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APT for Volunteers! (Appreciation Plus Training!)

We don’t have very many volunteers in our children’s ministry right now, so I came up with the following idea to try and recruit volunteers while making the present ones feel appreciated.Each month I have scheduled a Super Saturday event for the kids (usually the last Saturday of the month). On the same Saturdays, I have planned what I call APT Meetings for our volunteers. Super Saturday always starts at 11AM and includes lunch, and APT always starts at 6PM and includes dinner.

The name ‘APT’ stands for ‘Appreciation Plus Training’ and the word ‘apt’ means relevant or appropriate, so it’s an ‘apt’ name :o)

For each month, I have come up with a theme for the dinner and a training topic. We will start with dinner (I will decorate nicely and have soft music playing), then move to fellowship for a few minutes, then to ‘sign-up for service’ (I’ll discuss current needs and ask for volunteers), then to the training, which will be an informal discussion of ideas and brainstorming, for the most part. For now, I will be providing the training, but I hope to have special guest speakers coming in within a few months as our numbers increase!

Here’s a list of our Super Saturday events for the year, followed by the APT themes and topics for each month:

Super Saturday

August: Back to School Blues Party on the parking lot with water games

September: Fall In Love With Jesus Party at a local park; to include a nature walk, craft, games, and free play.

October: Harvest Party and Hayride

November: Bowling

December: Parent’s Day Out to coincide with Christmas Play dress rehearsal

January: Skating

February: Agape Party

March: Easter Egg Hunt

April: Spring Into God’s Word Party

May: Brunch and a Movie

June: Welcome Summer Water Party

APT Themes & Topics

August: End of Summer Picnic: Hot Dogs / Keeping Our Kids Safe

*Decoration Ideas~ Red and white checked tablecloths; Fresh flowers or fresh fruit for centerpieces; Door Prize: Picnic Supplies!

September: Italian Night: Spaghetti / Learnging Through the 5 Senses

*Decoration Ideas~ Plain red tablecloths covered with lace, with cloth napkins; fancy ‘wine’ glasses; real silverware and pretty plates; wrap soda bottles in aluminum foil and tie with pretty ribbon; serve the guests at their tables; use place cards;

October: Beans & Cornbread / Teaching Creatively

*Decoration Ideas: Think Harvest! Scarecrow, bales of hay, gourds & pumpkins, etc.

November: Mexican Night: Taco Buffet / Hiding God’s Word in Young Hearts

*Decoration Ideas: Mexican hats and shawls; Bright colors; maracas on the tables; Map of Mexico on the wall

December: Soup & Sandwiches / Fun & Games: Learning Through Play

*Decoration Ideas: Think FUN! Use party streamers and balloons; Have jacks, bouncy balls, confetti on the tables; Hang hula hoops and jump ropes by the door

January: Chili & Cornbread / Reaching Out to Families

*Decoration Ideas: Use anything to do with reaching out…postcards on the table; telephones of different styles; postage stamps for a door prize; handprints on the tablecloth…

February: Pizza / Disciplining With Love

*Decoration Ideas: Think LOVE! Use Valentine’s Day stuff!

March: Hotcakes & Sausage / Creating a Learning Environment

*Decoration Ideas: Make half of the place look neat, and not distracting. Use geometric shapes for distinction. On the other half of the room, make a mess- to represent the difference between order and chaos in learning!

April: Pitch-In Potluck / Meeting the Needs of Different Kinds of Learners

*Decoration Ideas: Since this is a pitch-in potluck, provide all kinds of stuff and have the volunteers pitch in and help decorate when they first arrive! Stress embracing differences!

May: Progressive Dinner / Helping Children Discover Their Spiritual Gifts

*Decoration Ideas: No decoration needed for this one- each course of the meal will take place either at someone’s home or a different restaurant (depending on time constraints).

June: Hot Dogs & Burgers on the Grill / Showing Christ to the Kids You Teach

*Decoration Ideas: Have an outdoors picnic if possible.

by Angela Simmons

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