This is the time of year where we start to think about celebrating the seniors in our youth ministry – Wesley wrote in asking what we do as far as traditions go and I thought it might make a good blog post. Here’s what we have planned, and a few ideas cooking for the future:
Senior Weekend – Every year we let the senior students run a weekend service in June. They are just about to walk the aisle, so it is a great time to celebrate them and mark their legacy in the church as well. A couple of seniors typically speak, another shares a story, and if possible we have an all-senior band. It’s a great time to cheer them on to college.
Senior Luncheon -We’ve done several different versions, but we try to have some sort of gathering where we invite parents in as well and eat one last meal together. Wow, that sounded sort of dramatic. Anyhow, it is a fun celebration with a little video and a senior challenge, too. Sometimes they might be given a small gift, too?
The Last Hurrah – New this year – we’re taking a senior trip! We’re thinking end of May, just one overnight, but something special to hang out with them and talk one-on-one through the next phase of life. So many students check out early their senior year, we’re hoping this, and the senior weekend help them hang on and finish strong.
Freshman Care Packages – Too often students are forgotten about after graduation. This coming year, we’re hoping to check in on them after their first month at college andsend them a little care package. Of course, say with even 5 students this is a big task, getting addresses and organizing it all. But I think it’ll be worth it, just a simple reminder that they are loved after they are technically ‘out’ of youth group.
HSM Alumni – This last idea is still perhaps a ways down the road, but I would love to see some sort of simple alumni association for students that have come through our ministry over the years. Even using a simple tool like Facebook and starting a page would be interesting, I would love to stay current with the graduates of HSM. Not to mention a reunion every 5 years.