18 Aug Summer 2017 – Gadgets & Gizmos! Part 4: Evaluating Our Finished Product

Life App: Uniqueness—discovering who God made you to be so you can make a difference.
Theme: Gadgets & Gizmos
Date: Summer 2017

This Restless Heart Is Grateful for Rest

Summer is drawing to a close here in Maryland. Kids head back to school the first week of September and we are ramping up for fall programming around C3 Kids. We’ve spent 3 full months in our Gadgets & Gizmos series. If you know me, you know this is practically unheard of in my world. I am a restless heart and love changing things up. That is one of the many reasons I love 252 Kids curriculum so much. There is something new each month! My set design team knows that by week 3 of the month, I am usually done with the theme and ready for the next set. So, for me to spend 3 months on the same theme, with the same set is really “unique.” Ha ha … see what I did there? 🙂 Uniqueness—discovering who God made you to be so you can make a difference.

The thing is… I did not get sick of the theme this summer or our set. I’ve had a blast with the Gadgets & Gizmos series and actually will feel sad to see the set come down. Don’t get me wrong – I’m ready to get back to a routine and have regularly scheduled leaders in place each week (I love our summer team but it creates a schedule that is not consistent and changes every week). I’m even ready to kick back into set design each month, but throughout the last three months, I’ve never felt bored or “done” with Gadgets & Gizmos. It provided me and my team the opportunity to breathe and get some rest. I am incredibly grateful for that. In addition, it’s been a super fun summer with the kids and the structure of our programming seemed to be a hit.

I Think The Experiment Worked

Way back in the Spring when we came up with our game plan for the summer, I knew it was an experiment. I was fully anticipating bumps in the road and wondered if we would end the summer by saying “Well, we won’t be doing that again!”

Instead, I think we have a new way that we’ll approach summer going forward. We really overhauled our entire summer programming. You can read the details of that here, but below is a snapshot of some of the changes we made:

  • We went from a 2-month series to a 3-month series.
  • We utilized our summer team in June (in the past it was just July and August), which provided an entire month for new volunteers to be trained by veteran leaders. Read about our Summer Team process here
  • We incorporated the Gadgets & Gizmos VBS curriculum and used four of the five days as “specialty days” throughout the summer to break up the series, but keep the theme and gain momentum. Read more about our Mash-Up plan here.
  • We did not implement “stations” upon entrance to the environment as we did in the past (read about that here),
  • We used the Gadget & Gizmo theme to create fun gadget projects on the front end of Large Group (during Social Time) instead of the stations.
    • In the past, stations created a problem because kids didn’t have a group or leader to connect with upon entrance. Instead, they found their way to a station. It was somewhat overwhelming and I think they enjoyed going into a group each week this year.  Even if the leader wasn’t consistent because of our summer team volunteers, the group and placement of where they sat was consistent. That brought comfort and was fun for the kids. 
    • Not having stations also helped reduce the work load for our resource team.
  • We had almost 3 months where we did not have to create a set. 

All in all, I loved our summer series and the changes we made. I am excited about the fall and I think our leaders are ready too because summer gave us time to pause a bit and regroup. I’ll be posting our plans for September’s Friendship theme soon! Keep an eye out for that. Until then, here are some photos of our summer fun with Gadgets & Gizmos!

Our Finished Product

Crazy Gadget & Gizmo Fun