At the start of each group's stay, we spend some time orienting them to the community and to its needs, especially economically and socially. Giving them this orientation is an important part of helping them better serve the community in which they are living for the week. We want them to see the neighborhood through the eyes of someone living in the community. As I sat down to create an activity to do, I came across the idea of doing an Instagram photo challenge from fellow youth minister and friend Ariel. I thought the idea was brilliant, and I decided to try creating a scavenger hunt myself. So, I created a scavenger hunt that youth could complete while spending an afternoon wandering the neighborhood.
We began the activity by talking a little bit about social location, and how where we come from affects how we view and perceive the world. I asked youth to share with each other their first impressions of the community when they arrived. Then, we talked about where we come from, and how our first impressions were affected by our social location.
Then, I invited the youth to split up into groups of four or five. Each group had either a City Camp staff member or adult chaperone assigned to it. I gave each group a sheet of paper that had sixteen different things to look for. Then, I sent them out into the neighborhood for a walk. Each group was instructed to post their photos to Instagram and tag them with the hashtag #citycamp2013.
I loved seeing the photos the groups posted. Here are a couple of examples:
The most challenging part of this activity was viewing the photos after the youth returned from the hunt. I had problems finding a good way to search for all of the photos online. I wanted to project them via a laptop for everyone to see, but I couldn’t search for hashtags through the web version of Instagram, only through third party sources. The photos we did get to see, though, led to some really great discussion about the neighborhood and the injustices the youth found on their journey.
For my first attempt at fusing together social media and ministry, the hunt was successful. I would love to experiment with this activity more; I’d just do things a little differently next time!