Youth Rooms, Part 4: How to get your youth involved in planning and decoration without giving over full control to chaos

After getting your youth room decorating ideas, vision, and space, and talking with your pastor for budget and approval, it’s now time to set your plans into action.  It can be overwhelming to think that it’s all up to you to pull this plan into action, but DON’T!  You can call on your CORE team, parishioners with special skills, and of course, your teens.  Teens?  Yes, your teens! And you can do it not with unordered chaos, but with an organized plan.

First, you must plan ahead.  This is a definite MUST in order for the project to run smoothly.  You can consider the following steps to help:

  1. Make a timeline. Start with your beginning date and make an ending date or deadline you need the project finished by before your program kicks off.
  2. Create a list of all supplies you already have and supplies you still need.
  3. Organize your to-do’s in order of greatest priority and fit them into your time line.
  4. Designate volunteers to specific tasks according to their skills and abilities.

When you first start with a timeline, make sure you work in hours of help and service within your work week hours and around times you’ll be in the office for any necessary meetings, weekly tasks, or special events.  Because of your volunteers’ availability to come, the hours you’ll be putting in may be outside of your normal times serving during the week, so schedule your work week accordingly so you’re not putting in a lot of overtime. You don’t want to run yourself ragged. Don’t forget some fun ministry events sprinkled in between; your Youth Room Preparation isn’t the only thing on your ministry schedule. 

When you’re finding your due date for the project, make sure it’s not the literal day before your kickoff. Give yourself a little breathing room so you have plenty of time to get those last minute kickoff details in and not get overwhelmed.  Know that in reality, your youth room will always be a little “unfinished.”  It doesn’t have to be perfect and you want to leave some room for additions and growth as your needs change throughout the year. It won’t be Pinterest-perfect, and that’s okay.  

Next, list everything you already have for your youth room and everything you’ll still need.  This will help in your budget so you’re not overspending and getting things you don’t need.  When shopping for those needed items, don’t forget to ask your CORE members or some helpful parishioners first if they have any of the items needed. This was a huge life savor for me in our budget, as well as checking with other ministries in the parish if they have some of these items you can borrow or use. 

Organize your to-do list in order of most important to least so you can prioritize correctly.  You want to make sure you get those top, most important items on your list done first in case you end up hitting a snag and won’t have enough time before your deadline.  Accomplishing your biggest, most important items on the list first will also give you some peace-of-mind and help you see your vision coming to life. It will encourage you to keep running the race steadily!

Consider which tasks enable you to have bonding time with your teens, as well as tasks that you can keep a reign on their behavior where things won’t get out of hand or dangerous.  You don’t necessarily want teens climbing on ladders or painting detailed corners or images on the wall, but you could show small groups of teens how to paint big walls with rollers, as well as designating some to sweep or hot glue some decorative items while having fun, light conversations with them.  

When it comes to more detail-oriented things, you might want to only designate one or two teens with a CORE member to accomplish it, because when you have too many teens without enough supervision, things may not get done, or not done in the ways you need.  When you have a bigger group of teens coming, assign a CORE member or parishioner to their tasks to keep things in line. This creates opportunities for bonding with each other as well.  Don’t forget to play some fun music in the background, and ask teens to play their appropriate music to bring their fun and flare to the scene.  Involving your teens into making a mark on their future space will help them feel a certain deeper connection with it too.  

Remember that this is what’s important: bringing your teens into a deeper encounter with Christ via your special youth room!  Have fun with them in this process, and Godspeed! 

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