My many years working both in church and gigging youth events has provided me with vast and varied experiences in youth room all over East Texas. I couldn’t even add up all the hours I’ve spent in youth areas over the years – from the million dollar buildings to the abandoned fellowship halls.
And yet, somethings remain the same. Some things don’t change no matter where you go. These are those things.
1. The smell, obviously. Sweat and awkwardness make for a powerful combo.
2. Chord charts are everywhere. Strewn across the stage, stuffed into the kick drum, shoved under the sound board – at any point, you’ll be within three feet of computer printouts of popular worship songs.
3. Chairs will not be in a straight line.
4. Something weird is in the room. There’s always at least one odd thing in a youth room. Maybe it’s a giant inflatable horse from last week’s lock in or half-constructed dunking booth.
5. 90% of the vocal mics will be bent. Stands to reason. Since they’ve been dropped at least four times each month.
6. The drum heads are nine years old. And maybe punctured. Why? Because everybody gets to play on the youth drums.
7. One large spill stain on the carpet. (Possibly two) Most likely, this spill happened within two weeks of the youth room’s grand opening. Most commonly, the culprits are either preacher’s kids or a first-time guest.
8. The effects are cheap. Since teenagers don’t have a lot of money (and have poor taste in gear) you’ll find at least two Musician’s Friend clearance multi-effects pedals somewhere in the building. Using only presets.
9. Twenty-two music stands but all the guitars are leaned against the wall. It’s amazing that more youth band guitars don’t hit the ground. God’s favor, I guess.
10. Some weird adapter you’ve never seen before. This is usually found back at the tech booth where one of the college guys who helps out tried to run an XBox to the screen. It worked great, but now the projector won’t turn on unless the computer’s been on for six and half minutes.
11. A ball. There’ll just be a lone ball on the floor. No one knows why.
What else did I miss? Y’all have seen lots of youth rooms in your day. What am I forgetting?