24 Sep Individuality – In Focus – October 2015, Our Plan!
Life App: Individuality – discovering who you are meant to be so you can make a difference.
Theme: In Focus – See Who God Made You to Be
Date: October, 2015
October is around the corner! Are you guys ready for the Life App of Individuality? I met with my concept design team a few weeks ago and they came up with some great ideas about how to represent the theme for the month. My favorite part about the plan is that it “focuses” on some awesome people who make a difference in the lives of kids every week – our Small Group Leaders! More on that later.
Social Media and Elementary Kids?
When our team first sat down and began to talk through this month’s theme, most of our ideas centered around hashtags and social media sites like Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, Snap Chat and the like. We were getting pretty excited about the possibilities of a backdrop/set that utilized these very relevant pieces of our current culture. And then… one of our team members spoke up. This person is a mom of two children who are both a part of our elementary environment. She began to share that her kids don’t know much about hashtags or Instagram. They may know what Facebook is, but they aren’t really versed in it and don’t use it. She also joked about how she was hoping to avoid that as long as possible! It got us thinking about how much we wanted to promote social media in our elementary environment.
At Community Christian Church – we are all about people who are not a part of any church. We want to be relevant and connect with those who are far from God. As such, we use a lot of current media trends in our main services, our children’s and students environments, and as we plan events. We do our best to keep a pulse on what elementary aged kids are “into” these days. We know that social media is a hot trend – but we began to feel that using it in the context we were considering might not be the best idea. We target the 4th/5th grade boy in our elementary programming and while we realize most boys that age might be familiar with social media and may even engage with it at times – parents seem to be doing all that they can to keep that at bay for as long as they can. So, in an attempt to keep our partnership with parents from being “compromised,” and connect to what kids are engaging with… we began to think about how we could tap into the photo world, utilizing things elementary kids know about and enjoy, without rocking the boat with parents. We figured we would leave that up to our student ministry (wink, wink). The mom I mentioned earlier was a huge help to us. Mental note to self – involve parents in your planning! As we talked through it all, she began to share what her kids do love about cameras, photography and the like. And of course the word we have all grown to love (or hate) emerged…
This mom talked about how her kids love selfies and they are VERY familiar with them. She also talked about how much her kids love photo booths – the kind where you get a strip of photos when you step out from behind the curtain. Well, who doesn’t love photo booths these days? They seem to be a part of every wedding or event that I attend. As a matter of fact, while watching TV that night, a commercial came on for Bratz dolls. And what was the setting? The Bratz dolls were in a photo booth taking selfies! I knew we were on the right track!
As we discussed the idea of selfies and photo booths, we decided that we would use the photo booth picture strips to decorate our backdrop. We also decided that the best subject for these photos would be our small group leaders because they are certainly INDIVIDUALS who are using their gifts to make a difference in the lives of the kids they lead each week. So, we devised a plan:
- On our screens above the backdrop, we will use the Theme Graphic (In Focus) in the center and the Life App Graphic (Individuality) on either side.
- Since the graphics have so much orange in them – we decided to go with a complimentary color for our 5 panel backdrop. We’re going to match the blue from the wedge in the Theme Graphic and paint the entire backdrop that color.
- We set up a “photo booth” this past weekend and took a photo of each Small Group Leader.
- The photo booth was a coat rack with a white sheet draped over it. I gathered the sheet to look like a curtain – similar to those you would see as the backdrop in photo booth pictures.
- Our Small Group Leaders were allowed to choose from our prop/costume boxes for their selfies! We thought it might be fun for the kids to see them being silly and goofy – rather than in a serious headshot-type pose.
- We will have these photos printed as 8×10’s.
- We will mount them onto black craft paper or poster board that has been cut into long rectangular strips. 5 photos per strip like photo booth pictures. We’ll leave space in between each and cut white squares from cardstock to glue on the sides of each strip.
- These strips will be mounted on the backdrop at various angles.
- In the center of the backdrop, we will have a Photo Tex sticker of the Blank Week 3 – Bottom Line Graphic (green in color).
- Across this sticker in white letters with black outline will be the words “Focused on Making a Difference.” I’ll use a Cricut to cut the letters.
One More Thing
One other thing we are planning is to invite the kids to bring in (or send in) photos of themselves making a difference in the world around them. Parents received an email explaining that they should be on the lookout … and if they catch their kid displaying this month’s Life App … they should snap a photo of it. We gave examples like lending a helping hand, encouraging a friend, inviting someone to church, using their giftedness to help others, etc. If a parent is unable to take a photo of the actual event, they can have their child write a sentence or two about it on and index card. Then, they can send that in with a photo of their child. We will add these to the backdrop around the photos strips throughout the month. So, kids can see pictures of themselves and their friends up on the stage and we can develop the concept of discovering who you are meant to be so you can make a difference – all month long.
Now it’s your turn. What are you up to next month? Be sure to share your ideas, thoughts and photos with us. Jump in the comments below or post on Facebook or Twitter!