Tips for connecting with young people this summer

Published: Wednesday May 24, 2023

Tips for the summer by Barrie Voyce, Senior Youth Connector

With the longer evenings and the sunshine, it’s great to be able to get outside more with our youth. Whilst some of us are planning residentials and festivals, for most the summer holidays can mean time off (great!) but also a big gap in the youth programme and the potential to lose touch with everyone.

The summer is a chance for a different rhythm and the possibility of projects you wouldn’t usually be able to do. We love scheduling in one or two things to do together over the summer – to meet up and keep relationships going, and also to invite those Year 6s who will be joining youth permanently in September.

Here’s a few suggestions, and if you know of others, do let us know!

Do remember to get consent from parents for anything outside of your normal programme, and to risk assess activities. Our Diocese Safeguarding Team have a couple of easy-to-follow risk assessment templates to download.

Community Action Project

This could be anything from clearing up a community green space to decorating a room in a community building. I’ve found this can give young people a real buzz, help the group with team building and really support the local community. Make sure you take time to visit and risk assess the project really thoroughly; always better to start with something manageable. It’s great to link in with other community workers who might have great ideas. Your local DIY shop may be able to help with free/reduced kit.

Party in the park

Recreate the festival vibe with a mini-version in your own community. Play some music through a Bluetooth speaker, order in a pizza (or have a BBQ if the council say it’s okay), sit around and chat.

Why not invite the whole community? Bring together young people from church and school, with parents and younger siblings too. The main thing is not to over-plan it, you don’t need a hundred activities, get people to bring a chair and their own snacks. Provide a football.

Chip shop crawl

It’s an annual event for the young people in Stonehouse. An evening stroll around the local chippies, a bag of chips from each. Everyone gets their own fork. Dive in, give it a rating (out of 5 to make it simple, or create a mark scheme with columns for ‘freshness’, ‘fluffy centre’, ‘grease’, ‘quantity of vinegar’). At the end of the evening, total up and announce the winner. Why not get the young people to design a certificate and give it to the winning chippy to proudly display?

A local trip

You don’t have to do something extravagant, there are some brilliant locations around the Diocese for a day trip. Because they’re local, you can always arrange for the young people to meet you there.

How about one of these:

  • Outdoor activities at Viney Hill
  • Go-karting at JDR
  • Dry skiing in Matson
  • Laser Tag at Battle Hill
  • Sandford Parks Lido

Please check with venues before organising a day trip.

Hang out in your churchyard

One of the biggest delights for me over the past few years has been the way in which my youth group have come to see the churchyard at St Matthew’s as part of their space. What started in COVID as a way to de-mask and let off steam for half an hour during youth club has rapidly turned into a whole new experience. Now it’s light, we’re hardly in the building.

We’ve explored the graveyards – learning about the saints of the past who lived in our parish, played football, helped pick up litter, built an insect hotel and found enough space under a yew tree to shelter from the rain together.

It’s always been there, but we never saw it before.

Do you have a summer activity you know your young people love?

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