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this year we are changing time and going to a more laid back format (in the past we've just cancelled). pros: gives the volunteer time to recoup and refocus, gives me time to vision cast and plan for the fall/spring, less programming = more time to have lunch with kids, meet them out in the community to hangout and build relationships...cons: i haven't hit any yet but we're only a week into it...

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We minimize. Here's why. For 3 years, summer meetings were awkward. It was 3-5 kids sitting in awkward silence. It was not fun and Bible studies that were created for discussion were contrived and kids didn't participate. It was just AWKWARD. We meet 2x a week. So last summer, we continued to meet 1 night a week. We have a lot of families who actually have family time so summer youth meetings conflicted with vacations and lake trips. So last summer we went to meeting 1x a week and this really helped. Attendance was better at the meeting and in the fall kids couldn't wait to go back to meeting 2x a week. We also cancel youth band for the summer to give those kids a break.

Last summer we had slightly less numbers on Sunday nights, but Wednesdays really dropped off so we canceled them for the summer except for a few special events. This year, though, I've had a lot of students request that we keep going for the summer on Wednesdays. I think I'll see how it goes, but I'm leaning toward doing more get-togethers at people's houses and less programatic activities to give myself and the other leaders a break.

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Our group doesn't take a break, but we do change our structure. Many of our leaders work at youth camps for the summer, and many students go to camp or travel. We're usually short staffed, and our students definately have the summer fun mindset. So, we alternate MH and HS meetings (summer only) and hold a once-a-month huge event, like a park party or movie night to give them plenty of opportunities to bring new friends. Pro: it's a natural break for the students and they stay involved and leraders don't burn out, Con: it can be difficult to start up on a regular schedule again such as short term missions programs, etc. There's some momentum that gets lost. Overall, it seems to work well for us though.

How has alternating HS/MS gone? That's another question for me entirely (maybe I'll post it), but I'm looking for some ways to give our HS and MS more separated time.

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I am a proponent for changing things up in the summer months. It does two things for us. One, we are able to develop certain seasons or semesters where a natural break can occur. This seems to mesh with the student's mindset as far as a summer vacation goes. Two, we can create some diversity and have flexibility in our programs. We stop our small groups for the summer, but we hold a weekly in-depth Bible study for the more serious/mature students who want to be a part. We also alter our Wed. night worship to a more casual atmosphere. In June we are watching parts of documentaries and movies and taking time to break into small groups and discuss Biblical themes and lessons from the films.

One other thing that this break does for us is that it makes it easier to upgrade the Fall/Spring programs when we kick them off after the summer because we have time to change course and set new things up.