Since most VBS events need the support of youth volunteers in order to function adequately, this topic proposed effective ideas for recruiting, training, managing and appreciating VBS youth volunteers. It also includes some tips on pulling off a separate VBS for youth – This year’s VBS curriculum for youth from LifeWay is called Rock & Reef Tour.
1. Youth assist with adult leaders. The youth pastor coordinates planned activities each day after VBS (i.e. – swimming, bowling, etc.)
2. Ask youth to complete applications that include their life verse, if they could lead a child to Christ or not, and what they loved about VBS. It helped place them where they could be helpful.
3. Have track times like at camp. Let them choose what they want to do during their rotations.
4. Have nightly service trips for youth.
5. Do “cool” crafts like tie dye and hemp necklaces. It keeps them coming back because it takes a few days to complete the project.
6. Don’t assume youth don’t enjoy VBS – they do.
7. Some youth are more responsible than others. Assign jobs appropriately.
8. Enlist youth and college to perform skits in services to inform the entire church of VBS.
9. Get Youth Pastor on board with VBS.
10. Use You-tube and Facebook for VBS information.
11. Train youth and give specific responsibilities.
12. Use youth VBS for junior high. Only senior high school kids can be volunteers in our church.
13. Call you youth VBS a week-long Bible Study or Bible Tour. That way, it doesn’t sound as juvenile as “VBS” and they will come.
14. Invite youth the a VBS lock-in.
15. Text youth for communication purposes.
16. Let youth distribute flyers.
17. Use youth to help with nursery – 6th grade.
18. Have the youth pastor conduct Youth VBS on Wednesday nights.
19. We had our high school football team come and do recreation one day.
20. Our youth meet at church for lesson then go to a pool, fishing, etc. We do children in the morning and youth in the evening. Youth help in the morning VBS.
21. Our youth volunteers are often moved around or “floated” as helpers in order to find their strengths.
22. Youth MUST attend at least one planning meeting if they are going to help.
23. Provide opportunities for youth such as child care prior to VBS and pay them through church budget to help pay for summer camps, etc.
24. Limit the number of youth help in each room to one or two.
25. Restrict cell phone usage during VBS.
26. Have only one youth to assist a teacher to avoid the typical socializing instead of helping in the classroom.
27. Prior to VBS, have a youth training day where they get a brief overview of each day of VBS (from the Youth Guide). Include lunch. All who participate get a youth t-shirt fore free to wear during VBS.
28. Let the youth run the sound for Worship Rally.
29. For the youth class our church, we do a “traveling class”. Over a week or weekend, the class goes to different destinations that go along with the lesson to have their Bible Study.
30. Our preschool – 6th grade is conducted in the morning; 7th and 8th grade VBS is scheduled at night; and, 9th-12th grade on weekend, but off campus.
31. Have the youth pastor meet with all the youth workers each morning for a 15 minute devotion.
32. Use the youth for the Worship Rally team.
33. Have a “select” group of youth that serve as team leaders. Youth VBS will begin on Wednesday following regular VBS and will meet throughout the summer.
34. Recruit one youth to be the assistant to the Director. Young legs can run faster!
35. Include youth in the mission projects included in their curriculum whether you host youth VBS or not.
36. Train ALL youth just like the adults but just for them. They have the same responsibility as the adult, but with an adult.
37. Youth lead on Thursday of VBS week.
38. To get youth volunteer workers, the teachers decorate a table representing their grade and sign up teen volunteers at teen events. We call this the “VBS Job Fair”.
39. Youth volunteer teach recreation. The kids love the youth and they are full of energy. Adult teachers supervise.
40. Have a separate training for youth on “How to be a Volunteer”.
41. Have the youth work the games in the curriculum.
42. The 9th-12th graders prepare and teach the 7th and 8th grade VBS class with direction and guidance from adult leaders.
43. Youth combine with other local church youth groups 1-2 nights duriang week for group Bible study and “game” (recreation). We play softball.
44. Youth can be great help! Give them very specific jobs.
45. We ask our youth to sign a “contract” which clearly states expectations (i.e.- no cell phones, dress code, staying with your group, etc.)
46. Have a “VBS Boot Camp” which is a one-half day training for students. Take them through some of the information from the week of VBS to prepare them for serving.
47. For youth – offer no crafts, good snacks, messy games and off-site activities.
48. Only the youth going on our mission trip will work VBS because they will conduct VBS while on the trip. They are trained already so they have a purpose for being there.
49. Have the youth make up a song to a catchy tune. Use this song in a parade around the neighborhoods. Have youth sing it with the church band.
50. We invite other youth pastors to come speak to our students.
51. Our youth have their VBS class at a different location each night.
52. Youth VBS at other locations saves space at the church, provides interaction between pastor and youth, and makes the youth feel important.
53. Our youth are required to participate as VBS helpers in order to participate in their summer trips.
54. Instead of recreation, our youth tackles a community project for the week. (i.e. – food bank project. They broke into teams and competed to see which could bring the high point foods that had been pre-determined. At the end, they were rewarded with a pizza party.
55. Use youth as helpers with registration.
Add your tips and tricks for youth VBS in the comment section below!