Monday, January 27, 2020

21 Alternative Club Ideas to Start the Semester

If you're waiting a few weeks into the new semester to start back with "normal" club, consider still doing something with kids on the normal club night! Below are 21 ideas: 
  • Wing Fest
  • Nerf War
  • Poor Man's Paintball
  • Bigger, Better, Best
  • T-Shirt Rally
    • Similar to Bigger, Better, Best, but with t-shirts instead. Just go knock on doors and try to get the most t-shirts given to you.
      • 1 point = T-shirt
      • 2 points = Long sleeve t-shirt
      • 10 points = A t-shirt from your high school
      • 20 points = Bring back a high school friend who has never been to Young Life
      • 30 points = Bring back a summer camp deposit
  • Digital Scavenger Hunt (use Instagram)
  • Board Game Night
  • Laser Tag or Arcade
  • Matball
    • Similar to kickball except you have extra large bases for 1st and 3rd and both are switched in opposite places
    • After batting, you will run left to get to first base and proceed clockwise around the bases
    • The large mats can have as many people as you like on them
    • If you leave 1st or 3rd base you can go back with no penalty as long as you don't touch or pass 2nd or home plate. If you do go past those, you must continue to the next mat.
    • After passing home you continue back to first base. However, your run does not count unless you safely make it to first base.
    • Click here to see the Soda-Can version of the game.
  • Angleball
  • Manhunt (just a cool name for Hide N Seek)
  • Find Your Leader
  • Couch Olympics
  • Cookout/Bonfire
  • Movie Night
  • Trampoline park
  • Gymnastics/Climbing/American Ninja Warrior Gym
  • Dodgeball Tournament
  • Stickball
  • Party at the local Pet Store or Animal Shelter
  • Ultimate Frisbee
  • Video Game Tournament
  • Visit a hospital or nursing home

If you have other ideas, ema
il us here and we'll add them to the post.

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Sunday, January 26, 2020

Bean Bags: The Great Equalizer

Feels funny writing a post about bean bags, but last night I was hanging at a bowling alley with some of my high school friends and starting thinking about the booyah-ness of bags. Anybody else doing bowling alley contact work these days?

In the sea of bowling alley arcade games, the "bean bag toss game" became the hot ticket item. It reminded me of just how fun it can be to simply toss bags at a target. 

In light of that, below you'll find three ways you could use bean bag tossing to help you connect with kids.  

A Cornhole School Club

A school cornhole club recently started in my hometown. It's a fun and easy game to play and the new school club attracted all different kinds of kids. 

Starting a cornhole club at your school could be a great way to connect with kids you might not normally meet through Young Life. I worked with some of my high school friends to start an Ultimate Frisbee club at a high school where I led Young Life and the club grew from twenty kids to over a hundred players the following season. Lots of them never came to Young Life, but helping coach the team allowed me to meet kids that I never ran into before.

Cornhole Tournament Fundraiser

Summer camp will be here before you know it. What if you planned a Cornhole Tournament to raise money for camp? A few years ago two of my Young Life guys decided to do just that. They designed a tournament logo, made t-shirts and marketed it like crazy. They charged team registration fees of $30 ($15/person), which meant you got shirts, snacks, and a prize for the winner. They got a business to sponsor the cost of the t-shirts and printed the business logo on the sleeve of the shirt. They got a local food place to donate snacks and drinks and another one to donate gift cards for the winning team. They paid the get a sweet trophy made and posted the pic of "the golden bag "on social media as incentive to sign up.  

Then they had 30 teams come out and compete. It was such a fun day! And they each made $450 towards their summer camp trip! I bet they'll both soon become professors in entrepreneurship.

Cornhole at Club

Play a cornhole tourney at club! Lots of kids own cornhole sets. Ask committee members too. Borrow a bunch for club one night and instead of mixers and games, just do a corn-hole tournament, a couple of songs and a talk. You could build a bracket and write in winners so folks can watch teams advance, like with March Madness. 

Just make sure of a few things:

  • Don't let a kid get left out without a partner. Leaders should be careful to pair up with kids who might be partner-less. 
  • Have a fun music playlist rocking in the background.
  • Make sure to have a few other activities to do when folks lose. You could also have a loser bracket, so folks can keep playing after they lose. 
  • A good prize is a good motivator. "Lunch with a leader" is an easy-go-to, but a gold-spray painted ear of corn can also do the trick. 

Written by Drew Hill.

Drew has been sharing ideas on The Young Life Leader Blog for the past decade. He also wrote an award-winning book for Young Life leaders called "Alongside: Loving Teenagers with the Gospel."

If you would like to join the Young Life leader email list, sign up here in 30 seconds and get an "extra special" YL leader email every other month (6/year)!

Wednesday, January 22, 2020

Tons of Super Bowl Club Ideas

Super Bowl 54 is coming up next Sunday, Feb. 2, 2020. Studies show that 1/3 of all Americans plan to watch it!

You might be having a Super Bowl theme club during the week or even hosting a party on Sunday night. Below are tons of ideas to kick around.

Super Bowl Trivia 

This trivia game can be used at club or at a YL Super Bowl party. You don't have to know that much about football to play the game. You can use it as an upfront game with a few contestants or divide everyone into teams and turn it into a mixer. 

Super Bowl Predictions

You may have heard of "prop bets" and this is a fun similar game to do at the VERY beginning of your Super Bowl party. You could also have folks fill it out at club the week before the game and then award the prize the week after the game. 

You can print them on light green colored paper to make it look more football-y. Award a prize for the person who gets the most correct points. Anyone can play, not just football fans. I designed it to where you can "grade the papers" during the end of half-time and award a prize in the beginning of the third quarter, just in case folks don't hang around for the whole game.

The Young Life Bowl

Start an annual tradition around the time of the Super Bowl of having the Sr./Freshmen Guys play the Jr./Soph Guys in a
pre-club game of two-hand touch football. Call it "The YL Bowl." 

Award an actual bowl that you've decorated to the winning team. You can go all out with this with referees, team uniforms, cheerleaders, etc. Last year we played on a dark field so we pulled lots of cars around the field and turned on headlights.


Encourage everyone to dress football-y or to wear the attire of their favorite sports teams to club. Have leaders wear ref shirts. They're probably in your YL office skit closet. If not, you can order one here on Amazon Prime for $13. You'll get your money's worth out of that thing!


Matt Sloan, Area Director in NC, duct-taped a football field in their club room and made 2 goal posts from PVC pipe and yellow spray paint. Great visual!

Start Club: Sing & Flip

Have an American flag flying on your screen and begin the night by singing the National Anthem. Follow the song with a coin toss between two legit fans of each team playing in the actual Super Bowl. Pick someone wearing a Chiefs jersey and another person wearing a 49ers jersey.

Mixer "Don't Fumble"

Give everyone a single brown balloon. You can order 100 brown balloons for $14 on Amazon. Once they blow up their balloon, they're only allowed to hold it in one hand. They use their other hand to try and pop other's balloons or force them to fumble. Once your balloon hits the ground, you're out. Last one standing wins.


  • Hot dog Hike and Toss
  • Or this game, which is straight baller.
  • Bowling with real bowling pins using a real football.
  • Football Toss (through a hula hoop, blindfolded, opposite hand, while being tackled)


Have any Super Bowl Club Ideas that have worked for your club? Email us here. 

Tuesday, January 21, 2020

A Brand New Way for Leaders to Connect

During the YL2020 staff conference in Orlando, lots of Young Life staff enjoyed using the YL2020 app. It was fun to have a channel devoted to sharing pictures, questions and information. It kind of felt like an Instagram feed just for Young Life

We're in the beginning stages of working on an incredible tool that would provide a designated place for Young Life leaders around the globe to connect and share resources, but it's going to take some time to build. (I'll share more on that later.) In the meantime, we've created a private Facebook group to serve as a placeholder. It's not a perfect solution, but our hope is that it can be a place where Young Life leaders everywhere can share questions, ideas, resources, and encouragement! 

You can join the conversation at this link: