are anxious to help out, but their teen doesn’t want them there or they’re not able to dedicate or commit their time. This is typically something that be made and dropped off, or set up ahead of time.
Talk about the Environment
Be sure to talk about the environment during the night. Draw attention to it in some way. It not only stresses it’s importance to your Core Team, but also engages the teens in understanding how the environment aids to the night.
Have a Core Member who just takes pictures! Print the pictures and dedicate space in your room for the pictures from each Edge Night! Watch the teens come in and head straight to the picture board to find theirs. Put them on a slide show and play them as the teens come in. Watch their faces light up as they see themselves on the screen or on the picture board.
Leave a Piece Up
Leave something up from each of your nights. It might be a poster that was created in small group, a caution sign, a list of precepts, or a random shoe you hung from the ceiling. Find something that you can leave behind and leave out! It will show you, your Core Team, and your teens where you’ve been throughout the semester or year. It’s a neat place to share with parents or even new parishioners what your youth group has done.
Joseph’s Carpenter Club
Let’s face it. Dad’s love to hammer, nail, and “build stuff.” If you have something that you think would enhance your night, ask a group of dads to build it for you! It’s a great way to incorporate the dads! Most of the time, they’ll have the wood lying around and they’ll get really into making it the biggest and best. You should have seen our Ark! I think Noah would have been impressed.