When I worked in a local church, each year as our young people left for university we gave them a little goody bag. In previous years it has included:
- Pot Noodle
- Bag for life
- Post-it notes
- Baked beans
- First by Matt Carvel
Some of these were fairly useless and jokey presents, others had a more serious use and meaning to them but for us it is important that we marked this rite of passage as they left home for the first time. We wanted our young people to know that as they left our youth ministry, as they left our little village on the edge of the New Forest and head out into the big wide world we still deeply cared for them.
As part of our goodbye we also ran an event for those going off to university for the first time where we ate lots of pizza, and chatted around topics such as accommodation, finance, lectures, friendships, relationships, social life, CU, church and more using a mixture of youth leaders and some 2nd and 3rd year students. We had lots of feedback that this was a really helpful event giving lots of practical information and helping to deal with their fears and nerves.
With all our students we tried to keep in contact – over the first term we sent a couple of parcels to each of our students, and sent fortnightly emails keeping in touch with each of them. We then followed this up with a Christmas social when they were all next be back together as a big group.
What do you do for young people leaving your youth ministry for university?