August: A Season of Transition for Youth and Young Adults
In the middle of August the end of summer break is near. That end can be stressful and challenging since many issues become, salient such as:
- Beginning another grade. Common questions youth may ask are – What will it be like? What will my teachers be like? Will I be able to find my classes? And of course the fear that an upper-class person will describe that the pool is on the roof!
- Beginning the senior year. Common thoughts youth may have are – This is my last year, I better make it great. What will I do after high school? Just one more year and I am done and out! I don’t care about my academics anymore, I just want to have fun. This is my last year, I have to pull my GPA up, or I will never get into a college.
- Losing the autonomy of summer to the strict schedule of school, homework, and work in some cases.
- Dealing with bullying and peer pressure again, as summer may have been a break from it.
For Young Adults
- Starting college.
- Starting classes again.
- Starting a new job.
- For those with children, school is starting and all the preparation that is needed in terms of materials and clothes.
- For those with children, starting the school schedule of mornings, nights, and weekends.
- Job transitions or job concerns.
Regardless of your age, or specific circumstance one thing is certain: the end of August can bring a lot of stress to youth and young adults. If you are leading a youth or young adult ministry, or if you are part of one, here are some helpful ideas for your ministry:
- Have an end of August stress-free party where everyone just gets to relax. Then have your fall kick-off party where you get down to business.
- Be sensitive to all the additional stressors in everyone’s life! This is a time where leaders go crazy trying to get everyone involved and start things up again. But it is also a very high stress time for those in your ministry. So program your first couple of meetings with topics like transitions and stress and time management. Then once they have acclimated to their new schedules start promoting involvement.
- Create stress reduction kits for your youth and young adults. Include items that help reduce stress such as stress balls, relaxing CD music, color books and crayons, journal paper, inspirational quotes, etc.
Remember that the end of August is an exciting time with all the changes that happen as the transition from summer to fall is made. But also remember it is a high stress time for your youth and young adults. So consider how you are adding to or reducing stress.
By David Piltz, EPA Conference Coordinator of Youth and Young Adult Ministries