A new era of virtual Youth Group began last week in Geelong RPC. We met online to have an International Night, celebrating our family histories. Australia does not have a very long non-Indigenous history and so most of us could share when our families first came to the country. Most families came in the last century, some a bit before and some in the last few decades! We dressed up in ‘traditional’ dress from a country of family heritage, or a country we love. Ghana, Germany, Northern Ireland, China, USA, Chile, Latvia, Greece, Israel, France and Japan were all featured in our outfits, stories and snacks.

We couldn’t share our snacks of course, but we look forward to doing that again one day! Parents were invited to this first online event to help everybody feel comfortable with the technology and the new format. Also, because it’s fun to have them there. After telling stories of our families and histories we played a few rounds of international trivia, which included some general knowledge, guess the flag and match the music to the country. (Andrew and Mei Stewart won the trivia- which no one was too surprised about!). 

Enjoy these photos of our costumes and some intense trivia concentrating faces!

More practically, as a meeting platform we found Zoom very user friendly and fun (we have been using it for church for a month now so were already accustomed to it). The leaders ran some guidelines by our Session for how we want virtual Youth Group to run. Out two main points are to be thoughtful and be present (which leaders explained via rap video at the beginning of the night…) and I have included them below in case they are helpful for your youth group. We would certainly recommend and encourage meeting in this way while we are in isolation. It was great to see everybody’s faces and do something fun together again. We plan to continue having Zoom Youth Group in 2020, which will include our regular Bible Studies, activity nights, games and hanging out. 

  • Be present 
  • We value each other by listening actively. Delays and cutting out will happen when there are lots of people in a Zoom meeting, so we will try to be patient and attentive to make it work! 
  • As normal, please don’t be on your phone (and close other tabs on your computer!) so you’re not distracted, and other people aren’t left out 
  • The private chat and screen sharing functions will be disabled 
  • Be thoughtful 
  • Trakkies and slippers are absolutely encouraged, but pyjamas are not.
  • Please don’t sit in your/a bedroom. 

We’re meeting on Zoom because everyone is socially isolating, including all church activities, so please don’t gather together for this event! 

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