10-second Tip: Do A Head Count

Jacob Eckeberger
August 11th, 2016

At the NATIONAL YOUTH WORKERS CONVENTION, we stopped youth workers from all across the U.S. and asked them to share a 10-second youth ministry tip.


“Make sure you do a head count before you leave, and a head count before you come back.”


Leaving a student behind on a trip is one of those top 10 worst nightmares for any youth worker. So even if you have a small group of students, head counts are extremely important to do several times throughout your trip. Here are a couple helpful ways to do those head counts:

1) The master list.

Have a print out of everyone on the trip in alphabetical order. Along with their name, be sure to include a quick reference of their emergency contact info and other important details (medications needed, allergies, etc.). If you’re able to, also try to put a picture of the student by their info so that anyone with the master list can verify each student, even if they are new.

2) Enlist the adult group leaders.

Your adults can help you with the head count by assigning them a group of students and having them keep track of those students throughout the entire trip. That way, if a student does go missing, hopefully they’ll realize it way before you all jump in the van.

3) Enlist your student leaders.

Task a handful of your student leaders with the responsibility of leading a group of other students. Your student leaders can use it as an opportunity to get to know other students, to help make sure everyone is feeling included, and to do an occasional head count of their group throughout the day.

Join us this year for the National Youth Workers Convention in Cincinnati, OH for way more tips and ministry ideas from the 50+ seminars and training opportunities. Register early for NYWC to save BIG: NYWC.COM.

JACOB ECKEBERGER is the Content Manager at Youth Specialties, an itinerant worship leader, the spouse of a church planter, and a long time volunteer youth worker. You can find him blogging about social media and digital strategy ideas at JACOBECKEBERGER.COM.

Jacob Eckeberger

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in the YS Blog are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the opinion or position of YS.