Tuesday, April 8, 2014

50+ Essential Things To Bring On Youth Ministry Trips

Are you a youth leader that can't figure out what hings they may need to pack for a youth conference? Are you worried you're forgetting something? Well, I've got a ton of ideas for you! You'll never be without all the useful things youth leaders should have with my handy dandy list that I developed myself. Over 6 years of camp and missions trips in Junior High and High School as well as my experiences being a leader for the past 4-5 years have prepared me well, and I hope it prepares you. Here are 50+ things you should bring on youth ministry trips and how to use them to help you survive. :)

-The Essentials-
  • Your Bible. OF COURSE. 
  • Your own pillow and blanket. Even if the college/camp/place you are staying offers pillows and blankets, you must admit they are ALWAYS too small or not very comfortable. Plus, you'll probably want something to use in the long car ride to and from.
  • Your own towel plus at least one extra. More often than not, again, the towels, if provided, by a location will be too small and a student *cough*or youth pastor*cough* will forget their towel. ;)
  • Good walking shoes, at least 2 pairs because you KNOW one pair is going to get wet SOMEHOW. I've found boots (junky ones, or ones made to get dirty) are good for camps and cold weather. Again, those need to be comfortable.
  • A pair of flip flops (for showering and walking around without shoes)
  • A pair of socks for each day
  • Comfy clothes. Don't forget the comfy clothes for to/from the conference and for hanging out in the dorm, hotel, or camp. Should be comfy, but also modest. I like to have a pair of yoga pants though for when it's just me and the girls. Pajama pants or sweatpants and a t-shirt are my go-to comfy clothes.
  • Sweatshirt/hoodie. No matter how hot is is outside, I suggest at least one sweater. Maybe it's because I live in the Midwest, but honestly, I've never been on a trip where the weather was always perfect and always warm or in an air-conditioned building that wasn't too cold for me. Granted, I'm a freeze baby, but then again, you'll be sorry you didn't bring something to keep you warm.
  • A belt. Because it just is something that I forget and always need to hold my pants up. Haha. But really, you move around a lot and you stand up/sit down, so unless you want stuff showing, bring a belt. Bonus use, you can put your belt around your bag, pillow, and blanket to hold them all together when you're carrying your stuff!
  • Backpack or Sling purse. Sometimes I bring both. It depends on the day, place we'll be, and what I'll need to carry.
  • Phone charger. Even if the kids aren't supposed to have their phones on them, you will need your phone for the calls to parents and to the other leaders. Not to mention, I now use my phone as my camera and my clock.
  • Watch and/or Alarm Clock. Because your phone WILL die.
  • Camera. Because your phone will die and you don't want to miss out on all those funny faces. Also, extra batteries and make sure you've got plenty of memory on your camera.
  • Hair ties, bobby pins, and a hair brush. Because no matter what, your hair will be extra difficult those few days.
  • Flash light. Even if you aren't at a camp, chances are you'll be rooming with someone and you won't want to disturb them if you need to get up at night.
  • Hand Sanitizer. I find this is really great on the trip to/from the conference at rest stops and during the car ride/train/etc. to keep everyone from getting sick after being in public places a lot. When we go to Chicago for a conference every year, we end up walking around Chicago, and this is single-handedly the BEST thing I keep in my purse for that stuff.
  • Lip Balm. I always have it on me, so it's just natural to bring it anyway.
  • Gum. During the day and such, you will just want some gum to chew. So will the kids, though, so bring a couple packs with the intention of sharing throughout the week.
  • A small stock of medicine; Tylenol, Ibuprofen, Tums/chewable Peptobismol tablets, Midol/Pamprin, Cough Drops. These are all things I've needed multiple times. Just trust me on this. You don't necessarily need the whole bottle of each of these, but I suggest getting travel pill containers and labeling them with a marker what they are, the size of the pill (in mg), and how many is acceptable to take. Cough drops are always good because with youth, between you and them, voices are louder and get hoarse and sore throughout the week.
  • Band-Aids. Nothing serious, but a couple of band aids to be kept in your purse just in case.
  • Feminine Products. Self-explanatory. Bring a variety of stuff though. I can't even tell you how many times I've started early or other girls have ran out.
  • Hot water bottle. Not the kind you drink out of, the old-timey kind of hot pack. I usually end up bringing these only when I'm on my period because I get crazy cramps. I started bringing this when I was in youth group and I found it was not only good for me, but it was great for other girls who didn't feel good as well. They can also double as a cold pack by filling them with ice.
  • First Aid Kit. Self-explanatory. I only suggest this really for the places that won't have first aid kits, but since it's a youth conference, there will basically ALWAYS be first aid readily available.
  • Insurance Card and Emergency Contacts. Most of the time, you need this stuff anyway, but this can just be a good reminder for you to make sure you packed them. I find it's best to have a folder/binder to keep all this stuff in. At least have these for yourself in your wallet.

-Helpful Extras-
  • Straightener. I don't spend a lot of time getting ready in general, and I especially don't like to see ladies taking a bunch of time to get ready when they are on a youth min trip, but I enjoy having my straightener with me because I can straighten my hair and not worry about it for about two days, depending on how greasy my hair gets. I take 10 minutes absolute tops to straighten my hair one night, then I'm good for a couple days. My natural hair gets tangled so easily, it's better for me to just straighten it so I don't keep messing with it a million times a day. I only bring this to conferences though, not to camps. At camp, it's more socially acceptable to have natural, rough looking hair. Haha. ;) I suggest trying to work with your natural hair by just putting it up, braiding it, scrunching it, and just keeping it simple for youth trips.
  • Youth Group/Church T-Shirts. They make for really great group pictures as well as keeping your group together on days where you are exploring cities. Keep in mind, though, if you're doing any street witnessing, it may freak people out seeing a bunch of kids in matching tees trying to talk to them about Jesus.
  • Book. A book to read for the trip and downtime.
  • Playing Cards. We play Mau, War, B.S., and other card games to and from, but especially with free time at the conference. Sometimes it's nice to have a couple decks so you can get other students involved, too. Other travel games like Bananagrams are really good, too.
  • Water bottle and/or a coffee cup. You WILL get thirsty. And I prefer coffee cups that I can't spill so easily and that actually keep my coffee hot. Because you NEED coffee/caffeine on these trips. You could always buy a bottle of water and then reuse the bottle if you didn't want to bring one from home and carry it around.
  • Starbucks VIA Ready Brews, Instant Coffee, Tea, or Energy Drinks (for when you REALLY need some caffeine)
  • Songs. Yup. I mean the awesome repeat-after-me kind of songs that will be stuck in your head all week. It's fun to teach each other songs that you learned from different camps and such, so review your old camp songs before you go and have some in mind for the car ride.
  • Guitar. Worship music, tabs, and lyrics, too. We don't bring it every trip, depending on whether or not musical worship will be done by a band, but if there isn't, we like to sing some worship songs together.
  • Bathing suit. For the shower, pool, potential to go to the beach, etc. I tend to only bring this when it's warm outside, because we never stay anywhere with a pool inside.
  • Extra pens and pencils and a notebook/journal. This one is a MUST for me as the youth pastor's wife. I can't even begin to tell you how often we end up writing something down or Hubs loses his pens or the kiddos need a pen. Sometimes I even bring colored pens and pencils so we can make our notes pretty. The notebook or journal is also good for notes and doodles, because you KNOW you'll get bored at some point even if it is a really good conference. ;)
  • Tape. Don't ask why, because I don't really know, but tape is a need for many different things (like the idea below) that just come up randomly. I suggest just a small role of scotch tape and maybe a roll of masking/duct tape to help label people's stuff or as name tags.
  • Name tags/Stickers or Sticky Notes. My youth leader used to bring pretty paper and tape to make name tags for our doors so she knew who was in what room/cabin. I found that sticky notes or name tags work really well, too. Also, when I was in youth group, we used to write encouragement notes to each other, and lately on Pinterest I've been seeing youth groups writing things on sticky notes that they want prayer for and sticking them in a designated spot as a "prayer wall" of sorts.
  • Limited Makeup. Do yourself a favor and don't worry about having your "face" on. I bring the kind of makeup I can do in two minutes; cover up, eyeliner, and mascara. I stick to those so I can cover up the dark circles I get under my eyes and then make myself look more awake with a little liner and mascara. I just suggest stripping down to the basics whatever that may mean to you; you are doing this for ministry and for youth, you don't have anyone to impress, and if you are trying to impress someone, you should reevaluate why you are even going at all. (I also look like I'm 16 years old, so a little bit of makeup makes me look like my 22 years of age. Haha.)
  • Sunscreen. I really only end up bringing this when we do a trip where our time will primarily be spent outdoors, especially in spring and summer.
  • Grocery bags. Just shove a couple in your purse or luggage. They can be used for trash in the car, wet clothes, dirty shoes, etc. There are so many uses, and I have so many in my house, I always try to bring a few because they are so handy.

  • Twizzlers - my preference are the pull n peel ones! Yum!
  • Skittles
  • Chips
  • Trail Mix, Chex Mix, Puppy Chow. Anything with "mix" goes over pretty well.
  • Beef jerky
  • Pretzels
  • A huge container of cookies to pass around.
  • Cooler of drinks, preferably with screw-on lids (try to tell them to limit what they drink, though, to limit bathroom stops)
     These are my full-proof snacks that I bring on nearly every trip. Sometimes I won't by them ahead of time and just wait until a rest stop to buy a couple of little things depending on what kids are with us and what they brought. I have never really tried the healthier route myself, but eventually would like to pack fresh fruits and veggies in baggies or containers to pass around. There are a lot of ideas on Pinterest on healthy road trip snacks!
-Stuff to Skip-
  • Skirts/Sundresses. Ladies, unless you are from a denomination that wears skirts, honestly, skip the skirts/dresses unless they are floor/tea length. Nowadays, skirts and dresses are short, and on trips, for whatever reason, there is always a crazy amount of wind and it ends up being cold in buildings and outside. Tell your girls to skip them, too, because they will NOT think about what to wear underneath and won't think about wind either. This is just my experience, though. Maybe bring ONE for a nice outfit, but make sure you have shorts underneath and tights if it's cold.
  • Blow Dryer. Honestly, think about it; you're going to be around a bunch of youth. You don't need to go through your whole beauty routine. I suggest a straightener, though, for the reasons I listed earlier. Just evaluate how much time you spend getting yourself ready for the day and see what you can cut out; try finding ways to wear your natural hair for the week. If you INSIST on bringing a blow dryer, here's an alternate use for it, too--a "pump" for air mattresses! I also have used it to help speed up drying clothes.
  • Bikinis. They aren't really appropriate for any kind of ministry purposes. A tankini or one-piece is the all-around wiser option. Save yourself the fight and just don't bring it. Tell your youth girls, too.
Did I miss something? What do you bring that is really helpful on youth ministry trips? Did anything strike you as particularly useful? Let me know in the comments! :)

No comments:

Post a Comment