We carpooled and went to see the VeggieTalesmovie Jonah. Also, our church has a bus and we were able to take our kids church and some of our youth group and go christmas caroling in the pediatric ward of our local hospital at Christmas time and we brought gifts for each sick child. It was a wonderful way to brighten up the holidays for children who would be unable to be home for the holidays and it made our kids feel great about themselves.
A member of our church owns a school bus and took our classes to visit a Jewish Temple in a nearby town. We had been learning about "Our Jewish Roots." We had parents send in permission slips (be sure to tell parents ahead if children will travel with only one adult in the vehicle) and lunch money to stop at a fast food place for a quick lunch after church then on to our appointment with the rabbi for a tour, a little talk and question and answer time. We invited anyone in the church to go along and had a great time.

Another time we met on a Saturday and carpooled to our local food pantry to deliver canned goods and money we had collected. They gave us a tour and told about their program.

We always try to include photos or a little write up in our church newsletter after the trip.
We planted a vegetable garden last summer with our Ruth and Naomi rotation and then "gleaned" from it and took the fresh veggies to a local women's and children's shelter.

We also culminated a food collection project (sorry pre-rotation and can't remember what the story was) activity several years back with a trip to our local food pantry.

We made "Linus Project Blankets" for terminally ill children (www.projectlinus.org)as a culmination of a stewardship unit last fall on Wednesday night. Then we took them to our local drop off point in the church vans and took the kids out to view Christmas lights as a treat.

As part of the 5th grade milestone experience on worship, we take the students to another church for worship on a Sunday morning. The church we visit is chosen because it has a very different worship style than what we are used to at our own congregation. We have gone to several African-American congregations and had wonderful experiences worshipping together. (we always call ahead first)
This can also be a good experience in learning about hospitality and welcoming the stranger.
It is daunting to be in a new place, where you don't know anyone, and don't even know where the bathrooms are or how to find your Sunday School room!
We have also found that the students benefit from experiencing different worship styles, while recognizing that the Lord we worship is one and the same.
We have walked, and carpooled. There must always be parent permission slips, and no child will leave the property without it.
We also require volunteer screening forms for all persons who work with children, youth and vulnerable adults.
Jan Snell

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