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How to run a holiday club


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How to run a holiday club

  1. 1. connecting with GodHow to … run a Children’s Holiday clubWhat exactly is a holiday club?A holiday club runs during a school holiday, where children attend each day for a week, or for certain days spread acrossthe holiday. There is a usually a theme (e.g. sport, theatre, or even pirates!) allowing leaders to open up Bible storiesand biblical themes with the children. A mixture of up-front presentation and small group work keeps children activeand interested, enabling leaders to build personal relationships with them. A typical programme might consist of songs,storytelling, Bible engagement, drama, craft, memory verses, watching a DVD, games and more, together with space tochat and get to know each other. Attendance can range from ten to 200 children!Why run a holiday club?There are many reasons for wanting to put on a holiday club: as an evangelistic tool, to disciple church children, to reachout to the local community or to help the church work more closely together.» ‘It helps us to build outwards and inwards! We get to strengthen positive relationships with families from the local community and strengthen how we can work together as a church.’» ‘To give children (and adults as a team!) an opportunity to come together and learn about Jesus, make friends and have fun!’» To reach unchurched children: Children and their families get to meet some of the church family and discover that Christians are normal people! A holiday club is a safe place for children to encounter the Bible and the message of Je- sus for the first time. They hear about God from the Bible and see Jesus in the lives of the leaders they meet and get to know. Combine this with the fun that children will have during a holiday club, and you have a memorable experience of being with God’s people.» People work together in ways that they may never do otherwise. People come forward with undiscovered gifts and skills. New leaders are trained in children’s work and those who can’t get directly involved find other roles such as pre- paring craft or doing administration.Where to start?» Decide the aim First, gather together a small team of people responsible for planning the club. The planning group should prayerfully consider the aims for your club. Do you want to attract children with little or no church background? Do you want to reach out more to the local community? Do you want to make contact with families currently outside the reach of your church? These are important questions to answer, as this will affect what you do at the club.» Develop the Programme Once you have settled on your main aim, you can then look for a programme which helps you achieve it. If you want to attract non-church children, then a programme which focuses on Jesus would be ap- propriate. A gospel programme will also be ideal for an Easter holiday club. If you aim to disciple church children, then a programme based on an epistle or an Old Testament character might be more suitable. You could write your own programme, but that will take a lot of time and effort. You might find it easier to adapt a published programme to fit your aim and circumstances.» Recruit the Team Next, you will need to recruit a committed team, so you can be sure you have enough leaders to make the club happen. Identify people you think would be able to help and ask them personally. It may be that some people are not able to help out during the club, but are able to support in different ways: putting together the
  2. 2. ments, helping with the publicity or (most importantly!) praying for the club, the leaders and the children who will attend.» Legalities When you put together the team, make sure you follow your church’s child protection policy. If you don’t have one, then this is the ideal opportunity to create one – contact the Churches Child Protection Advisory Service (, who will be able to help you put a policy together. It is vital that we value children by taking every step to ensure their safety.» Assign Roles Your team of leaders will need to be assigned jobs so that they can put together the various aspects of the club. Scripture Union’s programmes each detail the roles you will need to fill, but if you don’t have any leaders ca- pable to put on a drama sketch, then miss the drama out! The only elements you shouldn’t miss out are those where the children hear and engage with the Bible.» Train the team It is also important to make sure that all leaders are familiar with the programme, the Bible passages and the aims for each day. It’s a good idea to hold a couple of training evenings for your team, so that you have time to explore the programme and maybe go through some practical training points.» Pray and Enjoy When you finally get to the club itself, make sure you keep praying – we can do nothing without God’s help and a holiday club is no exception! Encourage everyone in their roles, because you will all be working hard, but remember to enjoy yourselves too! Children will pick up on the fact that you yourselves are having fun, and this will create a great, positive atmosphere for them.EvaluateWhen you have finished, how do you know that the club has been successful? Remember, the success of a holiday club isnot measured by the number of children who attend. Smaller clubs often have a great atmosphere, where everyone getsto know each other and good relationships are built between adults and children and among the children themselves.Look back at your original aims and see if you have met them. If not, assess why not – come up with any ways you canimprove things for the next club you put on.Keeping in touchThe end of a holiday club is not going to be the end of your relationship with the children who attended. It is impor-tant to build on relationships and there are many ways to do this. Here are some suggestions for maintaining contactthroughout the year:» Start a relationship with the local primary school that children from your club attend. You could offer to take assem- blies, hear children read, get involved in RE lessons. Contact the head teacher and discuss how you could be of help to them.» Start an after-school or midweek club. More relaxed and shorter than a holiday club, these allow you to carry on build- ing relationships with the children. SU produces a range of materials for these groups – there is always a programme which follows on from SU’s holiday club programme, enabling you to keep the holiday club theme going during term time.» Get involved with something similar to X:site, a Scripture Union initiative where children from a town or city get to- gether and do holiday club type activities.ResourcesThere are things that can help make running a holiday club a lot easier.» Each year, Scripture Union produces a new holiday club programme for churches to adapt and use in their own situ- ation. Each programme consists of a resource book (containing a five-day programme of activities together with lots of help and advice), a DVD (with five storytelling episodes and a training feature to help you and your team) and
  3. 3. small Bible text and activity book for children aged 8 to 11 to use during the club. The programme is backed up by SU’s holiday club website, giving up-to-date advice on safeguarding children, health and safety and putting you in touch with other holiday club churches. Scripture Union’s field workers are also available to provide specific advice and information.» For extra ideas and help, Scripture Union produces a range of easy-to-use books called Top Tips. Particularly useful if you are starting out on a holiday club adventure for the first time are the books on Reaching unchurched children, Encouraging faith to grow, Sharing Bible stories and Welcoming children of other faiths.Alex Taylor, Scripture Union, Commissioning Editor for Childrens and Youth