The Spring Break Problem | UMC YoungPeople
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March 2018

The Spring Break Problem

By Meredith Garreau

It happens to all of us- as we get closer and closer to Spring Break, we’re debating how to adapt our lessons and games for a smaller crowd. It can be a little stressful also when you have a church and youth group on the smaller side already, let alone when kids get a week off from school. So in my years as a Youth Director I’ve found a solution.

1. Cancel it

Yup- I cancel Youth Group on the Sunday night beginning AND ending Spring Break. The reason being this: when I am trying to plan a program for those Sundays and worrying about it constantly, it becomes more of a numbers game than a caring for the youth situation. My primary focus which should be on the wellbeing and faith nurturing of my middle and high schoolers, switches to just getting as many kids there as possible.

2. Use the Time to Catch Up

So to bring my focus back to what really MATTERS about youth ministry, I use Spring Break as a time to catch up with my kids who are still in town. A week off from school is a great time to catch up with kids in small groups or one-on-one at a restaurant for lunch. Many times, that’s when a kid can open up to you or others about what is going on in their life or ask you any questions about their faith that they may be having.

Another nice perk of no programming during Spring Break is that you can catch up with any of your former youth now in college. Some university Spring Breaks may coincide with your town’s break so that you can meet them for coffee in person. If not, it’s also a great time to give them a call or send a text to see how they’re doing. It’s easy for your former youth to get lost in the shuffle when you’re dealing with the current youth at home. This can be the perfect time to hear how their semester is going and pray with them.

None of this is rocket science. I’m sure most of you know the importance of building personal connection with the kids in your youth program. However, if you’re me, sometimes there aren’t enough hours in the day to check in with all your kids even once in a while. Spring Break is the perfect way to turn a negative into a positive; through cancelling your programming, you might ironically find the time to truly connect with a teen.

Meredith currently works as Director of Youth, Adult, and Family Ministries at First United Methodist Church in Champaign, Illinois, where she has worked for four and a half years. She is a graduate of Wheaton College in Wheaton, Illinois. Meredith most enjoys spending time with her husband, Scott; catching up with friends and family; canoeing, traveling; and watching Bob’s Burgers. If she’s not reading the Bible, she’s rereading Harry Potter for the 150th time.