journaling

journaling is a really cool way for young people to learn, remember and build friendships.
However many people don't like to write. These fun and unusual ideas will encourage them in telling their life stories.
If we took a look in your wardrobe, what would we see? I'm guessing T-shirts. Lots of T-shirts. Each one a reminder of an event or day long past. The week at Soul Survivor, or youth group house party, the summer camp, or last Sunday when your group did their first drama sketch. Every shirt is like a journal entry. You keep it in your closet because it represents a significant milepost (and because you've outgrown it!) If you think about it, your T-shirt collection really is an offbeat way to journal your youth ministry experiences. You can use the same thinking to get your young people involved in journaling.Day Planner Grades.

Here's a journaling idea for young people who hate to write: Suggest they decide on a grade from A to F for each day, then write that and a one-word description of the day in their day planners. An A day is filled with significance and positive experiences. A C day is an average, go-though the-motions day. An F day is a boyfriend-left-me, chickenpox-broke-out. Tell young people to write the grade at the top of their day-planner pages, and a one-word description of the day at the bottom. A name, place, event, or descriptive word will bring back memories when they page through their calendars.

Blanket Reminders
Your Arty group members might enjoy making a square-panel quilt that depicts important events in their lives. They can embroider and paint pictures and words that symbolize significant mileposts. Since most young people don't know how to make a quilt, find a quilt-maker in your church who's willing to teach the craft. Young people will produce a keepsake journal while they break down the walls between generations.

The Memory Game
After your teenagers return from a special trip or participate in a service or mission project, have them create a board game that's both fun and informative. Young people should choose a theme for the game based on the trip. It should include spaces, cards, or spins that are positive and negative and relate to good and bad experiences on the trip. The goal could be simply to make it home. Encourage young people to make a game board, game pieces, instructions, and a decorated game box. When they finish, invite everyone to a game night at your church. Serve refreshments, introduce the game makers, have them explain their experiences, then play the games.
Submitted by Donna

I Think I Can
Each month, have young people collect items that represent memories, activities, and events from that month. Give each person a Pringles chip can to store each month's treasures. Items might include concert or game ticket stubs, letters or notes, magazine articles, pictures, church bulletins, trinkets, or cassette tapes of classes or services. Young people should decorate each Pringles can with a label depicting the month and year.

Journaling Relationships
Sometimes young people form significant relationships at camps or church events but then go their separate ways. They have a difficult time deepening their relationships because of distance. Suggest to these long-distance friends that they build a journaling relationship. Give both friends the same through-the-Bible devotional and challenge them to read the same Scripture passage each day. As they read each day's entry, have them journal their thoughts, questions, and insights. Then they can send / email their journal entries to each other each week.

The Signature Book
Often, life's most significant events are connected to the people around us. So, instead of writing about their experiences, teach young people to connect events with people. Have them make a book for signatures. During or after significant events, have them ask people involved in the event to sign their books and write a comment or two. They can include snapshots with the comments. Young people could take it one step further by writing their own comments about the people who signed their books.

Charge!
Get a manual credit card machine from a service station, business equipment store, or closing business. This is the kind with a slider and imprinter. Then have a business equipment store make a plate for the imprinter that includes your youth group's name, logo, address, and phone number(s). Design a youth group credit card and have a print shop make enough plastic youth group cards for each group member to have one. These should be the standard credit card size so they will fit in your machine. The print shop can also provide credit card slips in duplicate form. Have young people use the cards for identification or admission to functions. Most important, you can run the cards through the imprinter whenever teenagers experience (1) an important event in their lives such as graduation, an award, or a death in the family; (2) a significant moment such as a spiritual decision; or (3) a memorable moment with you or the group. On the duplicate form, write about the experience, and then run the card through the imprinter. Give the card and a copy of the "credit" slip to the young person, and keep the original for your own memory book or journal. Obviously, this takes work and expense to set up, but the rewards will be rich and lasting.
Submitted by J J

Be creative, there is no limit as to what you can use for journaling, video, audio and email you could even use photos and put them on the web.
This could be a good thing to do for your youth group web site, a series of photos charting the year or the life of the group.
let me know what ideas you use or come up with. use the comments below!
Ian Youth worker and Writer