1. Don’t forget snacks. Could there be anything worse than the hunger that strikes 25 minutes into a road trip? YES. Hungry teenagers are some of the scariest things out there. Right next to hungry toddlers. Popcorn, pretzels and grapes make easy snacks to toss to the back seat. Ask each student to bring something easy to share or find a parent that loves to make snacks … and just plan on vacuuming later.
2. Have a music plan before you hit the road. There are a few options here: create your own playlist that you know has music everyone will like, appoint a student you trust to create a clean playlist, or just play one of CIY’s free playlists on Spotify! We recommend any of our pre-session playlists, which have been lyric checked already by some people on our team. And whatever you do, don’t forget the AUX cord!
3. Don’t let your phone die. While you’re packing that AUX cord, make sure you bring a charging cable that is compatible with your vehicle. And if you really want to be youth pastor of the year, consider finding out how to charge as many phones as possible! If fact, in some of our CIY vehicles we have outlets installed to charge up to six phones at once. Your phone is most likely your GPS, your music supply AND your means of communicating with Timmy’s parents – and if this is Timmy’s first trip away from home, they’re probably texting you every 20 minutes to make sure he’s OK and took his vitamins and reminding you that he is gluten intolerant … . You get the picture. And like the saying goes: “Put on your oxygen mask first.” In other words, your phone gets charging priority and it’s OK if Suzie doesn’t get to respond to her crush’s Snap because her phone is dead.
4. Count on a flat tire, and if it doesn’t happen … count your blessings. In the past five years, I’ve been to hundreds of CIY events and I can’t remember the last time at least one youth group didn’t have an issue of some type with their vehicle. It just happens. Therefore, be prepared for it to happen to YOU. In our CIY vehicles we have a duffle bag under the last row that contains a first aid kit, a jack, a wrench, hot hands and some other tools I truthfully don’t know the name of, along with an extra copy of our vehicle insurance. Knowing what you have to work with or who to call in all scenarios is the difference between getting to where you want to go on time, or missing the first two sessions of Believe (which are AWESOME so please don’t miss them!)
5. Make the most of your commute. When I think back to my youth group days as a student, some of the most vivid memories are being smushed in the middle row of a church van, yelling “I’M GONNA PEE MY PANTS!” because my youth pastor, Ned, was making me laugh so hard. I can’t even remember what event or where we were going, I just remember the drive there. It feels almost too Pinteresty to say, but sometimes it IS more about the journey than the destination. Your students are only your students for so long. Your kids are only as young as they are today. Don’t be so focused on getting where you’re going that you miss the life that is happening on the way. Life is happening between destinations – make the most of it.
1. Bring snacks
2. Have a music plan
3. Pack a car charger
4. Prepare for worst-case scenarios
5. Make your drive count
We pray that your travels are safe and your journey is filled with abundance of life for everyone you bring along.