Who is Refuge for?
Any student in 7th grade up through 12th grade. Here in Clatskanie the Jr. high/middle school age is 7th/8th grade. Therefore, we also make our jr. high/middle school age 7th/8th. It just works out the best. However, we do bring in our 6th grade students (soon to be 7th grade students) when Venture Club concludes at the end of May each year. This gives the 6th graders a couple of months of transition time before summer hits.
What you can expect when you come to a Refuge meeting?
Refuge (youth group) is every Sunday evening from 6pm - 8pm. We meet in the Refuge room, which is located at the end of the upper hallway in the main church church building. Students start arriving around 5:45pm to fellowship and grab something from our Refuge Cafe (we sell an assortment of candy and Italian sodas...among other things. Pricing is set to cover cost only.)
Usually the first activity we do is circle up and let each student tell their High/Low of the week. This is any highlight of the week as well as a lowlight (we like to be real). After that we play a couple of games either in the Refuge room, throughout the church building, or outside if the weather is nice. For obvious reasons, game time is pretty popular with the students.
Once we get all our wiggles out we transition to the music and message part of the evening. We have an all student worship team that leads us in 3-4 songs and then close with a message from God's word. Often it's centered around a book of the Bible or a current cultural topic that we can unpack through God's word. We often will break out into discussion groups and will always have an interactive format.
So yeah, we try and keep the night flowing and active while spending time in growing our relationship with Jesus and each other.
Does Refuge go all year around?
Yes! We provide a weekly Refuge meeting all year around. This is for several reasons. The main one being continuity and momentum. We've found that when we take breaks (like take the summer off) we lose all the momentum and continuity we just built through the school year. Furthermore, it's incredibly hard to get students excited and back together in the fall. So, we've adopted a year round model that will help with that.
To help fend off leader burnout we don't do any major camps or retreats in the summer. Instead we encourage students to serve in VBS and soccer camp as well as attend christian summer camps with friends.