Go to the Young Life Leaders Blog for some great ideas on each of the components discussed below!
- Announcements are the vehicle we use for communicating upcoming attractions. Many of these events are key to our relationship building and proclamation. Therefore, announcements should be heard, remembered and ignite enthusiasm.
- Typically, there is one “Big Event” a team is selling. It is good to preface the announcement related to this event with a short run‑on or skit that motivates kids to want to find out the details.
- To get kids to remember dates, it is helpful to make up a rhyme or slogan and ask them to repeat it each week, i.e., “August 3‑9, I’m There!”
- Create a sense of urgency to respond to your invitation soon.
- Sometimes momentum can be generated by prompting Campaigners to raise their hands in response to the question, “Who’s going?” following the announcement of an event.
- “So what?” is also a good question to answer. Tell them the benefits of their participation.
- Since kids will forget most of what is announced at club, it is helpful after the speaker closes in prayer for him or her to highlight any announcements that require attention after club like singing up for something, picking up a brochure, filling out a club card, etc.
- Sell things far enough ahead to build momentum, but not so far they are uninterested.
Effective Icebreakers and Mixers
Since a club is made up of kids from a variety of groups who may or may not know each other, it is sometimes helpful to incorporate a mixer or ice‑breaker into the club program.
A mixer is a game in which everyone participates and demands each kid interact with at least one other, if not everyone in the room. This “connection” with the other participants creates a feeling of safety for what will follow. They feel like they are all in this thing together.
An ice‑breaker is a quick, funny way to defuse the crowd and put everyone at ease. In this case, kids don’t have to interact with others, but instead share a common laugh.
- Though not essential, sometimes it can be helpful to have a team of student leaders kick off club with a mixer. Since they are initiators rather than the volunteers, other kids may feel more free to follow their lead. Obviously student leaders must be the right kids.
- Make the activity more fun than threatening.
- Be sure the instructions are clear and well‑heard; otherwise, no one will want to participate for fear of failure.
- Test the idea yourself before doing it so you are sure to lead it effectively. Be sure to have the right props.
A run‑on is a short skit that interrupts the flow of club. It can be a one‑shot deal or a skit that is built on for several weeks running. It can be used to sell an event or just get a quick laugh. A continuous run‑on creates an air of anticipation for what is coming as kids look forward to the next act.
- The characters should be clearly defined and easy to stereotype.
- Some of the dialogue should be repeated each week so the kids can say the lines along with the characters.
- Each episode should build toward a finale.
- It is effective, where desired, for the underdog to experience victory in the finale.
- Don’t drag it out ‑ either by over‑milking individual episodes, or by carrying it out for more than six or seven episodes.
- Pick an appropriate theme song to kick off the run‑on so kids know its coming and get quiet for the dialogue.
- Come in suddenly, unannounced, even interrupting a song sometimes.
- Be well‑rehearsed: A few well‑chosen lines are better than rambling dialogue (often a consequence of inadequate preparation).
- Be short: Quit while they are wanting more.
- Dazzle them with visuals: either some memorable costumes, I‑can’t‑believe‑they‑just‑did‑that antics, a goofy face, or by using humorous props (i.e. a bucket of water that’s really confetti).
Historically, the reasons we do skits at club are as follows:
- laughter helps break down barriers;
- skits show humorous side of leaders;
- kids up front invites participation for all;
- they focus a diversity of kids on a common experience;
- done well, they portray a commitment to excellence, which communicates caring.
Introduce the skit with a creative idea that gets everyone’s attention (funny costumes are good for this). You want kids excited about the skit before it ever takes place.
Involve a cross‑section of the kids in club (don’t use the same ones each week). Limit the number of Campaigners in skits.
Be crystal clear to the participants and the audience what the point of the skit is, and how it will run. A prerequisite of this is thoroughly thinking through the best way to run the skit.
Make sure every member of the audience is involved (cheering for their team, letting them in on the punch line, judging).
Never bore the audience. If you have props to set up or costumes to put on the participants, do it during a song. Don’t allow for any “dead” time.
Be sure the MC is loud and speaks to the audience, not just to the participants.
Be certain everyone in the room has an unobstructed view of the skit.
Protect the floor, walls, and participants’ hair and clothing from damage. Damage is never funny, always distracting and doesn’t depict excellence.
Honour the participants with a funny prize, or at least a round of applause. Make all participants feel like winners!
Be creative ‑ make audience say, ‘Wow”
Thinking through Skits
“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” John 10:10
- Skits need to be in good taste.
- The whole purpose is to have fun!!
- Usually short: 5 to 7 minutes.
- Keep them moving ‑ don’t let it drag.
- Never crude or in poor taste.
- Never make humorous references to the spiritual aspect of club.
- Skits help to break down barriers.
- Use many different kids.
- Be very careful about involving new kids.
- We don’t want kids to feel humiliated.
- Be creative.
- Walk through the skit in your head. Think through what could go wrong.
- Don’t become predictable.
- Let Campaigner kids take ownership.
- Teach Campaigners how to think through skits. Make them successful up front.
- Always be prepared.
- If you are going to really mess someone up in the skit, you may want to clue him or her in beforehand.
- Make up a “skit bag:” drop cloth, paper towels, emergency skit, etc.
Download – Effective Song Leading & Song Selection