As a Youth Director, our job is fast paced & mobile. A very large part of our job is spent recruiting and organizing youth, when their entire world is pulling them in different directions. Parents, coaches, teachers, friends all want a little piece of their time, and sometimes youth events are not chosen. Youth Directors need every possible tool we can muster to help organize and engage both the youth and parents. These seven apps are a must have to help grow & build a thriving youth program where everyone feels connected an informed.
Remind 101 is amazing because it help me keep everyone in the loop. The purpose of the app is to easily send out messages to multiple parties. If they do not want to download the app, interested parties can simply txt a class code to 81010 to sign up. This app allows you to send blast messages, group messages, or individual messages. You can tag contacts in the app as “Parents”, “Students”, or “Volunteers” to send messages to certain parties without creating a whole new group.
As a young youth director, I value my privacy and I prefer to not give out my personal phone number. This app allows me to do just that, plus you also choose to have a second adult monitor all communication (Safe Sanctuaries)- but still reach the youth on a platform they constantly use. This app allows me to do just that, and I can still access messages on any of my devices seamlessly.
I use Google Suite for almost everything. I have been able to go paperless for all typical youth director task, which is a huge plus since my office is wherever I currently sit. Sign Up Sheets, Attendance Records, and document storage, are seamlessly on all of my devices and easily shareable with anyone else in my network. The only downside with Google Suite is if your church uses other document storage platforms, you may have to transfer a few extra files. I think this is totally worth it, as I constantly use these apps!
Finding music that youth connect to is so important, and that is why I love Spotify. I pay for the premium connection, which allows you unlimited streaming from all of your devices, as well as ad free music. I use this to play music when youth are just walking in, hanging out, during guided meditations, and as long as you aren’t looking for Taylor Swift, then you can easily find any type of music.
The best thing about Spotify is the browse feature. Songs have been split up into many new different categories, playlist, and tags. This allows you to search a mood and thousands of songs will follow. I prefer Spotify to other music streaming apps, like pandora, due to the fact that you can search the entire library and play that song directly. This is a must have app.
While this may become outdated within a year, most youth currently use Instagram as their main form of social media. The main point of Instagram is original photo content, not reposting or sharing other peoples images- so it is important that you capture photos that will get your point across. Once you post something, add a hashtag that is easily searchable so that you can reach more people that are outside of your church. Then, add a location to show the network where you are, so then they can
Having an Instagram account is also a great way to keep in touch with your youth and stay involved in their lives. It is important to note, however, that some youth do not want you to follow them. Respect their privacy and wait for them to follow the official youth account before you request to follow them back.
This app is great for creating original content for all of your social media. It has 1,000’s of templates where you can add your own photos, or use the many stock photos. This app is great for creating content for Instagram, Facebook, even your own personal website. The photos below were all something that I created on Canva just last night in the course of 30 minutes.
Pinterest is one of the best ways to collect new ideas for a youth program. You can find countless activities, items for the youth room, and even sample lesson plans that are easy to incorporate into any program. It is a joy being able to see the creative minds of youth directors at work trying to find solutions for problems. It has also been the source of inspiration for many a solution around my house as well. In order to save these ideas for later you can “pin” an idea to your board in order to save for later.
Constant Contact is an online email service that I could not live without. It can feature as a “Customer Relationship Management” software, a marketing service, or a contact database depending on your needs. I enjoy it because I am able to create beautiful emails each week that are appealing and organized. It has a great library of Stock Images that you can use for free (once you have paid for the service), or you can upload your own photos that you capture at an event. The one thing I wish this app offered was the ability to edit an email on your phone, that you started on computer. As of right now, the cross platform ability is not the best, but that could change with an update.
What other apps did I miss? Comment below about your favorite apps!