Graduation Stress and Summer Transition

It’s that time again. Summer camp, mission trip, service projects, day trips, amusement parks, concert is part of summer ministry activities. It feels like summer time flips everything upside down in youth ministry. During the summer we see the regular weekly youth gatherings become irregular as the irregular activities become the new norm.

As youth workers this means that our work and stress increases. We are trying to get in those final fundraisers (here are some tips to help with the pain of fundraising). We are getting the important communication pieces out to teens, parents and the whole church (here is a tool that can help with communication). We are trying to get parents ready (here is resource to help). And we try to balance all the change with our family and friends transitioning into a time of vacationing and relaxing.

Our stress in the midst of the summer transition gives us a common ground to relate to the teenagers we serve. Specifically the teens who are graduating and those who have friends that are graduating are transitioning into a new phase of life. All of their hopes and dreams for “after school” are no longer future possibilities but either present realities or disappointments. And those who have friends who are graduating must learn to live life without daily or weekly contact with that person. All of this can cause them stress and make them feel out of balance.

Here are some tips to support the teens graduating and the friends their leaving behind:

  1. Be Available – Let teens know that you’re available to talk. Being available lets teens know that there is someone who is thinking and caring about the transition they are going through.
  2. Be Open – Share the stress that transitions cause you and how you go about dealing with it.
  3. Make Expectations Clear – When counseling teens who are in graduation transition advise them that they need to make their expectations clear to friends and family. They should let those close to them know how much they want to talk, visit, etc. after graduation.
  4. Focus on Relationships – If teens will miss someone after the transition like a friend, teacher, coach, or small group leader emphasize the importance of that relationship. Suggest they communicate to the person or people 1) what they mean to them 2) they appreciate them.
  5. Share your tips in the comments…