How To Meet Incoming Freshmen: Invite 8th Graders To Club Now

April 26, 2013
Me in 8th grade. Ouch.

It’s a no-brainer.

You probably only have a few clubs left. Pick a fun one and invite 8th graders.

In just a few months they will be freshmen. Give them a taste now of what they have to look forward to.

Plus, it’s hard being in 8th grade. Especially if your parents make you wear glasses the size of grapefruits like mine did. Good thing the black rims matched my black turtleneck. 

How To Get 8th Graders To Club


If you have Wyldlife in your area, this makes the transition much easier. Send high schoolers to the Wyldlife club to invite 8th graders to join them the following week. 

Motivate With Vision

Talk to your Campaigners and Senior Leaders. Ask them to think about the people they know who are seniors who never got plugged into YL. Ask them to think about how different those folks’ high school paths might’ve been had someone invited them to club when they were in 8th grade.

Motivate With Money

This morning at our team leader meeting I said out loud, ‘I wish I had a $50 gift card to offer as a prize to motivate high schoolers to invite 8th graders.’  As I walked out of Panera after the meeting I had a friend hand me a $50 Visa gift card. No lie.  Ask a parent, a donor, a friend if they would donate $50 to help change the lives of a bunch of middle schoolers. We’re telling kids that if they bring an 8th grader to club on Monday they will be entered to win the $50.  We’ll put all the names of the 8th graders in a hat. If the 8th graders name is drawn, they get a YL shirt and the person who brought them wins the $50!


Text all your high school friends and ask them who has a brother or sister in 8th grade. Make a list. Make sure they get their sibling to club.


Between your church, YL parents, and friends in town, odds are that you already know a teacher or administrator at the middle school.  Ask them if they would spread the word at school. If they won’t, find a parent who will be a champion on your behalf. 

What To Do With 8th Graders At Club


Make sure you get them to fill out a club card with legible handwriting.  Put a box on there and ask if they would like to be contacted about doing YL events this summer.

Hero Vs. Chump

Be extra careful if you bring 8th graders on stage. It’s fun with the right kid, but get the wrong one and they’ll be embarrassed and never return.  An easy way to do this is to play a game with siblings.  Make the 8th graders heroes instead of chumps. 

Meet Parents

If 8th graders get dropped off, be sure to be out front before and after club meeting parents. Be confident. Ask them to roll down the car window. Introduce yourself. Thank them for coming. Give them a handout with info about Young Life. Put yourself in their shoes. Imagine dropping your child off with an adult you don’t know. Make them feel at ease by explaining what YL is and what happens at club. 

Next Step

Tell the 8th graders to follow your YL club on Instagram or Twitter. Explain to them what the next event they can come to is and how they will find out. 

What else do you do to help get rising freshmen connected to YL? Comment below.

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