Tapestry of Faith: Families: A Jr. High School Youth Program that Explores the Diversity, Commonality, and Meaning of Families

Welcoming and Entering

Part of Families

Materials for Activity

  • Instant processing camera with film (or digital camera, if an instant camera is unavailable)
  • Small squares of paper and markers (necessary only if you use a digital camera)
  • Glue or glue sticks
  • Large colored poster board
  • Snack, napkins, and cups
  • Name tags
  • Fine line markers, stickers, and other supplies to decorate name tags
  • Photo books about diverse families-see Leader Resource 1, Books about Families

Preparation for Activity

  • Always check your equipment well before class! Keep extra film, batteries, and/or memory sticks on hand.
  • Create an area for taking participant photos. Prepare an area where participants can add their photograph to a poster. If you use a digital camera, prepare an area where participants can draw a representation of themselves with markers.
  • Set up snack for participants to self-select as they enter.
  • Set out name tag making materials.
  • If you decide to display books about families, plan well ahead of time to obtain them from your church or public library. You might need the help of the congregation's religious educator. Be selective in your choice of books; even many "multicultural" books reinforce stereotypes. Create a comfortable area for browsing books.

Description of Activity


Welcome participants at the door. Tell participants they will first engage in informal activities and then after ten minutes or so, they will gather together as a group. Invite and encourage them to go to all the activity areas. If crowding occurs, direct individuals to less crowded activities. Have youth continue to engage in the activities as their peers arrive. Youth who arrive late and miss these activities can still participate fully in the session.

Participant Photographs

Invite participants to take instant photos of each other and then affix the photographs to a poster. (When it's complete, make sure the poster includes photographs of all participants.) If participants use a digital camera, invite them to sketch a representation of themselves to use as a placeholder until the photographs are printed. Have participants replace their sketches with photographs when they become available. Participants will use these sketches/photos for activities. Ask a co-leader to supervise this activity.


To set a relaxed tone for the session, offer a snack as an opening activity. Doing so supports the early activities of learning about the project and creating a group covenant. Consider routinely providing a snack during the Welcome process.

Name Tag Making (optional)

Invite participants to make reusable name tags. This is an excellent activity when participants are not acquainted with each other or when you have visitors.

Books about Families (optional)

Arrange books about diverse families, suggested in Leader Resource 1, Books about Families, in a comfortable area.