I recently was talking with another person on staff at the church about what I carry when I go somewhere with the youth. They seemed surprised that I made sure I had certain things with me. But, when it comes down to it, you never know what will happen when you are out somewhere with youth. What I bring does change depending on where we going and for how long, but, here are some basic things that I like having handy. I like to pack light, so all of these are items that fit into a small backpack or bag.
First Aid Kit
You never know what will happen. It is good to be prepared for most anything. I keep all of this in a small cosmetic bag I picked up for .99:
- Bandaids (They love these Jesus Bandaids)
- Neo To-Go
- Cold Compress
- Gauze and Medical Tape
- Alcohol Swabs
- Gloves (I opt for Latex free gloves.)
- Tampons (Some suggest sealing each one in an envelope for discreetness.)
And while traveling to the Youth Gathering, I made sure to include in the first-aid kit:
- Bug Repellant Wipes and After Bite, anti-itch stick
- Generic Pain Reliever and Upset Stomach Relief (I tend to only carry Acetominophen due to any risk of Reye’s Syndrome and made sure parents were aware and okay with this in advance. This was also to prevent youth from bringing their own and sharing without a chaperone knowing.)
Emergency Contacts and Release Forms
It is always important to carry with you any emergency information and release forms. It will allow things to go smoother in case of an emergency.
Ready for Fun
Especially on longer trips, it is nice to have little things to keep boredom at bay.
- A Deck of Cards — A standard Deck of Cards can give lots of options for games to fill spare time (Spoons and Assassin are my group’s newfound favorites).
- Bible Mad Gab — One person reads a non-sensical phrase and their team has to guess the bible verse correctly. It is the size of a deck of cards and loved by the youth at my church.
- Sporcle — This site (and the accompanying app) is full of trivia games. Examples include, “Name 9 countries that begin with the letter ‘P’”, “Match the Bible Story with the book of the Bible” or “Popular Names of the 2000s”. If done online or with the app, it is also a timed challenge. But, you could always write down a couple challenges to take along.
- Conversation Starters — There are lots of card sets like this. Think of your own or pick of the deck of cards. Similarly, you could choose “Would you Rather” cards or books.
- Church Info – We have business cards with worship times and basic information for the church. We carry these around when we do neighborhood clean ups and other activities so that if people ask who we are, we can give them more information easily. If your church has information cards or brochures (or you make them for just your youth program), it might be a great thing to carry around with you.
- Hand Sanitizer — especially for before meals and during cold and flu seasons.
- A Bible — Another thing that might seem obvious, but is always good to have on hand. I have an app on my phone with a couple versions, but you can find a pocket bible that fits your style too.
- Your Cell Phone – For longer trips, I make sure parents and students are added to my contacts list.
- Extra pens and paper.
What else needs to be in your bag?