Hazing is a fraternity problem, right? No, says an Alfred [N.Y.] University study, which found that one in four youth are hazed when joining a church youth group. The survey polled 1,541 high school youth.
The study found that church grouphazing includes vandalizing property, committing crimes and physical abuse.
Lyle Griner of the Youth and Family Institute of Augsburg College, Minneapolis, suggests these ways to welcome newcomers:
* Trace footprints with chalk on the sidewalk and write the newcomers' names beside them. Give out Oscar-like awards with fun facts collected from friends and family.
* Deliver breakfast in bed to the new member.
* Invite new youth to meet older group members for a meal or treat.
* Give a plant to each newcomer. Invite them to grow their plant with water and sunshine, and their faith through group events.
© 2013 Augsburg Fortress, Publishers