Summer Debrief

My quick assessment of the key components in our junior high ministry summer:

- We decided to do lots of small, cheap, 'just show up' type of events to make it easier on families. For the most part, I think this worked pretty well. Every Tuesday we had what we called 'Meet Us @' where students could pick one of three locations/events and simply meet us at that event for a couple of hours. Places like the park, the skate park, a local pool, an arcade, a service project etc. all served as Meet Us @ locations.

-Every Friday we hosted a game day at the park for a couple of hours. We found this attracted almost the exact same group of students every week....mostly athletic type.

- Our first ever Beach Camp was fantastic! an event we'll keep on the calendar.

- Our annual Summer Camp was pretty good. We've been going to the same camp for nine summers now and it feels like our relationship with them is beginning to strain a bit. Not sure, exactly, where the root of that lies. They run a good camp (not quite as good as they used to...), but it feels like the customer service side of things has slipped in recent years.

- Our Guys and Girls day (two seperate events on the same day that we call 'Burly' and 'Girly') were probably our best ever. They used to be two or three day events, but the cost was so high that it kept a whole bunch of kids from being able to attend. Now, they are just one day jam packed with all sorts of events and our attendance was way up this year.

- Our 10-week Summer theme 'In Motion' was pretty good. This was our fourth year of wrapping a theme around all of our Summer weekends and, to be honest, they always begin to feel a bit too long (a 10 week series on the Fruit of the Spirit). But this year was one of the best to date and, overall, I like the themed Summer idea.

All in all, a good Summer. Now it's time to gear up for Fall....volunteer leader training, small group kick-off, Youth Specialties, moving into new offices etc. The fun never stops!


Judy Gregory said...

I saw your post on what the guys did at the Burly event, but what did the girls do for the Girly event? Do you charge your leaders or cover it in the students cost?

Deneice said...

I'm with Judy...I'd love to hear more because I think it is something that would work so well with our kids.

Kurt Johnston said...

Here's a super short history of "Burly/Girly"

We started the tradition a few years ago and made each event out to be a three day trip costing a couple hundred bucks. We jammed all three days with activities and events....the burly trip had stuff more attractive to guys and the girly trip had stuff more attractive to girls. Unfortunately, because we also have an expensive summer camp, the cost of these trips kept most students away. So, we shortened them to two days and then down to one day a year ago. The cost was $60.00. This included rented vans, meals, activities and underwriting the cost for our leaders (we don't make our leaders pay for anything in our ministry...).

The girls went to Hollywood for a day of shopping, bowling, getting their nails done, lunch and dinner at fun places and a couple other events.

We've learned that it's best to keep the times and costs the same for the two events, and to try to keep the 'bang for the buck' as equal as possible.

Burly/Gurly really has become a highlight of our summer.

Hope that's helpful!

Ryan said...


It sounds awesome. I think my other comment got lost in the spam.

I was wondering if you could tell me where the location of that air-filled games place is for your BURLY day? I am looking for a place like that and would love to know where it is at.


kurt johnston said...

It's called 'Pump It Up' and it's in Lake Forest on Vista Terrace (just down the street from SYM). They only have 4 features, but they are all good and it can handle about 50 students fairly well. They have a super cool obstacle course, a giant slide, an inflatable basketball court and a boxing ring with the big gloves. They'll cater meals etc., too.

Deneice said...

Thanks, Kurt.

I kinda thought that was exactly what it was...but I wanted to make sure. I know that would work se well with our Middle Schoolers. Although, as "volunteer peon" I am not surw how much pull I have...but I am going to throw it out there!