CouchFest was a 1.5 hour online event for Students over Zoom. We used this to connect and engage with students on Easter Weekend and we will definitely do it again. It was gospel centered including worship, encouragement, and teaching. But also a lot of fun with a lot of laughter.
We took a weekend retreat and condensed it down to 90 minutes. We tried to make it fun and have a variety of activities included. I recruited volunteers to speak, lead worship, play games and trivia, and even give a recipe demonstration. We had 4 speakers who spoke for 7 minutes each on the theme of The In-Between since things were still kind of unfolding regarding shut-downs and it being the Saturday of Easter Weekend. 3 people lead worship. We had three game sessions with prizes. We used Sidekick for one session, the breakout room feature, and just the chat for another. 1 workout session led by two of our senior boys that was as goofy as possible. We did see a nipple but I haven’t got any letters. 1 cooking demonstration. 1 Family picture and afterwards we sent out a Netflix watch party link to watch undeniably the greatest movie about an orphan who becomes a friar who becomes a wrestler – Nacho Libre.
Next time we’re planning something very similar but with different segments we “steal” from some late-night hosts and other sources – maybe an art demonstration or a skit or two.
It took a lot of coordination recruiting volunteers and being very strict on time. We didn’t have a host transitioning from one segment to the next. I kicked the night off and then “handed” it to the next person, who “handed” it to the next. But it was a little tricky not being physically present with each other. I made sure to text the upcoming host so they knew to be ready. We had a minute-by-minute service guide that we tried our best to stick to. If we got off, it wasn’t a big deal though. Nobody knew but us.
All leaders were on the Zoom call at 7pm to test audio, to pray, ask questions, and walk-through the order. “Doors” to CouchFest opened at 7:20 (which means any student who jumped on early just stayed in the waiting room until then.) At 7:30 everyone was muted. As the host I spotlighted my video, gave some announcements, explained what was gonna happen, and we got going. As each segment went to another screen, I made sure to spotlight the presenter’s video so participants knew who was speaking or singing or cooking or whatever.
It was pretty fast paced and engaging, keeping students guessing as to what was coming next. And speakers had to get straight to the point with only 7 minutes which I think helped to keep student’s attention.
It was so much fun and a great way to stay connected to students. I think the more leaders you can get involved to host different segments and be creative with it, and the variety of segments the better. When I was recruiting speakers and game hosts and cooks I left it up to them to do whatever they wanted and they did an amazing job.
This was so much fun. Weeks later we’re still talking about it and kids are asking for more.
Attached is a google drive with two promo designs, our order for the night, and a custom Zoom background for during the event.