10 questions to ask your youth after camp, pilgrimage, or mission trip

After camp, mission trip, the gathering, an amazing excursion, What to ask?

We all ask, “Was it fun?” I hope it was! But I hope the experience was bigger, broader and deeper than just fun. I hope fun is not the only measurement used to evaluate this experience.

Here is what I know…
“The only time anyone learns anything is when they reflect on it.” Thus, I need your help. In the days, weeks and months ahead, I need your help in asking the important questions. What gets reflected on, what gets attention, that is what likely will live beyond the experience.

Go slowly.
The experience had it’s own culture, a different environment, a different rhythm, new relationships, even new takes on life and faith. It is hard to jump back into the old routines. Expect and allow life to be different. Ask questions over the next days, weeks, even months.

Ask questions.
You have to expect and then wait to get past the van breaking down, the burnt soup, the practical joke. You normally get to hear those first.

Listen, don’t evaluate, challenge, or jump in with your stories! Let your son or daughter own and grow from their experience. Here are some questions you will want to ask.

  • What was one of your favorite parts of the experience?
  • What did you experience or feel that you never have before?
  • What are you coming home with? (Other than lots of dirty clothes.)
  • What was life-shaping, even life-changing for you?
  • What do you think will stick with you?
  • How was faith and life experienced there?
  • Was there a deeper part of the week? How would you describe that part of your experience?
  • What challenged you?
  • Who shaped your faith? In what ways?
  • After this experience, what should I learn from you?

The ultimate learning experience comes when we let our young people be our teachers. Be ready to allow something new, ready to be challenged, even enter into a new practice of life and faith.

Grace & Peace,
Karen Schlabach
Youth Missioner

Adapted with permission from Peer Ministry Leadership E-news, 6/25/14. 

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