“One of the largest freshmen events we have during fall semester is Freshman Transfer Leadership Team (FTLT). This is an eight week program for freshmen and transfers to plan and execute “taking-over” the BCM for a week. The freshmen are in charge of planning everything from Bible studies to back-drops for worship night. We desire to equip freshmen to be leaders in the future and provide them with an opportunity to see the inner workings of the BCM, the leadership roles along with their responsibilities.
Every week the group of freshmen and transfers gather for a time of fun, discipleship and planning. We would start with a game, enabling the freshman to improve their relationships with each other through having a good time together. Then our staff and student leaders led a series of short talks on different aspects of leadership. Our desire was for the freshmen to be equipped to wholeheartedly pursue the Lord and to lead others to do the same. After the time of teaching, the students were divided into different leadership teams to discuss their plans. The different teams included: Missions, Creativity, 6:33 (Our weekly worship service), Discipleship, Outreach, and Socials. During this time, students who were currently in each leadership position at the BCM came and offered advice, building the relationship between the upper and lower classmen. FTLT has been one of our most beneficial ways of reaching out to and mobilizing freshmen.
The fall semester is packed full of events at the BCM. We have found that the first couple months of school freshmen are looking for where they will fit in and which path they will take while on their college journey. We try to offer a plethora of fun activities and stay in a state of prayer that VT freshmen connect with the body of Christ within those first few weeks of their new-found freedom. This year, we hosted a dessert party at the home of a staff member (Dessert Dynasty), an open house event with all sorts of board games and snacks, and several other lively socials.
One successful means of inviting freshmen to events has been through our leaders. They visited the dorms of freshmen who had expressed interest in the BCM, often with cookies in hand. We have found that students are more apt to come to something new when they are familiar with a few faces. The older students engage the new students in conversation, allowing them to feel more comfortable. Often during this time, the upperclassmen will offer to walk with the freshman to whatever the upcoming event may be.
We find that freshmen enjoy getting to know upperclassmen and the upperclassmen love investing in the future of the BCM! Therefore, we do not separate the freshmen from the upperclassmen for Bible studies. Rather, we divide small groups mostly according to their dorms. This enables the freshmen to meet other freshmen from their residence, while still interacting and learning about college life from the older students.”
–Contributed by Suzie Schmitt, BCM Associate at Virginia Tech