New Year, New Look: Youth Group Edition

January might mark a new calendar year for most people, but for your youth group students, the real new year is mid-August. New school year means a fresh start. Middle schoolers move up to high school Bible studies, newly minted seniors start calling everything their “last” (as if they won’t see you again once they join college ministry). 

(“This is my LAAAAST pizza party eeevveeerrr.” – your seniors)

With everyone saying “new school year, new me,” how can you make the most of that energy? Here are some tips for getting your students — and volunteers — excited for another year of youth group.  

Refresh the youth group space. 

Have you had the same wall colors since 2005? Then you’re long overdue for a fresh coat of paint. Even moving from one shade of beige to a slightly lighter shade can seem like a breath of fresh air to your students and longtime volunteers. Another free fix is to change up the seating arrangement of your space. Move around couches and play with the arrangement of chairs. If you’ve got a little bit more money to spend, add some new art or splurge on printing off large-scale photos of your group. 

(Go full Bob Ross on the space. We won’t judge.)

Kick off with a mixer.

A new school year means new students! To help the newbies feel welcome, set aside time for them to get to know your group and vice versa. The fastest way for a student to stop coming to youth group is making them feel unwelcomed or uncomfortable. Have get-to-know-you games planned, or just throw a pizza party and give students space to talk to each other. 

Encourage your volunteers. 

Look, we get it; you do a lot as a youth minister. But you also know that your ministry wouldn’t be where it is without volunteers. (Try to imagine the nightmare of doing a lock-in without volunteers… terrifying stuff.) Welcome your volunteers back with small gifts, like a personalized mug and a Starbucks gift card. Or, if you have a lot of volunteers for a larger ministry, get them all together for a mixer of their own! 

Invest in newly designed swag. 

Nothing says “We’re ready to party” like new group shirts. To celebrate and welcome everyone back to youth group, hand out customized shirts with a fresh design! The wardrobe of the average middle schooler is like 90% free shirts anyway, so you’re really doing their parents a favor in the long run. 

“But I don’t have time to design my own shirt!” you say. “I’m in youth ministry!” That’s where we come in! At Uth Stuph, we offer a variety of design templates that you can quickly customize and order for your group. So whether you’re looking for a retreat, VBS, or seasonal shirt, we’ve got you covered. You can also upload your own template or logo, making the process easy peasy. Give us a call at 800-242-9166 email us at, or fill out this handy dandy form to get a free quote