by Brad Shimomura/ April 19, 2016
Are you familiar with the summer drop-off? You know, when school lets out and families take trips? Camping, fishing, and other family events seem to take precedence over church for a couple of months. I know it all too well. Summer activities are a great way to keep connected with your kids at a time when you might not be seeing them at your weekend services.
Psychologists have found that while girls connect more with face-to-face contact, boys connect more when they do things together. Many men will tell you that their best memories with their fathers or other adult male role models were while fishing, working on cars, or other activities. With that in mind, here are some ideas of how to connect with boys during the summer drop-off.
Mega Sports Camp is a great place to start! Think: VBS meets sports clinics. Each day, the kids come and learn skills to improve in their sport, and they get to hear a gospel message. Mega Sports Camp is highly customizable and doesn’t actually require you to have expert coaches. The material is laid out so that almost anyone with a rudimentary knowledge of the sport, a heart for kids, and a fun-loving spirit can help. Even someone with zero sports experience can participate in other levels, like snack, nurse, setup, music, teaching, and many others. With Mega Sports Camp you can choose to teach any combination of soccer, flag football, basketball, baseball, and cheerleading.
Carless Drive-in Movie is a great way to engage boys. You can use your parking lot, playground, or a local park (check with your local Parks & Rec department for permits and reservation information). Invite kids and families to watch a movie on the big screen outdoors. Use a movie that has some redemptive value and can be used to start a conversation about God. After the movie is over, have a discussion about what lessons can be learned and how it applies to our lives. For extra fun, invite kids to make a car out of boxes or other disposable material, and have a contest for best car design. Anytime you are showing a movie or movie clip, you’ll want to make sure you have the proper licensing to do so. CVLI, which is similar to CCLI, has some options for obtaining the license. Also, remember to view the movie ahead of time with the event in mind. A movie you’ve seen 100 times still looks different when you think about showing it as a church event.
For a low-key event, consider having an outdoor adventure day for boys. For example, have a fishing day. Tell your church kids to invite their friends who don’t go to church, and spend the day on the water fishing, swimming, and having fun. Take a few minutes to share a Bible story that involves fishing and share the gospel. Be sure to check your local municipalities for fishing license requirements or other park use information. Try it also as a hiking trip, river rafting, or outdoor scavenger hunt.Summer events come in all shapes and sizes, from very involved like VBS, to something simple like a fishing trip and conversation about God, and everything in-between. Doing summer events can sound like a big deal when you only think about big events like VBS. The most important thing is to do something to stay connected with your boys. The byproduct of connecting with the boys is that unless the event is advertized as “boys only,” you’ll connect with girls and families in