Friday, June 17, 2016

Thursday's Question on Friday

This is one of those issues that bugs me. I'd like to seek others input. So I am going to pose it as my Thursday's Question. Except it is Friday. So it is going to be Thursday's Question on Friday.


This is all about activities for school age kiddos. In my case these kids are in high school. Occasionally the school will have an activity for the kids that costs money. Most of the time it is just a dollar or two. But there have been times when it is more than $20. It doesn't happen very often at school, but it happens!

 What even gripes me more than is the youth group at the kids' church. They ALWAYS have activities going on that cost money. Sometimes it is around $10 each (which is $20 for us) but sometimes it is as much as $325 for a week helping churches and people in other states. Called a Mission Trip. The money helps to pay for the food, transportation, etc. during that week. They need extra money for meals while on the road. Many of the 'extra' activities during the school year involve extra money. They will have movie and a dinner night ($20. each) or a trip for snacks (suggested amount $10 each) I have voiced concerns with these types of activities and have heard "if we don't offer special kinds of things the teens won't come to church". Sadly, I expect that is true.
So they have Mission Trips, Ski trips, Summer Camp, Dinner/Movie nights, Fast Food lunches in the summer (one day a week), trips to other cities and it goes on and on and on.  

Now for my question....

What is your opinion on activities that cost money? And what if you can't afford it? Do you make your kids skip? Or would you allow them to use the "offered scholarship" for the poor kids?? My inquiring mind would like to know!

32 comments:

  1. That's a tough situation, one I am very conscious of at school. I don't have an answer.

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    1. It poses an interesting question doesn't it?

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  2. My thoughts, in random order, are based on my own experiences and are not meant as criticism... just thoughts. 1) I'm not sure having that many activities that cost money sets an example of fiscal responsibility for the youth. Some never have that much discretionary income. 2) Those who need the scholarships often don't want them because it may possibly stigmatize them and make them targets for teasing and/or bullying. I'm not implying your church. This is a general statement based on things that happened to both Angel and GN. 3) Not sure bribing the youth with so many activities just to get them to church is the right message for church. 4) Having so many tempting opportunities available can detract from at-home family time. 5) Having so many activities can detract from the appreciation of a well-earned occasional outing. 6) Does using an offered scholarship teach the have-nots to depend on them? I know some to whom this has happened. 7) Maybe we should be teaching our youth to cook healthy food instrad of having youth activities at fast food places. 8) Is the offered scholarship presented to the parens/guardians in private or to the youth themselves who then pressure the adults? My daughter and granddaughter both had to skip quite a bit because I did not have the income as a solo breadwinner. They each reacted differently to that situation, one more positively than the other. So...now it's Friday, so have a great weekend!

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    1. That is the kind of reply I like!! I will not take any of it as criticism. Unfortunately today's youth doesn't have a good grasp of financial responsibility. At least the youth who live at my house don't. They have come to understand with more positivity than they used to. One of the reasons I do not like the scholarship offer is because when I was a kid I hated it. Made me feel poorer than poor. My church used to offer these frequently to the kids. Then I would be the bad guy who said no. So I wrote a private message to the youth pastor letting him know my feelings and they quit offering. I would much rather the kids earn their way somehow than just always be considered the kid who can't afford to go. I think there are kids who can get used to using the scholarships. Some are in our church. And some live in my house!! I agree with you that bribing them with activities is sending the wrong message. It is hard to be the solo breadwinner! I don't have the income either!! I just wish I didn't have to say 'no' so often!

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  3. I went on a servant event with my church once, as a chaperone. There were so many fundraising events leading up to it, the final cost was greatly reduced.

    I think, if I had kids and we couldn't afford an event, I'd take them to an alternative event that night. That way they could say, "I can't. We have plans." making me the bad guy instead of "I can't. We can't afford it." But I don't know. I expressly opted out of the kid-thing, so I don't really have to deal with it! Good luck in your decision!

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    1. There is a one time fund raising event that takes place in February at our church. If they want to work really hard they could probably raise enough money to pay for most of the events. It is an auction type fund raiser. Harley was playing basketball at this time last year and opted out. But, I'll bet she will make time for it this next year. She is finding that missing out isn't so much fun!!

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  4. Having so many events kind of takes the "special" out of it.

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  5. Its been awhile since my son was in youth group at church, but I do remember they would have quarterly activities, like going to an arcade, maybe a movie night, in summer they would go to the water park, etc. Otherwise, they just met weekly for a service and a social gathering afterwards that was mainly soft drinks and popcorn, snacks like that.

    I don't like it when churches charge for VBS, I know sometimes its nominal but if it is supposed to be an outreach for the community, I think the churches should absorb the cost if it helps introduce Jesus to kids that might not have the chance to be exposed otherwise, but that doesn't really answer your question, LOL.

    I think a budget should be established at the church for youth activities and then stick within the budget for planned events. Having fundraisers are good but sometimes people are so tired of them, know what I mean, that they don't participate in them as actively as they should.

    betty

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    1. It would probably be different if it was quarterly. Ours is weekly and sometimes bi-weekly during the summer months. The big trips are usually twice to three times a year. I still can't afford that for two kids. Now it will only be Harley. We'll see what happens! I don't think our church charges for VBS. But it has been years since they went. I sure hope they don't!!

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  6. No matter the size of one's bank account, it doesn't seem fair!
    But not having first-hand experience with this sort of thing, I'm just interested in what others have to say.

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    1. You are right, no matter the size of the bank account. But those who have large bank accounts are not being left out! I guess that is the difference! And it's church for goodness sake. No one should be left out of church!

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  7. Sounds like a Church with money to me. The Youth at our church raise funds as a group and donations are made so the whole group can go...they take only spending money.
    Our oldest daughter could have taken a trip to Germany with the German Club, but we just did not have the money. That time each kids fundraising totals was kept separate and she donated her dollars earned to another student. (She did get to go to Germany as an adult...which she said was much better as she could drink the beer then.)
    We tried our best to let our girls go on school trips...ski trips etc...but sometimes I had to get a little creative with finances:)

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    1. It IS a church with a lot of money!! That is part of the problem I think. They forget that the poorer part of the congregation just can't afford all of this.
      I decided a long time ago not to feel bad if they couldn't go. Just to remind them how lucky we are to have what we have!!

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  8. Fortunately for me, I did not have money issues when raising my kids. OTOH, I grew up poor and still remember that horrible food we got from the welfare office before food stamps were introduced. I was in Girl Scouts and only went to a day camp cause we could not afford the overnight. My Mom was a leader so I got a break. All other school activities that cost money were not an option and I do feel I missed out on that socializing aspect of things. That 'pay-to-play' aspect you are dealing with sucks.

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    1. It is unfortunate for kids that parents feel the need to "pay to play". I grew up poor too Denise. We didn't do anything!! And I don't remember feeling left out. But this is a different world we are living in now. There is so much more for the kids to do. And the simple "day camps" seems to be a thing of the past.

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  9. It is hard no matter what course you take. But the reality is ... and it is a reality the teens must learn to accept ... is there is only so much money for non- necessities. Your grand kids seem like they have their heads screwed on right (thanks to you) so setting the stage for these expenditures would make the most sense. Here is how much money we have for this season's events, you can spread it out over a few activities or blow it all on only one. A loving reminder that a great deal of money is already spent for the roof over their head, food and clothes. That is what budgeting is all about.

    To be honest - the whole of life is a trade off - we don't do a lot of things because we don't have the money to do them and we are 69 - they will face those trade offs their whole lives so learning about it now is just a fact of life.

    I agree - attaching these activities to the idea of participating in the church does seem to send the wrong message. But I also recognize that teens have developing brains and some ideas - like spiritual awareness and participation - must be approached through appealing activities - like the ones you described. I think it is a balancing act - and a challenge.

    I am not sure using the scholarship option is the right one either - unless you are already getting social services to meet your daily needs - like for food and shelter. I think those options should be used only by kids who couldn't go to anything unless it was subsidized. I would also assume they have criteria for who can apply for those scholarships.

    I know when I was growing up there weren't so many activities, but the risks of getting involved in a variety of unhealthy activities were also not as great as it is for todays kids.

    Any chance your grandkids could earn the money for these things through baby sitting or neighbor's yard work or the like?

    Challenges, challenges, challenges.

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    1. Yes, reality is they have to learn early that money is needed for everything and they will have to decide what they want to do. The kids have summer jobs and aren't doing most of these activities this summer. And they don't seem to be all that bothered by it. Darian is deciding he is not that interested in the church group activities anymore, anyway. Life is certainly a trade-off for many things!!

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  10. When my children were teens they all had summer jobs and if they wanted to do any extra activities they earned the money to participate. I remember especially one summer my daughter wanted to attend cheerleading camp and didn't have all the money. Her oldest brother helped her out and she paid him back later on. We always camped during the summer as a family and that for the most part took up much of our extra time.

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    1. My teens summer jobs are actually preventing them from attending all of these activities so this summer is not really a problem. I was more talking about kids in general!!

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  11. We didn't grow up trying to keep up with or out do the Jones. All theses outing I think are more for Granny than the kids, you trying to give them what you didn't get. sadly this statement is one of the reasons I won't attend a church, "if we don't offer special kinds of things the teens won't come to church". What does this really teach out kids. Money talks and if you don't have it, set in the back pews please? My feelings about school are pretty much the same, most extra aren't needed. Especially if we can't afford them.

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    1. You are right about not growing up to keep up with the Jones! I don't even remember any Jones when we were growing up. No one in our neighborhood seemed to have anymore than we did. And no one got to go to any of the activities!! I don't think the outings are for Granny, though, because I could care less if they go or not. In fact I would rather they stay at home. Easier for me! I think the statement that "offering special things for the teens to come to church" is true. With phones, video games, TV, social media and all it is harder to find something to get a kid excited about anything. Money talks in everything we do!! Always has. Always will! We think alike Bro!!

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  12. I would suggest the youth group offer fundraising activities, car washes, bottle and can collections, 5K walk/runs, etc so the kids can use their own money for these trips or special outings.

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    1. They have one big fundraiser each year. It is an auction. Mostly done by the parents and purchases made by the parents for the money to go into the kids' account. Harley chose not to do it last year because she was in basketball at school. I think she will participate this year. I refuse to do the fundraising for them (kind of like the parents selling the Girl Scout cookies) because the kids need to be the ones doing this. Most parents are the ones doing it! Mine will be far more able to cope with being adults, I hope.

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  13. I guess on a positive note, the kids are involved in church functions. I would bet that there are a lot of parents/kids in the position of not being able to afford every single event. Everything now a days is expensive. Little League baseball, Soccer, cheerleading, even scouts. With three kids, my daughter has to decide on one thing the kids can participate in. I like Betty's idea. Have activities which require addition money less often and have weekly services with socializing afterwards.

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    1. Most of the time they are involved. Darian is beginning to lose interest. I think that is probably normal for his age (18). I think we have hit on a way to make everyone here happy with the church activities.

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  14. They should do fundraising activities if they're going to do things that cost money. But I don't know the answer to this. Organizations just assume that everyone can pay their way when that isn't always the case.

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  15. I don't have kids so I had no idea this goes on at church. And it sounds like the church has money. I like the idea of socializing after a service, many churches do that, so maybe something special for teenagers.

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    1. This church does have money And they have a lot of parishioners with money. And the Youth Pastor has NO kids. I think they have lost sight of what church is for.

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  16. Sounds like a church with a lot of money. I go (went) to a church that is full of wealthy congregants and they always had fun things going on. But they also had programs for folks who couldn't afford to attend (these were not trips but events at the church that charged for tickets): I used to be able to attend by working the event, which was wonderful.
    I don't know how that would translate into your kids' trips and such. Maybe at the beginning of the year, the church could lay out the trips and events planned for the year with the costs associated with each and for the folks who can't afford to participate in all of them, maybe there is some way that the kids could earn their way (working the gardens at the church, cleaning up after coffee service, etc). That way the kids are making the connection between working and earning...instead of just relying on scholarships.

    I don't have kids so I haven't had to deal with this issue but I can imagine that it is extremely frustrating. $20 is a lot of money when you don't have it! And to the wealthy folks, it's a drop in the bucket and they sometimes forget how hard it is, especially for sole earners in households...

    Michele at Angels Bark

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    1. It is a church with a lot of money. There are those who will pay for the kids that don't have money. But I feel it is wrong to put those kids in that postion. I was one of those poor kids growing up. It isn't fun to always be the poor kid. I think they just need to have activities that don't cost a lot of money as well as those things that do.

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I love to hear what you might think. Leave me a comment. I guarantee though that I will delete your comment if you are just here to cause trouble. So tread lightly!