One of our young bloggers opens her heart about her hope for her youth group when they reopen...

To say the least, the lockdown has messed with us teenagers’ heads. Of course, it’s not just us, everyone is feeling the impacts that coronavirus is having on us, but for today let’s just focus the spotlight on us and our return to youth group.

As much as I can say I am using this time wisely and productively – I’m not. My (and I can vouch for my friends too) days are filled with lie-ins, binge-watching tv shows, baking endless batches of cookies for my benefit and just ambling along doing whatever I want. However, as a year 11, I have not been bombarded with work in preparation for my cancelled exams. I am still processing, as are many of my peers, how this makes me feel. Many other teenagers are struggling with the realities of learning from home and not being able to focus properly on their education. Therefore, when we return to the ‘real world’, I think it will come as a shock to us and we will need all the help we can get – and what else are youth leaders for?!

Now, all we teenagers want to do is go outside and meet our friends. We want to be ‘normal’ and have normal lives. Although youth groups migrating to Zoom has been a blessing to be able to keep in touch with people, it is not the same! So, when we return to normality whenever that will be, there are a few things we will need…

I am sure most youth groups had a camp, festival or holiday planned for the summer and were eagerly awaiting it – I know I was. So now that these have all been cancelled and instead of being outside in tents, playing wide games after midnight. Most importantly, surrounded by thousands of other young Christians worshipping Jesus, we will be sitting at home; reminiscing on previous summers and wishing we could be away with friends and leaders. 

Of course, this doesn’t mean we should lose focus on Jesus at this time. It would be helpful if leaders sent out the material, they were planning or head over to Zoom or YouTube and share it with us virtually. This would ease the pain slightly on missing summer camp, and also help us to focus on God when we should have been away.

I’m missing playing wide games with my youth group. The joys of running around a field or the church building seems like old memories and they’re one thing I can’t wait to relive. Instead of being cooped up inside the house, I would much rather be playing some stupid made up wide-game (which may or may not have been risk-assessed!), make these happen once we return!

The summer BBQs we would’ve enjoyed and the food we would’ve shared if Covid-19 hadn’t happened seem lost and far away. They can still happen; so when we return I think celebrations are in order and why don’t you treat us with some nice food – we won’t complain and may even like you a bit more in the process!

Disregarding all the positives this lockdown has brought upon us like the heightened feelings of community and patriotism, we have spent far too much time by ourselves without the company of others our age and therefore need that time spent away from home with our youth groups. This has impacted us all mentally and given us time to evaluate our lives and think about the future, so ask us how we are, what we plan to do next and how we feel about lockdown as a whole - it won’t go amiss. It would be valuable if you gave us time to talk about these things – with each other and with you, so we can discuss how we have been affected by this and what we have lost and gained. This will be extra special as it will be from a Christian perspective, so we know you are praying specifically for our needs and know that God is also looking out for us. We might just need some time to chat, so do not rush us onto the Bible study the first week back. Space to chat with friends and leaders will be more fruitful in the long run.

Being a Year 11, I feel like I have missed out on rites of passage like my prom, my last day of high school and the feeling of satisfaction after completing my final exam. I know that Year 6s and Year 12s will also have the same feelings of loss. So, I know that we would value extra prayer and thoughts at this time. You could provide the younger youth with a disco celebrating the Year 6s moving up to high school and/or give the older years a prom to celebrate them moving on in life. So, youth leaders, when we grace you with our non-online presence, make the most of it and give us as much love, peace and kindness you can – it will be appreciated. The love of Jesus we have seen in this hard time is astounding and I am thankful that I have God to rely on and only hope to continue to see that afterwards too.