Friday, February 5, 2016

Valentine's Day Club Ideas

Below are a few different directions you can go if you're planning a Valentine's themed club.

Call It... 

  • Battle of the Sexes Club
  • Ms. Valentine's Pageant
  • Anti-Valentine's Day Club
  • Dating Game Club
  • Red Club
  • Love Club
Battle of the Sexes
One year we did Battle of the Sexes Club on Valentine's day and it was a big success. Gals wore pink. Guys wore blue. They entered through different tunnels. We had contests singing love songs the loudest. We did the giant pyramid mixer.  We played Battle of the Sexes trivia and a few other fun games. Get all of the Battle of the Sexes Club Ideas here. 

Ms. Valentine's Pageant

This club is very similar to the Mr. Christmas Tree Pageant done with the guys in December. Get ideas here

Anti-Valentine's Day Club

I've actually never done this club but I've heard a few folks say that it's gone well for them. If you have ideas, send them in here and I'll add them to this post. 

Dating Game Club/The Blind Bachelor

Have "Antonio Amore" host your evening. He enters to the song “That’s Amore” and is dressed in a suit with red hearts pinned all over him, a mullet wig, mustache, top hat, anything over the top. He has a French accent and repeatedly says: 

“I do not push, I do not shove, I am as sweet (sweet is said in a high pitched voice) as a turtle dove, I get my looks from the man above, my name’s Amore, my name means love.

In the past we've borrowed a male and female senior leader from our rival high school and had them serve as our guest 'bachelor' and 'bachelorette' for the night. The 'bachelor' went first and entered blindfolded while the bachelorette was hidden in another room. 4 girls (one from each grade) competed to win the date with the bachelor. The bachelor asked the girls a series of questions like these:

  • If you were a candy, what would you be and why?
  • Describe your perfect date? What would we do?
  • What are you looking for in a future spouse?
  • If you were to write me a poem, what would it say?
Ex: "Contestant #1, if you could change anything about the world, what would it be?"

After a series of questions the bachelor makes his decision and writes it (still blindfolded) on a piece of paper placed in a sealed envelope and handed to Antonio Amore. The female contestants all wait in suspense while the Bachelorette enters along with the 4 male contestants, one from each class.

I like to prep the freshmen guy ahead of time with good answers so he's the hero. It's funny when the senior girl wins a date with the freshmen guy.

After the bachelorette makes her decision, Antonio announces both winners. The music plays, rose pedals are thrown down, and the blindfolds are removed. The two winning couples are escorted to the door where the limo awaits! (See if you can get an area limo service to donate or give discounted service. Typically a Monday night isn't too busy for them!)

In the limo, the couples are joined by Antonio and another friend of YL who is the videographer for the evening. The two couples leave club before the talk and head to a local dive like What-A-Burger or Sonic. Have silverware, flowers, placemats, etc... Antonio helps the date along prompting conversation with pre-planned questions and instructions like "feed your date a bite of that milkshake with your left hand.'

Show the video at club the following week!

Other Dating Game Club Ideas From

The Talk
I recommend using Love Club to address sex & dating. I know its not in our typical YL talk progression, but its something teenagers are dealing with daily and we owe them the truth.

In the past I've done a light-hearted talk, explaining the difference between lust and love. It's important to help our high school friends understand that we desire more than just what our hormones tell us we want. We long for intimacy, way more than just physical affection. We long to be completely known and yet completely loved- accepted and unashamed, without fear of rejection.

Gen 1:27, 2:18-25, and 1 Corin. 6:16-19 (from the Message).

Quotes I Love To Use When Speaking About Sex & Dating

-Purity paves the way to intimacy. (Andy Stanley)
-They don't make condoms for your heart. (Lots of folks)
-You don’t have to shop at Victoria Secret and do poll dances to be a desired woman. (Ken Tankersly)
-I'm no sexpert, but... (Can't remember who I stole that from.)
-God loves sex, He's the inventor of sex. Do you think Adam & Eve we're just walking along and bumped into one another? (Mike Ashburn, maybe only Ash can pull that off.)

If you have any other ideas to add, please comment below, or email me here.

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Buy New Tunes, Send Kids To Camp

We just heard about a super creative way that Nashville Young Life is raising money for summer camp! A group of volunteer leaders are recording an EP and 50% of all the proceeds support Nashville Young Life. 

The EP includes five different artists, each contributing one original song to the record. All of the artists on the project have served as Young Life leaders: Ryan Scott Travis, Stephen Day, Emily Kozacek, Matt Wright, along with Andrew & Haley Conner. Learn more about these artists here.

The title of this project is “HOPE: Songs To Benefit Nashville Young Life”. A pre-order crowdfunding campaign is being hosted by Lost Harbor Music. LHM is a site dedicated to serving artists and supporting missions by making good music. This site was started by record producer, audio engineer and YL leader Zach Hughes.

Pre-order the album here and help send kids to camp!

Do you have a unique way you're raising summer camp $? If so, send us an email so we can share your ideas with leaders around the world.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

WyldLife Wednesday: Cabin Time After Club

Written by, Becca Covington, YL Staff, Fredricksburg, VA

Cabin time after WyldLife club gives middle school kids the opportunity to further digest and talk about what they’ve just heard. Middle schoolers may need more time to piece together the content of the lesson, ask questions, or realize how the talk relates to them. Cabin time at the end of a WyldLife club gives them a unique opportunity to meet these needs.

Here are some helpful tips for a cabin time after club:

Set aside a specific time for cabin time. 
As you plan the details of club, decide how much time you want for cabin time at the end – 10 minutes? 20 minutes? 30 minutes? Work backwards to plan the rest of club.

Split up into guys and girls. 
Immediately after the club talk, separate kids into guys and girls. For larger clubs, consider breaking up into smaller groups within each gender. Make sure there is at least one leader in every group.

Prepare cabin time questions for leaders. 
The leader who gives the club talk can print out questions for leaders. In addition, leaders should pay close attention to the club talk and make mental notes of additional questions they can ask.

Start off with a question everyone can answer. 
Whether it’s an icebreaker question or a recap of the talk, we want all kids to know they are on the same playing field. Ask a few kids to paraphrase the club talk or have everyone share one thing that stuck out to them.

Ask open-ended questions. 
Lead kids through the process of discovery by asking open-ended questions with the end in mind. Middle schoolers are more likely to absorb information and find meaning in material if they come up with it on their own. However, we want to make sure they come to the correct conclusions about who God is. Avoid yes or no questions by asking questions that require them to think for themselves.

Create space for questions. 
Middle schoolers want a safe place where they can voice questions or concerns they may have. Consider giving them a few minutes of cabin time to ask their own questions.

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Practicing Lent With Campaigners

Next Wednesday, Feb. 10th, is Ash Wednesday, the beginning of Lent. I didn't start practicing Lent until college when our Regional Director taught on the spiritual practice at a YL leadership meeting. With each year, this Lenten season grows more personally significant and is consistently a time of deeper intimacy with the Lord.

The term 'Lent' comes from the English word Lenten (lengthen), referring to the season of the lengthening of the days, the spring. Ash Wednesday, the first day in the Lenten season, traditionally has been a day of repentance. 

Ben Witherington writes "The remorse for sin is symbolized by the imposition of ashes (on the forehead), but in that imposition is the sign of hope, for the ashes are imposed in the sign of the cross—the means by which our sins were atoned for."

In our Campaigners group we have been preparing for the season Lent. Understanding a relationship with a God they can't see or touch often feels intangible to a high schooler. Yet, it seems the concept of Lent is something they can wrap their minds around, something they can actually do.

At Campaigners we discussed the concept of Lent through the metaphor of athletic training, one quite familiar to most the guys. In order for an athlete to excel, they must prepare. When you watch an Olympian break a record, you know they didn't just walk out there and get lucky. Their performance happened because of years of repetitive behavior.

Lent also involves preparation, prepping our hearts to grasp the power of the cross (Good Friday) and the hope of empty tomb (Easter). One way we can prepare is the same way athletes prepare, with repetitive behavior. We can set our mind to do almost anything for 40 days.

Suggestions I Gave To My Campaigners Group

A Nightly Time Of Written Confession 

Create a 'locked' document on your laptops or phones, or in a hidden journal. Three sections of specific confession each night, "Thoughts," "Words," and "Deeds." (based on the Book of Common Prayer general confession)

Give Up A Bad Habit 

Pick something hard, but doable. Some guys are giving up porn, alcohol, masturbation, sex, weed, etc... (things that should be given up anyways, but hopefully Lent will be a catalyst to developing some better life habits following these 40 days.)

Giving Up A Comfort 

Some guys are giving up things that aren't necessarily "bad," but things they consistently run to for pleasure instead of God. Ex: desserts, fast-food, soda, Netflix, iPhone games, video games, Twitter, hitting the snooze button, etc.. I also saw that someone was only wearing 1 pair of shoes for all of lent in order to remember how wealthy they are and how a majority of the world doesn't have 'shoe options.'

Taking On A New Habit Replacing An Old One 

Instead of playing iPhone games or reading Twitter before bed, reading a chapter of the Bible on the YouVersion app on their phone. Memorizing a verse of scripture each week. Calling people instead of texting them. Lent just a behavior modification program? 

Not at all, but it is still important to modify behavior because behavior often influences belief. By choosing to purposefully give up a comfort or habit of pleasure, we take our eyes off of ourselves, our needs and our wants. Before we can fix our eyes on Jesus, we must stop being so preoccupied with the idol of our own flesh.

" an intentional season...where we’re challenged to arrange our lives in such a way as to be daily frustrated. As people addicted to comfort and convenience, we’re often unaware of how we live to feel good about ourselves, to gain a bit of affirmation, to exert influence, to maximize our own pleasure, to satisfy our immediate needs. Lent invites us to intentionally frustrate ourselves, to engage in a season of deprivation, which actually makes us more aware of the depth of our dependence on any number of things – a substance, our reputation, control, achievement, being right, being comfortable, being secure....Lent is not about going off chocolate or caffeine or alcohol. It’s about frustrating what Thomas Merton calls our 'false self'....Lent strips us of everything that is not us. In that sense, Lent is not a chore. It is an opportunity for profound grace by a God who longs to love us at our core, not in our false projected self which desire influence and accolades, but in our truest, most humble and dependent self, once lost but now found in the wilderness of Lent." Read the full post from Dr. DeGroat's here.

Helpful resources for Lent.

Prayer: 40 Days of Practice by Justin McRoberts.
Justin wrote a series of discipleship posts in the fall. In his brand new book he has partnered with visual artist Scott Erickson to combine fresh language and imagery for the practice of prayer. They wrote and designed the book to be a resource for people who want to reimagine and strengthen their spiritual practice.

Ty Saltzgiver's "40 Days of Lent"
Many of you have read Ty's book, "My First 30 Quiet Times." "40 Days of Lent" is the same small size that fits in many Bibles, easy to read in the daily format, and a helpful tool to hand to your Campaigners group. You can get it here for only $1.99 in hard copy or as an e-book.

Henri Nouwen's "Show Me The Way"
Henri Nouwen is one of my favorite authors. You could really pick up any of his books to help prepare you for Easter during the Lenten season, but "Show Me The Way" is specifically designed for that purpose. If you haven't read Nouwen yet, be prepared to encounter Jesus in a fresh way.

Written by Drew Hill.

Monday, February 1, 2016

Young Life Super Bowl Club Ideas

Super Bowl 50 is coming up on Feb. 7th and some of you just might be having a super bowl themed club this week. Here are a few ideas you can kick around! 

The Young Life Bowl

Start an annual tradition before Super Bowl club 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. Have leaders wear ref shirts.


Matt Sloan, YL AD 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.

Mixer "Don't Fumble"

Give everyone a single brown balloon. 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
  • Superbowl Trivia   It would be awesome if someone could make a current Super Bowl Trivia Power Point game to share with the thousands of leaders who use The YL Leader Blog. If you make one and email us, you might find a sweet YL shirt in your mailbox.
  • Or this game, which is straight baller.
  • Bowling with real bowling pins using a football
  • Football Toss (through a hula hoop, blindfolded, opposite hand, while being tackled)

Video Promo

Young Life leader Jason Talley shared this video he made to show at their first club of the semester. He put pics from last semester to an NFL style promo video.

What other ideas would you add? Email me here and I'll add them in to the post. Thanks! -Drew Hill

Sunday, January 31, 2016

Inviting Feedback: A Campaigners Survey Idea

Last week we took a ski trip with our senior guys Campaigners group. While I was on the chair lift I started asking one of the guys about his experience with Young Life over these last 4 years. He gave me great feedback and insight from a student's perspective that I might never have heard if I hadn't asked. 

Here in the middle of the school year, it's important to step back and ask questions. Jonathan Bowman, a staff associate in Amelia County, VA, recently shared a Campaigners survey he did with his group. For a downloadable copy of his survey, click here. 

Below are some questions he asked his Campaigners group to answer. Tweak them as needed and make them your own. Invite your Campaigners group to give feedback and give them voice in shaping this last semester. -Drew Hill

Campaigners Survey Questions via Jonathan Bowman
  1. What is your favorite thing about Campaigners?
  2. My definition of a Christian is:
  3. Do you desire to hangout with a leader outside of campaigners? (Yes or no)
  4. How would you describe the atmosphere of campaigners?
  5. Is there anything we could do to make your involvement with Young Life more enjoyable?
  6. What would you like to do differently at Campaigners?
  7. What topics would you like to see covered in Campaigners?
  8. Where would you say you are on your spiritual journey?
  9. What role(s) would you be interested in helping with club? (ex: skits, leading songs, making people feel welcome, leading games)
  10. In one sentence: Jesus to me is:_______

Thursday, January 28, 2016

YL Capernaum: Helping Capernaum Friends Lead In Club

Written by Andy Davenport. 

Training your Capernaum friends to lead in their ministry is crucial. We should view them as the leaders who will one day replace us. Here are a few thoughts and ideas on why and how you can begin to make this an essential part of your ministry.

Nuggets to help your friends succeed up front

  • Start by treating club planning like you would a typical club
  • Focus on your friends natural talents
  • Help them discover their gifts by helping them get outside their box
  • Let them have a hand in picking the songs, character names, dance moves
  • Costuming is key
  • Teach them to celebrate everyone
  • Make their disability a strength
  • Come prepared - Many can’t improvise well
  • Walk through EVERY step with them
  • Teach them how to get the crowd involved
  • Repetition. Repetition. Repetition.
  • Explain the WHY
Ways to bring your friends up front at club
  • Leading singing
  • Assist with club talk
  • Giving club talk
  • Running games/mixers
  • Giving announcements with you
  • Hand out prizes
  • Raffle person
  • Lead shoutouts
  • Lead 30 second dance party
  • Melodrama
  • Scores of the Week
  • Banana for the “Banana Song”
Top 10 excuses you make to keep from putting your friends up front?
  1. “I’m not creative”
  2. “My friends aren’t funny”
  3. “I’m not funny”
  4. “We only have 5 kids at our club”
  5. “But I’m not Sean Mann”
  6. “No one can understand what they are saying”
  7. “Everyone else will want to be up front”
  8. “We don’t play games at our club”
  9. “It will take so much longer”
  10. “I don’t know how to put them up front”
Character Ideas
  • Dancing Janitors: Fresh and Clean
  • Toni and Tonii: Coming at you unplugged, uneducated and totally unrehearsed. Oooooh, baby baby!
  • Coaches: Bring it in. 1,2,3 Whammy!
  • Roller Coaster Operators: They lead the crowd in acting out a roller coaster ride
  • Extreme Walkers (Rollers): (Video) Make video during the week doing “extreme” walking moves
  • (skateboard moves without the skateboard). Give funny names to tricks. “Stick It or Miss It”
  • Misdirection (in lieu of One Direction): Let’s be honest, this is just another chance to dance
  • Game Show Hosts: From Timbuktu to Kalamazoo, we play the games that make you go WOOOOO, so if your games get boo-ed, you’re gonna call who?
  • Magician: Knock down the wall, poke your head thru the ring, cracker disappear
  • P90Owen: Basically, dance along with Owen until you pass out
  • Referizzles: Referizzles from Capernaum-izzle and our games are off the hizzle!
  • Host “Sink or Float”: (Video) Dropping things in a pool and the crowd guesses if it will sink or float
  • Good Morning Young Life: (Video) Wake up kids dressed in costumes and ask them funny questions

This post first appeared on YL Capernaum Everywhere.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

WyldLife Wednesday: What's Happening in Their Brains

Written by Steph Raubenheimer, Greater New York WyldLife

Have you ever been listening to Spotify or Pandora when that song you listened to on repeat in seventh grade comes on, and you find yourself singing along to not only every single word, but harmonizing with every background vocal, knowing exactly when the key is going to change? Of course you do. It’s as if these songs are imprinted on our brains. You might also have a memory attached to when and where you listened to this song, your surroundings, even smells and emotions. It’s part of how the brain works. And let’s not forget: God created the human brain.

These memories stick with us because they are meaningful and had connections to our memory that made sense. Cognitive neuroscience tells us that in early adolescence, the human brain is undergoing a process in which the brain sheds what it doesn’t need – what isn’t useful or meaningful - and solidifies what does make sense and is meaningful. The implications of this for our ministry to middle school kids is intriguing: You get to literally craft --- through prayer, through your insight, out of your heart and creativity --- an experience with WyldLife that will make sense and be meaningful to kids, such that they decide “Yes, of course I want a relationship with Jesus.”

The kids you are reaching out to are in a developmental stage where they will filter a ton. And you know what? They might keep the crap. Some pain or even thinking about compromising choices might stick because it makes sense to them and it’s significant. Thank goodness you are here: You get to help truth stick. You get to bring meaning.

Isn’t it amazing that God designed us to go through such an internal process, and that He’d allow mankind to discover this about humans? To me it seems loud and clear from God: Go after my young teenagers. I want them to keep real meaning.

So, what can you do with this information?
Scroll down for an excerpt about this study of the adolescent brain

Probably a whole lot – but here are two quick “inventory” questions to ask yourself or your team:

  • Reflect on your WyldLife ministry environment: Is what you and your team doing providing meaningful experiences, and does what you’re doing/providing kids make sense? If not: How can you tweak those areas?
  • What do you personally want to stick with kids that they experience, hear or learn from you? How can you help spiritual truths be embedded into your WyldLife friends’ heads and hearts?

An excerpt on cognitive development from How the Brain Learns:

"The richer the environment, the greater the number of interconnections that are made…As a child approaches puberty, the pace slackens and two other processes begin: Connections that the brain finds useful become permanent; those not useful are eliminated (apoptosis) as the brain selectively strengthens and prunes connections based on experience. This process continues throughout our lives, but it appears to be most intense between the ages of three and twelve. Thus, at an early age, experiences are already shaping the brain and designing the unique neural architecture that will influence how it handles future experiences in school, work and other places."
(p. 24, How the Brain Learns, David Sousa)

Sunday, January 24, 2016

The Best Training Resource For Young Life Leaders

I absolutely love this video from Steve Chesney.


  Does it Matter? - Steve Chesney from YL Access on Vimeo.

I first saw it a few months back when I was browsing Young Life Access. If you're not yet familiar with this incredible resource, you're about to be blown away. - Drew Hill

What is Young Life Access?
Written by Brian Summerall
Director of Young Life Ministry Strategy

Would you like more training on how to give a YL talk from some of best speakers in the mission?

Would you like some pointers on leading Campaigners from leaders who've been doing it well for a long time?

Young Life Access ( ensures that you as Young Life leaders have access to the best training on the devices you carry every day… smart phones, tablets, and laptops. It's 24/7 access to online interactive training posts covering Contact Work, Club, Campaigners, Camp, Wyldlife, Young LIves, Capernaum, and more.

On the site you can find interactive training posts that include readings, scripture, questions, and short videos like Steve Chesney's above. 

In order to log in to the site, leaders need to contact their staff person. Staff need to simply go to to learn how to access their area account and add their volunteers.

Here's a helpful 3 minute video that will show you the basics of Young Life Access and all it has to offer.

Young LIfe Leader Blog Promo from YL Access on Vimeo.

Learn more about Young Life Access here.

Saturday, January 23, 2016

You Can Experience Young Life In Another Culture: YL Expeditions

In all my years leading Young Life, one of the highlights has been the YL Expedition spring break trips I took during college. Hunter Lambeth and Bart Scarborough took a handful of us leaders from UNC-Chapel Hill and East Carolina University to volunteer at Pico Escondido Young Life camp in the Dominican Republic. Do whatever you can to get on one of these YLX trips! -Drew Hill 

What Is Young Life Expeditions?
by Colton Parks, Regional Coordinator for YL Expeditions Latin America. 

Welcome to the Global Era, where we are no longer confined by the borders we’ve always known. We are living in a time where the Kingdom of God is visible advancing across borders, cultures, and continents. Young Life Expeditions is an answer to the gospel call in Mark to “go out into the world”. Expeditions acts as a vessel to send out high school kids, college kids, and adults who have said “yes” to serve and partner with Young Life ministries in over a hundred countries worldwide.

This new global perspective on ministry is having a resounding impact in areas and cities across the map. The relationships formed during these short term service trips are designed to be ongoing; connecting areas and Young Life leaders that are thousands of miles apart. It is an outreach tool, an opportunity for discipleship, and a chance to explore a new frontier. Whether it's a campaigners group, a Young Life College area, a donor trip, or a volunteer leader spring break trip, these trips are changing lives, shifting perspectives, and leaving a lasting impact on both those who go and those who host in international countries.

Young Life Expeditions allows people of all ages, languages, backgrounds, cultures, and histories to say “yes” to serve, partner, and proclaim the gospel united as one in countries across the world!


In August of 2015, I led an expedition to a country in South America and one of the trip participants brought one of his YL club kids along with us. We were a group of 8, all of us over the age of 25 except for Alex*, the 16-year old high school kid.

Alex had just had a tough year. He almost failed out of school, had been branded by his whole grade as a screw-up, was told he would never be able to play contact sports again due to concussions, was in the throes of addictive substance abuse, and to top it all off, was charged with a DUI two months before the trip. Alex was at the end of his rope, and the thought of traveling to South America with 7 older guys who “had it together” was no doubt daunting.

We served for 5 days at Young Life club sites in the city, meeting staff and high school kids, and working to improve the places they do ministry, before taking a bus to remote mountains for a climb. This week turned Alex’ life on his head. “I have never felt more OK with myself than when I’m with you all.” As Alex started to re-think home life, he was able to spend an entire week with his Young Life leader with no cell service and no escape from the conversations that eventually came. Alex and his YL leader hashed through the year of challenges and setbacks, and talked about the peace and fulfillment that only Jesus brings. Alex came up a new person. He had a new perspective on serving others, on looking beyond himself, and accepting Jesus as the only true answer.

There are many, many stories like this in Expeditions- stories of kids seeing the Kingdom of God clearly in environments where need, poverty, and brokenness is rampant. Expeditions levels the playing field – it puts all of us in a vantage point where Jesus becomes evident as the only redeemer, answer, and savior.

If you're interested in putting together your own expedition or joining an already existing expedition, go to