Luncheons following Sunday morning worship are huge at our church. We pick a Sunday in the Spring/Summer months and plan a huge birthday party. We decorate our fellowship hall to look like a 5 year olds birthday party with streamers, balloons, banners, party hats and lots of party favors. I even have one parent that makes balloon sculptures as table decorations.
Then I recruit 12 great bakers in our church to make a different cake, one for each month of the year. We have one huge dessert table with all 12 cakes on it and we also serve ice cream! We also serve summer type foods – bake chicken, salad, a veggie and some sort of bread.
We announce the event in our monthly newsletter and then the week prior I send out personal invitations to everyone at church. This is a great time to celebrate everyone’s birthday in one huge party and I even have the youth go around and put “happy birthday” stickers on everyone and thank them for supporting our youth mission trip. We don’t charge for this meal but accept donations, we very rarely charge for our events because we bring in hundreds more in donations. Our suggestion for donation is $1 for every year you are born (i.e. $25 if you are 25 years old) or on the day you were born (i.e. July 19 would be $19). People get creative and have a great time. We have a small church and usually have around 80-100 each year at this dinner but we’ve raised over $2,000!
Hug Pins were a favorite when I was a youth in my youth group. Each year we go on a mission trip and every three years we participate in the Presbyterian Youth Triennium and I honestly cannot remember when Hug Pins got started but before we go on our trip we gather in our youth room with lots of Sharpies and wooden clothes pins on hand. Each person going on the trip can decorate 2-3 clothes pins each and all we require is that one side of the pin have the words “Hug Pin” on them. Then when we get to a huge gathering like our Group Workcamps we try to meet as many new people as possible and give our pins away by hugging. It awesome to see how our pins get around to so many different people at camp. Some kids like to put our church initials and their name on the pins that way they can try to track them. Whenever we give away a pin we remind the person to “pin” it on themselves until they give it away and not to keep it too long!
This is a variation on the Hand Print Fun idea. Every year in May we celebrate Graduation Sunday for our graduating high school seniors. We present them with bibles during morning morning worship and then during Sunday School they put their handprints on a wall in our youth room. Each senior signs their name, the school they graduated from and the year. Each year all seniors each have the same color handprint.
It’s turned into a 7 year tradition at our church and the new kids love to compare everyones handprints and what schools everyone went to and they still love finding my handprint on the wall. Some kids have already got me to promise to save a particular color for them. We even remodeled out youth room but that was the one wall we left untouched.