Summer Kickoff Event Planning
I don’t know about you guys, but for us here in Ohio, kicking off the summer is a big deal. After months of extremely unreliable, unstable and mostly cold weather, we are ready to bring in the sunshine and summer days, and our students are especially ready to bring in a few school-free months. As a youth group, summer means a more laid back schedule, camp, a myriad of messy summer games and slightly dysfunctional rafting trips. These things deserve to be ushered in in grand fashion. Enter the summer kickoff event. If you’re like me, your brain is already dreaming of summer and you may be starting to plan your kickoff event now. If so, I hope these few tips will help you in your planning and as a fun bonus, they all start with the letter P, because why not?! Happy planning! 🙂
Like with any event, planning should start with prayer. This step is pretty self-explanatory, but I feel like an event cannot get too much prayer coverage, even right from the start.
Once you have prayed over your summer kickoff event, it’s a good idea to determine the purpose of the event before you begin planning. Think about what you want the event to include or what you want the outcome of the event to be. Do you want it to be more worship focused? More fun focused? Or a blend of both? Having these things in mind as you go through your planning will help keep you focused on your end goal throughout the planning.
3. Pull or Poll
Next, I highly recommend pulling in a few student leaders to help in the planning. If you have a student leadership team, this is a good time for them to put their planning skills to use. If not, identify a few leaders and put together a team specifically for the kickoff. Spend time brainstorming with them and looking at the event from start to finish. Chances are they will have ideas that you wouldn’t have even thought of on your own. Also, having ownership in the event will make them more likely to be excited and invite their friends. When the event takes place, allow them to help run things as well. If putting together student leaders for planning doesn’t work with the dynamic of your group, at least consider polling your students in some way to get ideas and suggestions.
4. Pay Attention
Just a little note on planning to pay attention to where you are at. This may seem obvious, but let me explain. Our student’s natural thought process when planning a summer event is to want to do summer related activities. For those of you in warmer climates, that may work well, but for us, a summer kickoff at the end of May doesn’t always include summer weather. So, saving things like water wars or kiddie pool kickball are probably better saved for later in the summer when the weather is slightly more reliable. We try to plan things that could be easily moved indoors with a few tweaks, if necessary.
Go crazy with your publicity and don’t be afraid to pull in your student leaders for help with this as well. Aside from flyers, be sure to utilize social media. Last year, we advertised our summer kick off with a ridiculous “It’s going to be bananas!” theme that included a video a day in the week leading up to the event that involved a student in a banana costume doing various activities. The student in the banana costume showed up at the kickoff and the kids went crazy. Don’t hesitate to think outside of the box.
My final tip is this, have a blast. Go nuts. Live it up. Welcome summer in style! 🙂
Chasity Opphile is the Outreach and Education Coordinator at Christ UMC in Newcomerstown, Ohio. As part of that position, she is the youth pastor for Meta Student Ministries, a community-wide, student-led youth ministry, that takes place at Christ UMC. Chasity is most passionate about empowering and equipping teens and young adults to make a difference in the world through the life-changing power of Jesus. She is also pretty passionate about hanging out with her awesome husband and family, mission work to Cuba, traveling, books, all things Spanish and cooking. You can follow her on Instagram @CHASOPP or FACEBOOK.
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.