Age-level Ministries

Inspire youth with a summer ‘staycation’

 Challye Hays laughs with children as they play corn hole in the gym during the Project Transformation Family Fun Night at Antioch United Methodist Church. Photo by Kathleen Barry, United Methodist Communications. This event took place July 24, 2014 at the Antioch United Methodist Church. Photo by Kathleen Barry, United Methodist Communications.
Challye Hays laughs with children as they play corn hole in the gym during the Project Transformation Family Fun Night at Antioch United Methodist Church. Photo by Kathleen Barry, United Methodist Communications. This event took place July 24, 2014 at the Antioch United Methodist Church. Photo by Kathleen Barry, United Methodist Communications.

Editor’s Note: We compiled our best stories on Vacation Bible School, service projects, and retreats into one easy reference page. Visit our Plan for Summer landing page for more great ideas.

Turn the "staycation" concept on its ear by hosting one for middle and high school students at your church or a nearby recreation area.

Everyone likes to get away from it all. Teens are no different. Create an entertaining, more grown-up vacation Bible school. Give young people a chance to get away, live independently for a few days, have fun and be inspired.

Youth love to hit the road without their parents, enjoying freedom and their friends. Your church can provide that road trip. An opportunity to go away overnight, spend time with friends, play games, listen to music and learn about God shows teens they can have God, friends and fun at the same time.

How would we do it?
Ask some of the youth to help organize. Create teams and ask an adult to work with each one. Charge each with a task-food, activities, location arrangements-or with planning for a block of time. Each team will come up with a to-do list.

Consider having a couple of adults willing to stay the entire time and others who could come for shifts (including the night). Share camp details with parents and have them sign permission slips.

Where could we go?
Set up camp in your church building or property, or find a nearby recreation area that could host your group. Make sure you have space for sleeping, eating and activities-it can be the same area or separate depending on your facility. Of course, you will also need access to restroom facilities. Remember, your campsite does not have to be fancy. Most teens think it is fun to sleep on the ground. Dining could be picnic-style indoors or out.

What could we do?
Host a talent show or skits one night for participants to showcase their talents and teamwork. Give campers options. For example, schedule a craft activity and a basketball game at the same time. Include a service project that involves making something or going out into the community. Include free time each day. Close the staycation with a worship service organized by the campers.

Darby Jones is the eMarketing Manager at United Methodist Communications.