At Project, we have a wonderful tradition known as group dates.
Group dates are an STP favorite for many students. The men have an opportunity to serve their sisters in Christ, and the women enjoy being served and affirming their brothers’ leadership.
The idea of a group date may seem foreign. Allow me to explain.
Firstly, a disclaimer for any alarmed parents or significant others back home: Although it’s a “date,” group dates are not romantic. They are simply a chance for girls and guys to get to know each other. One guy and one girl are not paired off on the date. The evening is filled with moments to interact with each and every member of the group.
The group date consists of one room of guys and one room of girls. Step one of a group date is the ask: The guys must come up with a clever way to formally ask the girls on the date. Remember homecoming in high school? What about prom? Guys usually asked girls to the dance in cute and clever ways. The same goes for group dates. Although there are no ‘rules’ of any kind when asking the girls on a date, often times the ask is a clue to the date itself.
Again, there is not a list of rules regarding group dates (that I’m aware of, at least). However, it seems to have become a tradition that the men surprise the girls. It is rare for the men to tell the girls what will be happening on the date. The only information we girls are privy to is the day and time of the date, and any other information that is imperative for the evening (i.e. dress up, wear athletic gear, etc).
As if being asked on a date the men have planned is not serving enough already, the guys also pay for the evening. Whether it is mini-golfing, dinner, or lazer tag, the men express their roles as leaders and brothers by paying for the girls.
Once the date is over, it’s time for the girls to serve their brothers. Within a few days of the group date, the girls are encouraged to make a ‘thank you’ for the guys. 95% of the time, the thank you is edible (we know how much the guys appreciate food). Cupcakes, brownies, and cookies are common. Again, the girls have picked up the habit of thanking the guys with a theme that matches the date. For example, last week a room of men took the girls out for ice cream at the end of the date. For the thank you, the girls baked cupcakes into ice cream cones and frosted the cupcakes to look like ice cream. Clever, no?
Group dates are a sweet opportunity to love and serve our brothers and sisters here at Project. The servant-heartedness is such a picture of Jesus for us and, of course, the dates are tons of fun! While most students discover group dates at Project, they are not exclusively a ‘Project thing.’ In fact, group dates are common for CO students during the school year. Serving and caring for one another is certainly not just for the summer, and group dates are a wonderful way to show that.