I feel confident that every group out there has some interesting traditions. Whether its where you go on a mission trip, how you fundraise, a special Christmas event or an annual outing, chances are you have inherited or created some traditions. Have you ever asked around about how these things got started?
What is a tradition in your youth group?
Have you ever been around when a tradition was accidentally established?
One year, at the closing night of a mission trip, I spontaneously praised the Sunday night youth group attendance of one of our graduated seniors. I talked about how you don’t always get that when seniors get busy and I appreciated his presence throughout the year. In this unplanned moment I actually mimed the motion of presenting him with a senior attendance award that was of course, named after him. Everyone clapped and we posed for a picture. It wasn’t until the following fall that I realized the new seniors were already discussing who would be wining the attendance award that year. When I left that church the senior attendance award was 3 names deep (and had to be referred to as such, of course). We never created an actual trophy or anything, it just became a “thing” for our group.
One year, a parent in our church offered to host a New Year’s Eve party for the youth. During this party a goofy dance move was created. I was not at the party, but believe me, I heard about this dance move. I said we could make a video of everyone dancing and the kids really got into this idea – bringing costumes and props and we had a hilarious night of recording their dance moves. The parents loved this video we made, as did the kids, and so I guess I should not have been surprised when the following spring they asked when we were making our video. This dance video became an absolute highlight of our program year. We had a whole process around selecting the song, a student or two would volunteer to choreograph some moves and teach the group for a part of the song. We would film it early in May so they could see the finished result on our last night of the program year. This became the best “bring a friend” night of the year.
In both these cases, I did not intend to start a tradition, and had I known what would happen I may have made a few different choices (I’m a planner!) but the energy these traditions created were worth it!
What are your accidental traditions?