September Week 1 Community Opening Ceremonies
To facilitate team building, and establish the beginning of something new, exciting and based on relationships.  This will be an opportunity to get to know each other, and possibly new students that haven’t been to anything yet.  This is an outreach event likely to bring new students and a chance to make new friends.
15 min Set out some food – snacks
As students are entering, welcome and introduce them to the other kids Set the room up to be inviting to “Hanging out” not with desks/chairs
10 min Circle of Friends (for groups of 10 or more) Ask students to pick a partner.  Once they have a partner, decide who will be “Awesome” and who will be “Amazing” out of each set of pairs.  You can now divide the entire group in half, splitting up the folks that are already friends.Instruct those who are “awesome to make a circle, and face outward.  Instruct their partner “amazing” to stand in front of them.  Now you have 2 circles, and inner circle and an outer circle with teens facing each other.Instruct the outer circle to move one spot to the rightIntroduce themselves (name school grade ) and discuss favorite hobbies After 1 minutes, instruct the outer circle to rotate  one more spot to the right and have the same conversation.  Instead of hobbies, you may have them share the coolest thing they did during the summer, the most recent movie they saw, if they were a super hero, what power they would have or just about anything that might be a good conversation.  At this point, you can just say “ROTATE” every minute and the students will automatically rotate to the right.Circle of Friends
10 min Leader introductions
Have each leader bring a shoe box full of items that represent them.  Pictures of family, their favorite rosary, something they use at their job to represent their work, something that they collect, really just anything that represents who they are.
15 min Build a Box
Each student will make a box and decorate it.  Have a bunch of shoe boxes, markers, paint, paper, tape, stamps, stickers, ribbon, and anything else they may want to use to decorate.   They’ll make their box, decorate it and then put it on a shelf, or somewhere else in the room.  This will be their own personal mail, memory and prayer box.  Each week, you will give them a few minutes to write a prayer, log a favorite memory from the week, or write affirmations to put in other people’s boxes.  At the end of the year, you’ll open it up and it’ll serve like a time capsule for the year.  When students decorate, they can highlight themselves.  If they play soccer, maybe draw a soccer ball.  They may want to put a flag from their native country, or draw their favorite prayer style on it.  Use this time to talk about what is on each person’s box, and have some good conversation.2248127 Shoebox
30 min Scavenger Hunt
Before the event, take your phone or camera around, and take up close pictures of things around your campus.  Pictures should reveal enough to where a student might be able to recognize it if they saw it in person, but probably not just by looking at the picture.  Print the pictures out, and stick them in an envelope.  Group the kids into small groups of around 3-5 or by how many adult leaders you have.  This could possibly be the small groups you keep them in all year.Hand each group an envelope with pictures, then send them out.  When they find the item that is on their sheets, they should take a group selfie with the object in the background.  Some good items might be things found in the church like the ambry, ambo, stations of the cross, and other things you might be able to talk about and teach the name of.  You could also do fun things like  the playground equipment or the sign in the front of the building.  You might want to instruct a student in each group to set an alarm on their phone so when it goes off, they know they need to return.  If a student has Twitter, they should tweet each picture with the #ILoveMyChurch @EsTxCatholicUth If they don’t have it, they can just show you a picture on their phone to prove they were there.  They could also email or text it to  someone for upload.  If you have an Ipad or twitter yourself, you can project the feeds as they come in with the particular # and see all the other pictures of the groups.Use the last 5-8 minutes to talk about all the places they went and things they saw along the way.  Were they able to name everything?  Are there things/places they had never been
10 min Closing Prayer & Announcements
Pass the Candle – Get a really cool candle that you can use for the rest of the year.  It should be a safe candle – with a large base, and covered flame of some sort.  You could get a large candle holder, and put a tea light in it to ensure it is safe and will not melt wax, burn anyone, fall over, or light something on fire that is close to it’s flame.Ask the students to sit in a circle, then Dim the lights, and briefly teach about the importance of community prayer – that we can support one another in our faith journey when we pray together.  Talk about confidentiality – that the prayer space is sacred and no one should share anything outside of the prayer time unless someone reveals something which demonstrates someone is in danger – other than that, prayers should always be confidential.  You can also share that if someone does not want to share out loud, they can pray in silence and when they’re finished pass the candle.Begin with the sign of the cross.  First Thank God for something, and pass the candle around letting everyone thank God for something.  When it comes back around, say a prayer “Lord, I’m sorry for ______________”  pass the candle around and let everyone follow.  Finally say “Lord, Help me to_________”  and pass the candle.  When it comes around the last time, maybe close with a Glory Be.Before everyone leaves, you can make any announcements that need to be made.
Want to add something else? If you run a 2 hour program instead of 1.5 hours, here’s something you can add.After the Scavenger hunt, give them each a note card and a pen.  Instruct them to write word’s or phrases that stick out to them and make them think of “Church”.
Then play this song:“HOME” by Phillip Philip”
·         What were some things you heard that remind you of church?·         Does your church feel like home?  Why or why not?

·         What can we do to help you feel at home while you’re her