Slurpees and Service: Making a local impact in the summer


Ross Carper 

Screen Shot 2016-06-16 at 9.22.27 AMIn the summer, youth workers have a lot going on. This time of year, people often congratulate Ms. or Mr. Youth Director on a job well done: what a great school year of programs, events, small groups, etc., so go enjoy your summer break! What these people don’t see is that youth worker’s blood pressure rising because of the ten fundraisers left to do for that huge upcoming camp or mission trip.

Nope, summer isn’t a restful time for us: students have more availability, so we’re ready to share more time and significantly longer experiences with them. And those things take a lot of preparation, planning, implementation, and follow-up.

Because these “biggies” (camps/trips) take up so much effort and energy (and time away from family and rest), it’s important to keep it simple and relational with the rest of the summer. With this in mind, a few years back, we started doing something we call “Slurp n’ Serve.”

Basically, we set up an opportunity to serve with our students for a couple hours at an awesome local organization, then we go get Slurpees together afterwards as we debrief, and sometimes split into small groups for a simple discussion or Bible study.

The organization we serve offers a summer day camp for elementary-age kids in the neighborhood, many of whom experience difficult family circumstances or have been recently resettled in our city from refugee camps across the world. So our students’ job is pretty basic and fun: playing with the kids, helping chaperone on trips to the public pool, leading some simple games/crafts/lessons. Our whole job is having fun with kids and trying to give them as much love, attention, and joy as we can.

Then we go drink Slurpees and talk about stuff that matters. It’s these Thursday afternoons that I really look forward to in the midst of all the big events we do in the summer. It’s simple, enjoyable, and it really connects back to our heart for serving others—which we’ve developed hugely during our mission experiences and during 30 Hour Famine season.

A few of our junior high students posing with a trunk full of canned food they collected. And their ridiculously huge Slurpees.