youth group

"Have fun" should not be a rule

A lot of summer camps, youth groups, and other activities have a “have fun” rule.

The implied message is usually: This is a fun place. If you’re not having fun, you’re doing something wrong. Fix your attitude and have fun doing the fun activities.

Sometimes “have fun” rules are explicit. Sometimes they’re more implicit, and come in forms like: making people sing a song every day about how much they love camp, announcements about “we’re all having so much fun!”, or whatever else.

The problem with this is: nothing is fun for everyone. People have the right to feel how they feel about things. It’s really degrading to tell an unhappy person that they should just feel some other way.

“Have fun” rules are especially problematic for many disabled people.

Because — most programs are not fully accessible, even when they think they are. Most of us expect to encounter activities that are inaccessible in ways that make participation impossible — or that make them no fun.

And often, initially fun activities are ruined when someone treats you in a degrading way or says something awful about disability.

Being left out when everyone else is having fun is bad enough. When there’s a “have fun” rule, it’s even worse. Not only are you hurt by the exclusion, you’re told that you’re violating the rules by being hurt and unhappy.

“Have fun” rules make it really hard to solve these problems, because they make it risky to admit that you’re not having a good time.

“Have fun” rules make problems harder to solve, even when the problem has a straightforward solution. All the more so when the problem is complicated. (Or only has a partial solution.)

“Have fun” rules actually make things a lot less fun.

I’ll never forget the day my religious education teachers did purity class and had us all describe our ideal man and his virtues and wrote them out on the board then well-meaningly but condescendingly asked if we believed we currently deserved a man like that.

Like. Do good women deserve good husbands? Do bad women deserve bad husbands? What about mediocre women? Do they automatically get dispensed a bad one for not being good? Did anyone think this crap through before they made a lesson plan out of it??

My youth leader counted down to pray at youth group...

You remember elementary school? When the teacher would count down to get everybody to quiet down? That happened at youth group on Wednesday. We were about to pray. 

During the lesson, we were shushed about ten million times. Well, maybe not quite so many, but it felt like ten million. 

When we are super hungry and a meal is placed in front of us, we don’t turn to our friend and say, “What did the blonde…” No. We are hungry and food is there. So we eat. It is not the time to tell jokes! 

Well what if you knew that there was something more important than food? And let me tell you, God is waaaayyyyy more important than food. Yet, when we see our Bible collecting dust on the shelf, we decide breakfast should come first. Apparently, breakfast is so much more important that you don’t even pray before (I am very guilty of this). Or when we are at church or Bible study or youth group and see that we have a texxt on our phone, a Facebook notification, or a Tumblr post and decide to check that out instead of listening to God saying, “Look, I gave you this opportunity to learn about me. Take it. I love you, please listen to me.” Or our friend has a hilarious joke to say. A joke that is obviously going to last longer than God’s Word. Which is why it must be said at that moment.

No. We are spiritually starving. Yet we continue to neglect the food that is given to us. Today I got an extra slice of pizza at lunch because the first slice was amazing and I was hungry. Why don’t I do that with the Bible? My favorite book is Isaiah. It is so rich! Yet, I will often just read one verse of it. Not the next. 

My youth pastor counted down to pray. God established this church to have a relationship with Him. And guess what, a relationship is more than saying, “God? Yeah, I know Him. He is pretty cool. I like to chill with Him occasionally.” A relationship with God is trying to contain your excitement for the next time you spend with Him. A relationship is boasting in Christ (1 Corinthians 1:31). And how can you boast about someone you don’t know?

If you ask me about my best friend, I can talk for hours on how amazing, strong, beautiful, courageous, and wonderful she is. I will tell you how she has so much going on, but how God created her to overcome this world. I will tell you that I am so blessed to have a friend that I can love in this world. I want that in my relationship with Christ. When people see me and Natalie, they make jokes that we are always around each other. I want people to see that I am with Christ even more. And not in the way that I say, “Yeah, I can’t work Wednesdays because I have youth group. And I have to have time in the day for my personal Bible Study. Sundays I have Bible study before and after church. This summer I am going on a mission’s trip and it will be lit (with the light of Christ)…” You know when you hang out with a person so much that you just adopt a lot of their traits? I want that with Christ. People know Natalie is my best friend because we say the same things and have the same habits. How incredible would it be if people knew Jesus is first just because I act like Him? And this cannot happen when we are starving. 

Don’t count down to pray. Never stop praying. Listen to your pastor in church. to your youth leader at youth group. To your soul when it wants to open your dusty Bible. Because that is God saying, “You know I’m here for you? And I want to be part of the life I created. So invite me. Don’t ignore me. Listen.”

I know none of you guys are probably ever going to see this but to everyone at RISD I just wanted to apologise for the people in my youth group. Specificly about the gender neutral bathrooms. They have been very rude and queerphobic and thats not fair to you guys at all. I’m in tears writing this bc I’m just a closeted queer kid and it hurts me to see them saying these things not only to me but to you too. I’m so sorry. If it helps any, I love you all so much, it’s just them being hella queerphobic. I’m so sorry for the things they’ve been saying. It’s in no way fair or okay… Idk what else to say… I’m just so sorry…

- your local (temporarily) scared queer kid

So my uu youth group made group t shirts for our service trip to new orleans an the design was decided by the kids in the group and we ended up with a version of the wutang logo made to look like a chalice and with “wutang” replaced with “uu tang” an so there was this big group of teens an some adult chaparons walkin thru the airport all wearing what appeared to be wutang shirts an the airport security thought we were like the biggest whitest wutang fan club (w adult chaparones)

when they found out we were a church group they fuckin lost it