Have a Blast with a Bucket-List Event | UMC YoungPeople
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January 2023

Have a Blast with a Bucket-List Event

By Cindy Klick

Each of us—youth or adult—has a secret list of “want-to-dos.” Perhaps they remain undone because we struggle to fit them into a packed school-year calendar, or we are waiting to enjoy them even more with some of our best buddies!

Enter: Bucket List Week during any extended school break.

Build anticipation by placing a bucket, pens, and paper in a prominent place in your youth ministry space a month in advance of making any decisions. Consider it a suggestion box, where youth can write down their dream activities. Suggestions get taken as long as the bucket is available. We have done this several times in our youth ministry, and we always get creative suggestions.

One of the most creative “bucket-list items” we recently received was "to play Rock, Paper, Scissors with a real rock, paper, and scissors!" We're going to do it – why not? When you've received the ideas, include students in the final decision-making process about which activities to select. Perhaps your youth leadership team or other interested teens can meet with staff and volunteers to determine priorities and set a schedule for the activities chosen. Some activities will obviously take more planning than others. Consider transportation availability, cost of each activity, variety of offerings, adult supervision, space for students to invite friends, and the opportunity to sneak in a little Christian education amidst abundant fellowship! Figure out how many bucket list activities you can fit into one week and go for it!

Our first (in what is becoming an annual program) Bucket List Week was a “Happy New Year” event that included visits to cookie and Boba shops; a post-holiday movie and white elephant gift exchange; an art museum visit; dining out for lunch and dinner; assembling and delivering care packages for senior citizens in the congregation and shelter pets at the Humane Society; ceramics painting; a leadership workshop; doing an escape room; fort-building with cardboard and duct tape; Nailed It-style baking challenges; and several favorite youth-group games at church (outside as weather permits). Our list of suggestions was long, and we couldn't fit them all into one week. We already have a foundation for our next Bucket List Week or for standalone activities year-round. It's obvious our students love baking, drama, movies, shopping, sports, puzzles, games, and surprises.

Doing this BUCKET LIST activity with your group will help give you a pulse on the interests of your students and what they consider fun and meaningful. Let the adventures begin!