Graduation Gifts!

2 05 2012

Graduation season is upon us! The seniors have four more days of school left, and we just got our first graduation invitation in the mail. (But I’m still in denial. So not ready for these kids to leave yet!!)

Last spring around this time, I headed to the bookstore in search of the perfect graduation gift. My options there ranged from “cheesy devotional book that will never get opened” to “practical how-to guide with too much information on things like drinking and sex, which I don’t necessarily want to endorse.” And an idea began growing in my head: wouldn’t it be nice to have a book that is practical and fun, but also reminds students about where they came from?

So we enlisted the help of wise congregation members to write articles for the book; a nurse sent in First Aid information, a tire store owner sent an article about caring for your car, and a married youth counselor couple created a “how-to” dating guide.

I also sent out surveys to all the adult Sunday School classes, asking for little tidbits of advice and Bible verses they wanted to share with the seniors.

Then I compiled a bunch of pictures from their time in youth group, and assembled the whole thing into a book.  I created the book in InDesign and used Blurb.com’s pdf-to-book feature to upload and order the book. You really can’t beat Blurb for the price, quality, and speed (it only took a week to get here last year…plus, both years, I’ve been able to take advantage of their Mothers’ Day coupon codes to order in bulk!)!

Now we’re on Year 2, and I just finished updating and ordering the book for Graduation Sunday!  Creating this year’s book has been labor-intensive but therapeutic (like I said, I’m in denial about these guys leaving): in creating the book, I’ve been able to pray for each of them and for their future plans, and to get excited about their next steps.

What I love about this book is that it truly involves our whole congregation. Our youth can take it with them as a tangible reminder of the church that loves them, cares for them, and has nurtured them in faith. Each page reflects the unique voice of the congregation member who wrote it, and our contributors did a fantastic job of giving really practical, wonderful advice! Plus, there are enough pictures and fun stuff that I figure even the least interested students might at least flip through it once or twice … and if they happen to glean some good advice in the process, then it’s totally worth it!!

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