Students say goodbye to one community and hello to a new group of friends

Remember that feeling on the last day of school—the excitement of summer mingled with the sadness of saying goodbye to friends? This time of year, Willow Creek students in grades 5 and 8 experience those emotions doubly as they transition into new schools and new student ministries at church. And our student-ministry teams stand ready to help them make the transition.

"Students and parents are both excited and a little nervous—and that's actually a great space to be in," says Gretchen Dedina, associate director of Elevate, Willow's community for students entering grades 6–8. "There's a lot of newness, so we're strategic about removing the unknown."

Over the past month, Elevate leaders have been visiting incoming students in Promiseland. And this weekend, those students are stepping into their new community for the first time, facing older students, bigger experiences, and deeper opportunities for growth.

"And we're ready!" says Gretchen. "We set up a special check-in just for them, reserved VIP seating so they'll know where to sit, and we're planning VIP Loft Parties after each service, where students and their parents can hang out in the ultra-cool Elevate Loft."

Student Impact, Willow's high-school community for students in grades 9–12, is ready too.

"We go all-out to connect with our incoming class of ninth graders," says Nick Scheske, Impact's associate director. "We welcome them from the very first weekend with a freshmen-only event called That Freshman Thing." LEARN MORE.

How can parents help their kids make a smooth transition into their new student groups?

"Mark your calendars for this weekend, and make sure your Impact and Elevate kids join us," says Nick. "A strong connect at the front end of summer gives students a couple months to build friendships with new students, leaders, and groups at church—before they face new schools and teachers in the fall."

Learn more about Student Impact here.
Learn more about Elevate here.

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