My church doesn’t do weekly youth group in the summer. During the school year there are three weekly gatherings that youth can connect to, and two of them are right after school. But everything stops in the summer.
Well, not everything. Summer is for week-long gatherings like Work Week, VBS, Camp, and a Mission Trip. We used to plan monthly events like a hike and a beach trip, but summer school schedules have driven down attendance at those, and this summer we’ve planned zero such gatherings.
But last week I got one of the after school groups together to go bowling, and they seemed really happy to see each other. The daily interactions they’re able to have during the school year get suspended in the summer, and this bowling alley was their first chance to get together in about a month.
And it wasn’t a “Y’all come” youth event; it was for this particular community of kids.
I’m changing my thinking about summer youth programming a little bit. If we–our buildings and our staff–are the excuses that youth have for gathering together and growing in friendship, why would we take three months off precisely at the time when their other excuse for doing that (school) is gone?