Back to School: Prepping Your Youth Group for a New School Year

Summer break is wrapping up. The smell of freshly sharpened pencils fills the air. Kids soak up the last little bit of freedom. Yep, it’s almost time for back to school season!

As a youth group leader, you have a unique opportunity to help your students transition smoothly into the new academic year with a foundation rooted in scripture. 

Don’t know where to get started? Here are some tips to help you prep your youth group for a new school year.

Reflect on the past year

Some kids have to see where they’ve been to see where they’re going! Take a moment with your youth group (during worship or discipleship) to have them think about what they accomplished last year. Encourage them to think about the areas where they struggled. Ask them to think through where Christ might be calling them to grow. Having this baseline can help your whole group open themselves up to developing more spiritually and emotionally!

Set goals

The new school year for many kids feels like a better time to make “New Years Resolutions” than the actual holiday! 

A great activity to help them goal set is simple: give them a notecard and a marker. Have them write down a goal the group can support them in. If they want to share that goal, have them thumbtack it to a board in your youth area. They can sign the notecard or leave it anonymous. 

Throughout the year, encourage your students to pray over the groups’ goals and check in with those who went public with their goals! It’s also an awesome way to teach accountability and connection.

Plan engaging activities

Yeah this requires thinking ahead, but trust us — having a batch of activities lined up for the next few weeks will be great for you and your students! Think of a few community-driven activities for those first couple of weeks. This can help newbies feel more excited about visiting your youth group and give your regulars another reason to invite more friends!

Foster a sense of community

“But wait, isn’t this what we’re supposed to do throughout the year?” Well, yeah… However, what we mean is keep the community that you developed from church camp and summer projects going. Keep encouraging open communication and sharing, and create a safe and inclusive environment where everyone feels heard and valued.

A great way to show inclusion is by having group shirts ready to give away. (We know, we know, but we had to say it!) Group shirts can showcase unity and indicate to a new youth group attendee “you’re welcome here!” 

Offer academic support

Not all churches have the space for this, but if your youth group can handle it, consider making a study area for your kids! It’s a great way for students from different schools to meet. It also gives students a safe space for them to study that they might not have at home. 

Before the school year starts, take a second to see if you can make a study room (or even just a study corner) for your students. It can make a world of difference in helping kids feel like they have somewhere to turn. 

Getting ready for school feels overwhelming for students and youth group leaders alike. How do we know that? Because we’ve got over 25 years of supporting youth group leaders and their ministries through really cool shirts and swag. If you’re looking for group shirts to celebrate a new year of ministry, give us a call or fill out our inquiry form!