Back to School… No Matter Where You Live!

Hey All! Sorry for the silence last week- it was one of the craziest weeks because I was knee deep in my latest adventure of room renovation, but guess what? That means that you’ll get to see all of the before and after fun this week! Hooray!

There’s a twist to all of this- the latest room makeover is actually nowhere to be found in our house. Nope, I wasn’t hard at work at home- I was hard at work at… work! Being that it’s back to school season, I figured I’d show you what that means in my line of work. No, I’m not a teacher, but the school year is definitely go time for me.youth room 063I am a Youth Director (yeah, it’s a thing) and I work with the Middle and High School students at our church. The easiest way to describe what I do is this: I am in charge of teaching students about Jesus Christ and walking with them as they grow up and explore their faith in God. Sounds fairly simple, but trust me- it’s a full time job! Think teacher, event planner, cheerleader, parent (in that I attend more soccer games and school musicals than I probably will with my own kids), counselor, friend, and maid service all wrapped into one. That’s what I do and truly- I wouldn’t have it any other way. Mitch and I always joke that we don’t need any kids of our own just yet- we’ve got well over a couple hundred with all the students we work with on a day to day basis and have worked with over the past few years.

All that being said, I know that my job doesn’t make the blog all that often (you can see a few Youth Ministry posts here, here, and here, and here), but it’s a huge part of who I am and largely where my heart lies. Soooo, this week you get to see a bit of the passion I have for what I do for a living. Ok, back to the Back to School excitement. Let’s kick this week off with a fun project I did for a few of our students that are dear members of our Youth Group family, but moved away this summer and are starting the year in a new home, neighborhood, and school.how toYou know I love a good care package (check out an India-themed one here) and I knew that getting a bundle of love and encouragement from “home” could be just the right thing for our kids who are working through such a big transition.

The first thing I did was scour Target for fun and funky school supplies. I got a few tried and true favorites (like mechanical pencils), but also threw in some things that are a bit more exciting than your average notebook and pens. I grabbed some fruit snacks (classic school lunchbox snack, right?), washi tape, post-its, and a pack of pretzel erasers (they came in a four pack that I just divided up between the four kids- 2 boys and 2 girls).youth room 021Also included were a pack of stationary that the kids can use to write to their friends and family and a devotional called “Jesus Calling” (it’s a really neat book if you’re hunting for something of that sort).

youth room 023

For the guys, I did my best to hunt down some non-girly things (which was actually pretty challening!) that were still cooler than just regular school stuff. I came up with some arrow- shaped magnets and these large-and-in-charge paperclips. Nate Berkus for the win.youth room 032The next step was to figure out how to package everything up. One of the kids is moving down south, so his I just sent in a fun envelope, addressed with love from the Youth Group.youth room 019

The other three are siblings and are moving northwest, so I wanted to create three separate bundles, but package them all in the same box for shipping purposes. youth room 025I just took some yarn and wrapped it around the bundle, taking care to clip the pencils on and thread the yarn through the center of the washi tape and eraser. Each student got a letter (I’m totally on Team Handwritten Note Whenever Possible) with their package to help identify whose was whose.youth room 024From there, all three packs got put into a cardboard box and cushioned by scrunched up scrap paper.youth room 018And now… for the fun part: decorating the packaging. I couldn’t do too much with Luke’s because of the cool print on the envelope, but I didn’t want to send just a boring old cardboard box to the others. So I took  it upon myself to “decorate” both the inside…decorated box

and out…the challengeLet me introduce you to Leslie’s Moving Away Challenge. If you can’t quite read it, this is what the four sides of the box said:

The Official (insert last name here) Challenge:

  1. Check out a new youth group and attend one of their fall events.
  2. Send us a postcard of your favorite (insert state here) attraction…
  3. Give us a tour of your new home.
  4. Go explore your new neighborhood.
  5. Go out of your way to introduce yourself to 3 new people every week.
  6. Take a three person selfie (or however many kids/siblings there are) in each room of your house.
  7. Do something nice for mom and dad. (Bonus Points if you can surprise them!)
  8. Find an amusement park in (enter state here) and have everyone go on a ride together. (Bonus Points if it’s a roller coaster!)
  9. Learn about something that is unique to (enter state here).
  10. Write a letter to yourself that is to be opened in 2020.
  11. Find and memorize a Bible verse to mark this new chapter in your life.
  12. Try something that you’ve NEVER EVER done before!

Then I shipped everything off and prayed that each package found it’s way okay… and a few days later, we got word that everything had been received and that everyone was liking their gifts and having fun with the surprises. Hooray!youth room 020So there you have it- a bit of Back to School fun- Youth Ministry style. Oh, but the fun doesn’t stop there- this week we’ve got a brand new Youth Room to unveil, a few school-ish DIY projects, and some tips on how we communicate things with students and parents throughout the year in fun and energizing ways. Happy September all!

-Leslie

2 thoughts on “Back to School… No Matter Where You Live!

  1. Pingback: C.O.M.M.U.N.I.C.A.T.I.O.N. | Oh, the Fun…

  2. Pingback: How To: Dry Erase Calendar | Oh, the Fun…

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