Keeping Girls Engaged Throughout the Summer
By Sue Wright, Michigan District Director
"Should we continue the girls and boys clubs during the summer months or not?" At some point, this is a question every children's ministries leader must discuss with their Girls Ministries coordinators. The answer to this question is a unique "yes" or "no" depending on your circumstances. Below are some practical ideas you can incorporate into your summer months to help keep your girls engaged, whether your girls clubs meet during the summer months or not.
If your church continues its mid-week girls clubs, you might consider shutting down the clubrooms once a month during the summer to take all the girls outside for some group activities. You could include the boys clubs (or not) to join the girls in some team-building activities, organized games, a giant waterslide/sprinkler fun night, an evening of obstacle courses, or perhaps an "olympic" sports event night.
Whether or not your church continues girls clubs during the summer, you may want to include one or two special summer event outings to keep your girls connected. These activities can take place outside of your regular meeting times. Some inexpensive and easy-to-plan outing ideas include: a hike or bike ride in a local park, a picnic at a local park with a playscape, adopt-a-road, a movie night (possibly outside), a bonfire, putt putt golf, or a canoe trip.
There is something very special about all-girl outings that can really bond girls and their leaders together. Some simple all-girl outing ideas include: a day trip to a water park, outdoor pool, lake, a theater production, or volunteering at a soup kitchen. If you would like to have some outdoor fun with a purpose, then try planning a garbage pick-up day at a local school playground or park on a cool summer evening. Just show up with gloves and plastic bags. If you want to build some self-esteem in your girls, have a glamor party. Find some volunteers to paint their nails, do their hair, and teach them how to put on makeup. If you want to strengthen friendship, try a tea party. Have the girls dress up and invite a friend. Another fun self-esteem builder is a fashion show. Some stores will allow you to use their clothes at a discount or borrow them at no cost.
Individual club sponsors can host small outings with their girls in their homes. One idea is a themed sleepover. A small sleepover can be very instrumental in helping your girls form lasting friendships. A few themed ideas include: A Princess PJ party where the girls dress up like their favorite princesses. A Pamper PJ party can include doing the girls' nails, hair, and makeup. A Camp Out party in your backyard with your girls and sponsors sleeping in tents, making Smores, and playing flashlight games. You could call it "A Night with the Stars Under the Stars" if you are a Stars sponsor. Other small gatherings a sponsor can host are a tea party, a formal dinner party, or an informal dinner and movie night.
For the coordinators and sponsors who want to do some more club-related activities, you may want to consider an Extreme Badge Day. The coordinator invites all the sponsors who want to participate to meet on a weekday or Saturday at church. The girls earn one badge in one day by doing all the lessons from one unit, memorizing the verse, and doing one craft/activity-all in one day. Another club-related activity for the Stars, Friends, and Girls Only sponsors is a Bible Reading Get Together to help the girls with their required reading. Sponsors meet with their girls at church, a coffee shop, a local park, or invite them to their home to read the Bible. You can use a Bible app such as YouVersion to read the Bible to the girls or have them take turns reading.
Many simple, everyday summer activities like these can be turned into practical ways to keep your girls feeling like they are loved and belong in the family of God. Keep in mind that several of these ideas can easily be turned into an opportunity for your girls to earn an Adventure Badge.