As you near the end of the school year, it’s a perfect time to invite 8th graders to one of your last clubs! In just a few months they’ll be freshmen. Let’s give them a taste now so they know what they have to look forward to as high school begins.
5 WAYS 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 Young Life 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. True story.
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’ll be entered to win the $50 Visa card. 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 the 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.
Ask the 8th graders to follow your YL club on social media. Explain to them what the next event is that they can come to and how they will find out more info. Give them a “next step.”
What have you done to help get 8th graders plugged in? Email us here with ideas.
Written by Drew Hill.
Drew is a pastor in Greensboro, NC and also on part-time staff with Young Life in the Global Innovation and Training department. Drew started the Young Life Leader Blog in 2010 and has written a best-selling book for Young Life leaders called “Alongside: Loving Teenagers with the Gospel.“