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4 Hacks To Make Summer Memorable For Every Student

Jen Willard
April 20th, 2020

Times have been difficult, but summer is still a great time to engage youth and make lasting memories with our students. Summer is such a special time because there are small and inexpensive things that you can do as a youth worker to help your students remember your time together for years to come.

Check out these 4 hacks that have worked in my ministry to make summer memorable for everyone! 

Spend Time Together

This summer especially, students are going to crave time together after being apart for so long. To make lasting summer memories, spend time with your teens and allow them to spend time with one another. Some of the time spent with your students should be doing simple things around your town. Do a service project together, go to lunch, or hang out at a park for the day. Spend time with your students when there are low expectations and when they can be entirely unscripted. Your students may learn something new about each other and be able to deepen relationships with friends that they will be able to take with them into the next school year.

It is also important to spend time with your students away from their normal routines and schedules. I always plan to take my group to a summer camp or mission trip that will allow us to get away from regular schedules for almost a week at a time. Time away from normal routines can help students to be more open and can help to establish deeper trust and relationship building for all of you. Students might not remember what the camp speaker said, but they will remember the leaders who put up with their smelly cabins for a week and the memories that were made. 

Consider a Theme 

Having one word, theme, or truth that you want to communicate to your students for the summer can help the time be more cohesive for your students and a provide memories for years to come. You could use a word, a short verse, or even a simple phrase to inspire you and your students for the whole summer. If you are taking your students to a camp with a theme already in place, it would be super easy to use that theme for your students! 

You could take things to the next level for your if you are able to get t-shirts or stickers printed with your theme and add the verbage into everything that you do. Even after the summer fun has faded, your students will remember that one key phrase that you reminded them of all summer and hopefully they will also be able to share how that theme and your youth group helped change and shape their lives with their friends in the fall! 

Do Something New  

The summer gives so many opportunities for you to help your students try something new and experience something they haven’t experienced before. You can do something as small as build a potato gun in a volunteer’s backyard or as organized as taking your students to the lake to wakeboard for the first time.

Either way, your goal would be to do something with your students that is completely out of the ordinary for them and an experience that they might only have once in a lifetime. Think outside the box because the crazier the better! These original and sometimes wacky times spent together will be things that your students will not soon forget. 

Make it Substantial

My favorite part of summer is keeping things light and fun for students as they are out of school, but if your summer is filled with only fun things and no substantial spiritual growth, students won’t remember if their memories happened at church or just hanging with their friends. Do your best to encourage lasting spiritual growth.

My students love having a Bible study at our local coffee shop. Teach the Gospel to your students and continue to teach them how to share their faith with their friends. Students will more likely remember the summer that they accepted Christ, learned how to use their gifts to serve God, or got baptized.

Make sure that you are balancing out the crazy and chaotic fun with something lasting that your students can apply the rest of their lives. 

Jen Willard

Jen Willard has been in full time youth ministry for 5 years and is currently the Youth Pastor at church in Little Rock, AR. She loves continually learning about ministry and is a graduate of Nazarene Theological Seminary’s MDiv program. Jen loves drinking coffee and traveling to new places with her husband Bryan. Follow her on Instagram at @duckjd.

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.

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