Backwards Dinner

Backwards Dinner
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This is a great way for a couple of your youth to get to know each other on a more personal basis, as well as their parents, youth leaders, and other willing members of the congregation. The idea is to get together a relatively small group of youth for one evening of the week. The idea works best with 8 or less youth because of carpooling and available space. This activity usually should not take more than 3 hours. What is needed: Willing chaperones that can drive the youth to the designated areas. Willing adult participants, parents or other, that can cook at their home and then invite the youth to join them.
Have the youth meet at the church around dinner time. Including family or friends would work but the idea is to get to know someone new, so keep that in mind when selecting the groups. Once the group is assembled proceed to your first house. Here the host should have dessert prepared for the group. Enjoy eating dessert first and getting to know the hosts and their family as well as each other. Repeat this at seperate houses for each course. The evening can include as many courses as desired, but keep in mind travel time when planning. At each home you can also play board games or use the handy book of questions, whatever works for getting the youth to learn about their new friends in the church.
A nice touch after the fact is to have the youth write thank-you cards to their hosts from the evening. In the past some youth have invited the hosts to their homes to return the favor and introduce their families. By switching the groups and hosts it is a good way to make connections in a large congregation.