Six Steps to Final 30 Hour Famine Prep


By Meg Nelson

I’ve made my share of mistakes in planning and leading big events with teens, especially considering the many different components that come with a 30 Hour Famine!  I owe the wisdom I’ve gained to faithful co-leaders who have helped me learn over the years.  As the last days before your 30 Hour Famine (or any event) approaches, here’s 6 areas to take a close look at:

Leader Line-Up: Make sure you have clear communication with adult volunteers lined up to support you.  Confirming that all volunteers know expectations and their specific roles will encourage their fullest participation.  It can also ensure they don’t see other things that come up as a reason not to attend at the last minute.  That being said; last minute things do come up.  Have more adults lined up to help than you would need in theory, or know who you could ask in case there’s a last-minute emergency.  Which leads to the next detail:

Transportation: If you’re going off-site for service projects or fun outings, make sure you have more available safe seating for students than you think you’ll need.  It might mean that you talk with parents about trading your sedan and their minivan, or making sure you have one extra car and driver on standby.  Extra kids show up, leaders get sick, cars break down.  You never know what can happen, and keeping students safe should always be a top priority.

Schedule:  As you put the final pieces of the schedule together, there are a few things to keep in mind.  Try to keep some gaps in-between activities to give space for restroom breaks, water breaks, and to give space in case other things go over schedule.   Often, the opposite may occur where things take less time than expected.  Have some quick activities available to fill any unplanned gaps in the schedule.  If you’re still working out last minute tweaks to the schedule, consider creating space for down time with optional games and activities.

Space/Supplies:  As you finalize your schedule, make sure you know the space you plan to use, how you want it set up, and what supplies you need.  Even if you can’t do a full-on set up until right before the event, you can have a detailed plan ready.  Detailed notes (even sketches if you’re a visual person) with set-up plans and supplies needed will help you when a million other things are running through your head when it’s “go time”.  Having a crate with all your supplies bagged up by activity will make set up a snap once the time comes.  This also can help you delegate pieces of set up because instructions are clear and ready to go.  Lastly, when considering supplies, be sure you have some (healthy) snacks for kids for whom fasting might be too much, because just like with transportation, safety is key!

Fundraising & Paperwork:  Have a very clear plan for collecting donations.  Make the deadline a week sooner than you need the funds, but do leave some time after your event for all those “trickle in” donations that always seem to come in.  Be sure that you have all the release forms you need to reflect the amount of time your event takes place over, any off-site trips, and the details about fasting.  Have hard copies and digital copies that can be easily sent to parents, and so you can have the documentation you need in case there’s need of extra care for kids.

Self-Care Checklist: Leading the 30 Hour Famine or any big event takes its toll emotionally, physically, and spiritually.  As I mentioned in an older post on the Famine blog, I don’t recommend fasting while leading the event.  I kept smoothies/nutrition shakes in a travel mug with me, and had snacks when I had a moment to slip away.  Ensure there’s time in the overall schedule where you can get those moments to slip away.  It’s challenging, but consider ways you can have some space for rest and quiet before and after your event.  Being at your best means you can give your best to students!

Leading events like the 30 Hour Famine with students is always an adventure, and surprises will always come up.  Hopefully these tips can help you be in a better place to respond to those surprises!  Thank you for being willing to lead your students in this movement that is having an impact in your church, your neighborhoods, and all over the world!

Note from the Famine team: This coming weekend is the first 30 Hour Famine National Date, and hundreds of groups across the country are hosting their events. We want to make sure you know a couple things: First, we are praying for you (really – by name). And second, we are available to you if you need any help or have questions – just call 800.7FAMINE.