Youth Groups

Healthy group dynamics, challenging one’s understanding of faith in relation to personal identity, and opportunities for spiritual growth and reflection in a relaxed, fun, and welcoming environment – that is what our Youth Groups are about. Structured around the ideals of fellowship, worship, and education, we meet in our colorful, comfortable Youth Space where middle schoolers meet once a week and high schoolers meet  once a month. Numerous special activities include overnights, fun-filled fundraisers and trips where they can just be themselves.

How do you do confirmation?
Ninth grade is a significant time of transition for most young people. It is the first real opportunity for adult introspection regarding a variety of life decisions. This is also a special time when young people can consider the foundations of their faith through participation in South Church’s confirmation program. From September to May, a team of lay and pastoral leaders provide opportunities for potential confirmands to explore topics of faith and the role of membership in the United Church of Christ. Together, they engage in meaningful discussions and participate in a variety of challenging service opportunities and enjoyable activities. Adult sponsors offer friendship and guidance through participation in activities, listening to questions, and by sharing their faith journeys. At the end of the program, those who wish to confirm their Christian faith and membership at South Church will be given a special opportunity to do so with the support of the congregation. Confirmed and unconfirmed 10th, 11th and 12th grade students are also welcome to attend!
What is your youth mission trip like?
For over 20 years, April school vacation week has launched our mission trip to Johns Island, South Carolina. South Church sends an enthusiastic group of well-prepared and hardworking high school youth and adults to repair homes of the rural families, migrants, and elderly who live there. The work to organize a trip like this, especially with over 50+ people typically involved, is a wonderful challenge and the friendships formed run deep. Each year we repair homes that have been passed down through generations. In addition to our building projects, we build and sustain relationships, not only with our group, but with people in the community.z2 This week of outreach develops its own rhythm – from bonding in the vans on the way there, to discovering the greatest needs for our labors – pounding nails, ripping out old wallboard, installing floors, to name a few. We also have fun at the beach, and time for games and for sharing our reflections. The week passes quickly. “Life changing!” is how our youth and adults alike proclaim this experience!
What is Summer of Service?
Summer of Service (SOS) is a Haystack award-winning community service program for middle school and high school youth. During a typical day of SOS, participants engage in hands-on service projects in Lawrence, Lowell, Boston, and the greater Merrimack Valley. Some of the volunteer sites include ABC House, Common Art, Gaining Ground, Rosie’s Place, Neighbors in Need, Johnson’s Farm, Marland Place, Cor Unum. After participants arrive in the morning, organize into small work groups, they caravan to work sites. The group comes back together in the afternoon for lunch and fun activities. Fridays are beach days! Registration opens mid-spring. While priority is given to church members, all are welcome!

In past years, our SOS kids have harvested, planted and sorted fresh produce for different farms and pantries throughout the Merrimack Valley; created art with homeless individuals in Boston; served meals at soup kitchens in Lawrence and Chelsea; prepared and served lunches for volunteers at Habitat for Humanity build sites and at the ReStore, and they’ve put in hours cleaning the windows and other areas of our church. In the afternoons, they have enjoyed each other’s company through crazy, wild games and eating tons of Flav-Or-Ice!