In these challenging and unusual times one could easily assume that youth clubs are a thing of the past. Lockdown restrictions placed on social gatherings and other stringent measures taken as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, have wreaked havoc on normal day-to-day life and young people have been no exception to this abrupt disruption to their lives.
The resilience of youth with their boundless energy, resourcefulness and ingenuity, has most certainly been put to the test in these times. The youth of Brunstad Christian Church South Africa, have risen to the challenge of sustaining their youth clubs by using technology to their best advantage. Where feasible, they have adapted to online clubs and this adaption has not only kept the clubs alive in this time of lockdown, but thriving!
Using various online platforms, the clubs meet twice a week. In addition to all the recreational activities club members participate in, the clubs are also a forum where time is spent on current Bible study projects. These projects could be an in-depth study of a specific book from the Bible or on a particular church literature book.
The leaders and mentors of the various interest groups have come up with novel ways to enhance the activities for their groups, keeping the members motivated and involved. They have found that an important part of having successful online meetings is the planning ahead for each meeting and keeping in regular contact with their members. More importantly, the youth have maintained contact and fellowship with each other, despite being physically apart.
It is interesting to see how the various groups have adapted their clubs:
The 14 members of the art club find it fun, interesting and stimulating to learn about different styles and techniques of painting and drawing, and enjoy trying out various mediums such as watercolour, oil and acrylic paints. Once a week they arrange a workshop with someone demonstrating a particular technique or they watch an online tutorial and then while still connected, try out what they have learned and are able to help each other with tips and suggestions. The other evening in the week they connect online and each one continues working on their painting or drawing, but at the same time having fellowship and sharing in their common interest. Once their drawings or paintings have been completed, they post them on Telegram for their group to see and give feedback on.
E-Sports Club for Boys:
The boys’ e-sports club is a large group of under-18 boys and mentors who meet using Discord.com as their meeting platform, which allows them talk to each other while gaming. They play a wide variety of computer games as well as online board games on one night of the week, and on the other night they set up Kahoot quizzes and the mentors arrange prizes for the winners; generally making the evening enjoyable and interesting for the boys. Without a doubt the boys enjoy the fun and fellowship they share on e-sports.
The members of the dance club enjoy this activity because it keeps them active and fit and they have fellowship even though it is through online platforms. Like all the other clubs they meet twice a week, and on Mondays they learn a new dance routine which they practice on their own during that week and then meet online the following Monday and do the dance ‘together’. On Thursdays they read edifying articles, share Bible verses or watch films on BrunstadTV and also do other fun activities together online like playing games, doing physical exercises and ‘exercising’ their brains with riddles and brain teasers.
E-Sports Club for Girls:
The e-sports club for girls consists of 6 members who meet on Discord.com and play games such as Counter-Strike: Global Offensive and Minecraft. They compete against the boys’ e-sports club on one evening of the week, and on the other, they get together on Zoom or Google Meet and have fellowship and Kahoot quiz evenings.
The online bakers meet on Zoom for two hours twice a week. Planning ahead for this activity is important so that each member has the ingredients they need ready for the meeting. They make a wide variety of sweet and savoury eats, for example: pizza, shortbread, eclairs, caramelized popcorn, pancakes and so on. Fellowship and fun abounds while they wait for their eats to bake in the oven.
Coding club members learn basic coding skills for HTML and WordPress, meeting either on Zoom or Google Hangouts. The leader of the club shares her screen online so that learning takes place step by step for each member. With these skills they are able to build their own free WordPress blog, and the HTML skills they have learned will enable them to build the planned new website for the youth clubs. They use coding games and HTML challenges to improve their skills, and Kahoot games test their knowledge. They play Gamebot on Telegram for fun, with prizes up for grabs for the winners.
It is heartwarming to see how proactive and enthusiastic the youth club leaders and mentors are… keeping the youth occupied, participating, having fun and maintaining fellowship, even in these trying times.