She’s tall and athletic and has a short haircut that spikes up on one side. Her smile is a mile wide, her laugh a honeyed rumble. When we lost the leader for our church youth group, this thirty-something woman stepped up to the plate and offered to fill in until we hire a new coordinator. She’s personable and the kids like her. This is a challenging group; they come because they want to socialize but getting them to talk is not easy. But this woman has skills. I personally witnessed these one night.
A friend and I visited the group to present a project idea. We talked for a bit and then asked some questions in order to involve the kids in a discussion and planning. We put our words out there and waiting – both of us knowing to give time for ‘tweens to engage.
Looking at me from across the room, this gal winked, cued the kids with the words “hey this is discussion time” and pulled some Starburst from her pocket. Whenever one of the kids began to speak, she tossed a candy at them. At first the kids weren’t making the connection between their contributions to the discussion and the arrival of candy in their laps but pretty soon they caught on. Soon it was like popcorn – everyone sharing ideas and talking about their feelings about the project.
Such a simple way to get the juices going!