Monday, January 22, 2018

Tons of Super Bowl Club Ideas

Super Bowl 52 is coming up on Feb. 4th and a third of all Americans plan to watch it. You might be having a Super Bowl themed club during the week or even hosting a party on Sunday night. Below are tons of ideas to kick around.

Super Bowl Trivia

I created these trivia game slides for you to use at club, but you don't have to know 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. You can download it in Keynote or PowerPoint on these links:   
Keynote
PowerPoint

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 can also use it if you have club the week before the Super Bowl. Go ahead and get folks to fill it out at club and then award a prize the week after the game. Download the PDF here

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 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.

Costumes

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 $17.95. You'll get your money's worth out of that thing!

Decorate

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. Pick someone wearing an Eagles jersey and another person wearing a Patriots jersey.

Mixer "Don't Fumble"

Give everyone a single brown balloon. You can order 100 brown balloons for $14.99 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.

Games

  • 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)

Extras

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Club Plans for 2018 with Key Dates

If you're working on planning your spring semester, check out this spreadsheet that Ryan Weston put together for his area a couple years ago. It has tons of great ideas for YL, WL, and YLC to steal.

If you email us your spring club plans we'll add them to the post. Creativity is just forgetting where you stole it from!

You can also find tons of spring specific club plans on this post from last year (exact dates have changed), including ideas for YL WingFest, SuperBowl Club, Love Club, St. Patty's Club, March Madness Club, YL's Got Talent, Spring Break Club, Tacky Prom Club, Cinco De Mayo Club, 8th Grade Club, Senior Night, and more.

Find more theme club ideas here.

Have a new fun theme idea? Email us here!

Key Dates for Spring 2018
  • Make sure to look at your school calendar for dates when there's no school.
  • Know when the big school events are (TWIRP, Spring Break, Prom, Graduation, etc...) and avoid scheduling your cross talk on the night of the big game or chorus concert.
  • Know when there is a half/day or early release.
  • When is your high school spring break? If you have college leaders, when's your college spring break?

Feb. 4- Super Bowl (Sunday)
Feb. 9- Winter Olympics opening ceremony
Feb. 14- Valentine's Day and Ash Wednesday
Feb. 19- President's Day (Monday)
March 11Daylight Savings Time springs forward on this Sunday, so after that, you'll have more daylight for club!
March 11- March Madness Selection Sunday
March 17- St. Patrick's Day (Saturday)
March 22-25- Sweet 16/Elite 8 NCAA basketball games
March 30- Good Friday
March 31(Saturday) and April 1(Monday) - Final Four and National Championship
April 1- Easter Sunday
May 5- Cinco De Mayo (Saturday)
May 28- Memorial Day (Monday)

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Raising the Stakes: Holding a Semester Long Competition at Club

Teenagers love competition. Competition already drives many of our mixers and games. What if we took it up a notch and created a semester-long contest? It could help build momentum in the spring.

Here's how it could work:

Create two teams: Use your school colors!

Team 1: Last names A-J
Team 2: Last names K-Z

(I know it would make sense to divide the alphabet at M/N, but statistically in the US, a more even divide occurs between J/K.)

Dividing by last names works as a natural mixer because it's puts people on teams, not divided by grade or gender, but truly randomly.

On the first Club night this semester, explain the following to everyone that there's going to be a semester long competition. Explain the following guidelines, you could even copy and paste them into a slide and put them on the screen.

Guidelines

  • All Club games/mixers/contests this semester will award points to the winning team.
  • At the end of every month (4 Clubs), the team with the most points will win free dinner at club (Pizza, dessert, drinks, candy, etc...). The losing team will just have to watch the winning team enjoy the food!
  • There will be an awards dinner at the end of Feb, and another at the end of March.
  • At the end of April, the end of the Club semester- whichever team has the most total points will win sweet YL Intramural Champion t-shirts!
  • You get 200 points for your team just by showing up at Club.
  • You get 500 points for your team when you bring a friend with you to Club for their first-time.
  • Your gets 2000 points when you win a Club competition, like a game or mixer.

Points
There are tons of other ways you can give out points. Similar to camp, you could throw out frisbees and give 10pts for each one that is retrieved. You could also do a handshake contest and have each team create their own handshake. Judges decide who gets the points.

Colors
Encourage teams to wear their team colors when they come to club. It's also fun to pass out red and blue bandanas on the first night when you're explaining the competition. Order enough red and blue bandanas for each person to have one. I ordered these on Amazon and they're great and only $1/bandana.

Scorekeepers
It's essential to have 2 unbiased folks who are not on a team, but are simply designated scorekeepers. They keep track of who is there and who wins the game. You probably have some folks in your club who would much rather be the statistician than participating in games. This is a good opportunity to give them ownership and a chance to serve. (Here are 10 more ways to give kids ownership at club.)

Food
If you call Papa Johns or most any pizza chain, they will give you large, 1-topping pizzas for $6-7. Ask them to cut the pizza into 10 slices instead of the typical 8, this just makes it go a little father. Estimate 2.5 slices/person or 5 people/pizza. If you have 40 people, you need 8 larges. 8 x $6 = $48. Plus tax and drinks= $65. Ask some parents to send desserts and also give them a chance to help chip in some money. Raising $65 to feed 40 people once a month is very doable!

Designs
If anyone likes to make design and can come up with a sweet YL Intramural Champs shirt design, send it our way and we'll share it on the blog!

If anyone gives this a shot, let us know how it goes! We did it last semester and it was really fun!

Monday, January 15, 2018

Starting The New Semester With A Bang!

Below is a great idea for starting off the new semester. It was shared by Lauren Bowen, volunteer leader in Rockingham County, VA.

Last year my YL team and I wanted kids to return to a warm welcome after us being apart over the holidays. The first club after Christmas break can be a challenge--making sure that we don't just put on an event, but that we reconnect with kids and continue to build relationships with them.

Our idea? 

"Ringin' in the New Year (a little late) 
with Young Life Club!"

We did it last January and kids LOVED it and definitely responded. We spent the first 30 minutes of club just hanging out to meet new kids and reconnect with the ones we already knew.


Club elements we included to ring in the new year:


  • A photo booth for the kids to take pictures. We encouraged kids to dress "Classy and Flashy!"
  • We asked Campaigner kids and their parents to bring an appetizer to share (It is essential to bring Campaigners in on this so they share responsibility and ownership of Young Life in their school)
  • We started club with the Times Square Ball Drop! We counted down together and went crazy with noise makers! So fun!
  • Instead of the usual songs, we did a "Best of 2014" mashup!
  • Since we opened the evening with a 30-minute hang out, we didn’t do a skit or run-on. We created a mixer instead! We split the kids into their grades. We gave them about 5 minutes to write a toast to represent the past year. Then one person from each grade presented the toast. It was fun, and a good laugh!
  • Lastly, my teammate, Terry, shared with the kids what Young Life was all about, why we wanted to get to know them, and that we welcome them to come hang out with us or talk about life anytime!

We rang in the new year with our first club centered on relationships, unity within the school, and Jesus. We can all toast to that. We hope this is idea is helpful and encouraging as you start club this semester. 

Happy 2018!

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Camp Musician of the Month: Jordy Searcy

Our featured Camp Musician this month is Jordy Searcy! You may recognize him from his performance on NBC's  "The Voice." 

Jordy's first encounter with Young Life was playing at a Monday night club in Austin, TX. He was blown away by how easy it was to communicate the gospel in that setting. 


"Last Monday my friend Jordy Searcy came to play music for us at club and absolutely BLEW US AWAY. He's from Nashville and in the middle of a tour around the US right now and he took the time to stop by and play for us at club. It was the bomb. Monday was his first ever experience with YL and he loved it so much that he wants to be more involved with the Young Life mission as a musician. If there's ever a need for a musician at a future Polar Bear, Wyldabeast, or YL event, he should definitely be on your list of people to contact. " -Soup Martinez (YL Austin Leader)


Jordy feel that Young Life events are some of the most important gigs he has the opportunity to play! Before Young Life, he never felt like music had a place in ministry-now he feels most fulfilled as a musician when he's sharing God's love and truth at settings like Young Life camps, clubs, weekends, and fundraisers.


Jordy’s music is available here.


Visit Jordy's website.


Follow Jordy on Instagram: @jordysearcymusic.


Email Jordy to play at your Young Life camp or banquet.





What other Area Directors are saying about Jordy:

"When you experience Jordy Searcy on stage in front of your students, the only thing more overwhelming than his talent is the way he connects with students on a heart level. Not only did Jordy put on an amazing fundraiser concert for us, he spent time after the show talking with students and parents. It was the most rewarding encounter I have ever had bringing in a guest musician." -Adam Sloan, YoungLife Greater Texarkana


"Jordy Searcy came up and played for an all-area club on a Monday night and played at our banquet the following night. Leading up to the all-area, we kept showing his performance on "The Voice" to sell the kids. Boy did it work! The kids were psyched and he was fabulous. He has tremendous skills musically and has a great, engaging personality. We slapped him in the cupid skit where he played the nerd. Very funny. It was the first thing we did, so the kids didn't know the nerd was Jordy. The kids absolutely loved him. He communicated well with them and seamlessly wove a bit of his testimony into his music. It was great. I can't wait to get back up here again and will try to get him some other gigs around town and at the local colleges. Super nice guy, as was his percussionist - Scooter! He is well worth your consideration for any kind of YL event! Call him!" -Allen Miller, Central Virginia 


You can see other Young Life camp musicians here.

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

How to Balance Being a College Student & a Young Life Leader

One of my biggest pet peeves in college was people saying,"You have the most free time now you're ever going to have in your life."

I didn't like the comment because I sure felt like I had ZERO free time. Balancing leading Young Life and being a college student isn't easy. 

Below are 5 thoughts on how to make it work.

Scheduling Classes

It doesn't always work out perfectly, but as you lay out your class schedule, also think through your Young Life schedule: club, leadership, Campaigners, contact work, etc...
  • If the best time for you to do contact work at the high school is after school, if possible, don't schedule a class everyday at 3pm.
  • If your area leadership meets every other Tuesday night, try not to take a Tuesday night class.
  • If your club is Monday night, try not to schedule an 8am class on Tuesdays or a late afternoon class on Mondays.

Saying No To Good Things

When I arrived on campus as a freshman, I was thrilled to discover a ton of other Christian college students. In high school, I felt pretty alone as a follower of Christ, so when I walked into a Cru meeting with 500 students, I was blown away. After the "club fair" I had signed up for FCA (Fellowship of Christian Athletes), IV (InterVarsity), Cru and YL. My weekly calendar was full.

After going through Young Life training I felt the Lord's call to be a leader. I was placed at a high school that was a 30-minute drive from my dorm room. All of a sudden I was adding a lot of driving time, contact work time, club time, and Campaigners time to an already packed schedule. For a season, I tried to balance school, YL, and staying active in every other Christian ministry on campus. While it might have looked impressive on the outside, I was dying on the inside. I was stressed out, burnt out, and felt like a hamster on a wheel that wouldn't stop.

Eventually, I had to make some hard decisions and let go of some meaningful relationships. It was painful at first, but I slowly learned that in order to say "yes" to great things, I had to say "no" to some good ones. 
Jesus was never in a hurry.

Be a leader on your OWN Campus


We now have Young Life College on tons of campuses! For some college students with demanding schedules, being a YLC leader makes a lot of sense. It reduces travel time to middle and high schools and allows you to focus on relationships that you naturally have on your own college campus.

Learning to Prioritize

What is more important?
  • Sleeping
  • Planning your club talk
  • Studying
  • Exercising
  • Make a goodwill run for funny skit clothes
  • Spending time with Jesus
  • Being with friends
  • Calling your mama
  • Getting kids signed up for camp
  • Eating
  • Instagramming about club

Make a priority list. Ask the Lord what is most important. Invite the wise counsel of your Area Director, pastor, or mentors. When you put the big rocks in the jar first, the other rocks seem to fit much better.

Honoring God as a Student

It's tempting to use Young Life as an excuse to not honor God with your studies. I loved being a YL leader so much I wanted to drop out of college so I could just do YL full-time. Thankfully my Area Director discouraged that and reminded me of Colossians 3:23.

"Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as if you were working for the Lord and not for human masters."

He reminded me that skipping class probably wasn't the best way to reflect Jesus to my teachers and classmates. If God has called you to be a student, honor Him with your studies. Even though Bio labs aren't quite as fun as eating applesauce through pantyhose, the Lord can use them to shape us into the men and women He's making us to be.


What has helped you balance being a college student and a YL leader? Email us here and we'll add your thoughts in to the post.

Monday, January 8, 2018

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, email us here and we'll add them to the post.

Sunday, January 7, 2018

Compass: A Life Changing Summer Discipleship Experience for High Schoolers

Do you know a high school student who is ready to go deeper in their faith and looking for an out-of-the-box experience this summer? One of my Young Life guy's recently spent a summer doing a program called Compass and it radically changed his life. The director of the program sent me this description below.

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Compass is a month-long adventure that trains students to live their calling as a disciple of Christ. Compass students spend two weeks backpacking through the Adirondack mountains of Upstate New York and studying theology with professors at Gordon College. They then take the lessons they’ve learned to serve children and families abroad with the Salvation Army in Reykjavik, Iceland.

Compass is a unique, once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for a high school upperclassmen who you know is ready to be challenged. In the program, students will be pushed to step outside their comfort zone, whether that’s carrying a 50-lb. backpack up a mountain, wrestling with apologetics, or preparing a summer camp while fighting jetlag. Through adventure, intense discipleship and cross-cultural service, Compass equips students to return to their local areas and schools with a fresh vision of the Gospel and their own role in God’s kingdom.


Most students participate in Compass following their junior year, but sophomore and senior applicants are also considered. 

Compass participants are nominated by pastors, Young Life club leaders, and teachers. In order to apply, students must also seek a mentor who will commit to mentoring them for three years following the completion of the summer program. 

The early-bird application deadline is January 31, 2018. Now is the time to begin talking to students you think may be interested.

Compass partners with Young Life leaders across the country to identify, mentor and equip students to be servant-leaders with a personal and deep faith in Christ. Since 2001, Compass has hosted over 470 students from 3 countries and 30 states. Many of these alumni are now pastors, teachers, administrators, missionaries and Young Life staff.

Learn more about Compass on their website and recommend a student for the program with their online form. 

The 2018 Compass Program takes place June 27 through July 26. Compass students fundraise to support their trip; those who apply by January 31, 2018, are asked to raise $3,700 along with a $500 donation from their sending church.

Compass is hosted by Gordon College and is one of several programs in their Theology Matters Initiative for high school students.

Friday, January 5, 2018

Godspeed: The Pace of Being Known

Over the past few months, I've watched the short film, "Godspeed," three different times. Each time, I've found myself unexplainably crying. 

There's a deep longing in me to live life at Godspeed, to ruthlessly eliminate hurry. 

Perhaps, over this weekend, before the fury of a new Young Life semester begins, you might find 35 minutes to sit back and ponder what God would have to speak to you. Maybe you could even gather with your Young Life team to watch the film together. 

It's almost as if it was made for Young Life leaders.

Watch Godspeed

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

A Spotify Playlist Companion for the Blue Book

For the many of you who use Jim Branch's Blue Book as a daily devotional, my guess is that a lot of you also use Spotify (along with 140 million other people). If so, you're in luck! 

Eddie Long (Young Life staff in Newberry, SC) has created a Blue Book Spotify Playlist with specific songs that accompany the different readings. 

There are more than 350 songs, almost one for each day of the year! 

Eddie writes, "I basically tried to find the song Jim suggested to start a week off and then added songs that came to my mind from the scripture readings or from the prayers or from the readings for reflection. At times it was hard to find decent versions of the songs Jim suggested on Spotify but for the most part, I found them...every now and then I couldn't find the song that he was suggesting, so I found one with the same title that still worked for the week. Above is a pic that explains how the playlist works if somebody would want to pick up in the middle of their reading." 

Thanks for sharing Eddie!