I came across this link on smallworld and bestsister's blogs some time ago now, but last night I was remembering my own youth group time and lamenting that things just don't seem to be the same anymore.
My own youth group was something I pined over until I "came of age" to join. You HAD to be in first year high school ... these days, youth group starts in grade six. Grade six? Come on ... what is "high school" about a bunch of eleven and twelve year olds?
We didn't date in youth group either (though we talked about it a little), but the youth group my son went to talks about dating 101 ... they have too ... ovey 80% of the kids who attend are dating by the time they reach grade six (and doing more).
My youth group participated in youth choir, even singing Handel's Messiah once, and travelling with our Pastor to sing at congregations he was visiting preacher at, dramas (when my mom was the sunday school teacher), visiting shut-ins (who we sang for and baked goodies for)
group fasts, lock-ins at the church, volleyball tournaments with other kids from all over Ontario, mystery bike tours that often took us to Port , scavenger hunts, progressive dinners, skating and tobogganing parties, always a Superbowl party, movie marathons (where every parent knew what we would be watching because we actually asked permission), newspaper rolling, Reformation parties ...
Withe the exception of only two families, we all attended the same high school and sat with our families during service (every once in a while one could sit with a friend but if you were caught yaking instead of listening, the Pastor actually stopped the sermon until you noticed ... talk about embarassing). In grades eight and nine, we also had to hand in our sermon notes at the end of the service. Not an entirely bad idea.
I really enjoyed my youth group days and believe I would gladly send my boys to a group just like this one when they were high school age. I am not against youth groups, I just don't think I get what's going on in most of them anymore.