Wednesday, November 25, 2015

WyldLife Wednesday: Christmas Tree Scavenger Hunt

Looking for a fun Christmas club with your WyldLife friends? The Human Christmas Tree Scavenger Hunt gives kids and leaders an opportunity to laugh and play – and also allows parents to get involved.

The Big Picture
Teams visit houses in the neighborhood looking for items to “hang” on their human Christmas tree – one of their team members. They’re not asking for actual ornaments – just something red or something with lights or something reindeer-y that will not be returned to its owner. (Feel free to use/adapt this list for your own scavenger hunt.) These items are taped all over the human Christmas tree. All teams meet back at club for a Christmas tree presentation, judging, awards and a club talk.

The Details
Kids, leaders and parent drivers meet at your club location. Explain the scavenger hunt rules and then divide kids into teams with one parent driver or leader per team. Tell them that this scavenger hunt isn’t a race – it’s more about creativity. Give each team the ending time and a point list, and send them on their way.

If your club location is in a neighborhood, you may not even need drivers - teams can walk to nearby houses instead. But you might consider assigning streets so three teams don’t hit up the same houses over and over again.

Whether you’re driving or walking, you can also assign one house for each team to do all of their “ornament shopping”. Talk to parents/homeowners the week before so they are ready for a team of middle school kids to invade their house.

At the end of the scavenger hunt, gather kids back at your club location. Let each team present their “tree” to the judges – your parent drivers or other parents you’ve invited. One of your leaders can give a short Christmas club talk followed by an announcement of the winners. You can give awards for the highest point total, but also for the most creative, tiniest or funniest “ornaments."

Consider ending the night with a hot chocolate bar: parent baristas serving hot chocolate with toppings like whipped cream, candy canes, sprinkles, chocolate chips and more.
If you’ve got other ideas for a WyldLife Christmas club, let us know!

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

A Discipleship Series By Justin McRoberts: The World Is Not Ours To Save

On Tuesdays this semester we've been running a series of posts on discipleship by Justin McRoberts. If you've missed the first 7 posts, click the links below to catch up. Today is the last one in this series. Special thanks to Justin for sharing such great insights with us throughout the fall!

Mission, part 3

A few years ago, my friend Tyler wrote a book called “The World Is Not Ours To Save: Finding the Freedom to Do Good.” I love the book’s content and think it’s definitely worth a read. But right now, it’s enough to pause and let that title sink in. It’s a doozy. And it might save your life. At least, it did mine.

Throughout my twenties and thirties, I felt a bit overwhelmed with the burden of changing the world. After all, I was told that I am a “world changer!” I kept hearing that my generation would be the generation to ...

  • end extreme poverty
  • end slavery
  • provide clean water for the billion people who lack it
  • clean up Washington, DC and change the political landscape
  • maybe even see an Oakland Athletics World Championship.. and on and on.
Truth is, I was initially energized by those beautiful dreams. Chasing them meant learning that these things mattered deeply. But over time, the weight of some of the work to make it all right took a toll.

I was visiting India with some friends from Compassion International who work to rescue children from poverty in the name of Jesus. We were there for ten days and I saw a lot of poverty. We’d visit churches and see hundreds of happy, healthy kids who, because of Compassion’s work, now have access to clean water, good food, medicine and education. And on the drive home, we’d see thousands of people who still lacked those same things. On the last bus-ride to our hotel, I kinda lost it and couldn’t stop crying. How was all this going to get fixed?

I talked for a while with friends with Compassion who have seen and felt far more than I have of the world’s poverty. I asked how they kept it together. And, aside from telling the that they don’t always, they shared that they had to take care of the pieces right in front of them. Sure, there was more to make right, but that was all they could responsibly do. I was carrying Tyler’s book with me and just stared at the title for a while: “The World Is Not Ours To Save.

Then I wrote something down I would like to pass along to you: God gives us glimpses into the enormity of His work, not to increase our capacity to do larger work or to do more work, but to make the work before us more vital and more optional. We are compelled to do the work we can do because we cannot do all we want.

Diving into the Mission of Jesus means diving headlong into a world chock-full of broken pieces. Too many for you to pick up. But the world is not yours to save. It is God’s. And he has promised to do it. You and I get to be part of it, but we’ll never be responsible for all of it; only for the pieces right in front of us. So, do your part and do it with joy and skill, knowing that God has promised to do His.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Mr. Christmas Tree Pageant...and other Christmas Club Ideas

Below are tons of ideas to help make your Christmas Club a merry ol time. If you have other ideas to share, email us here and we'll add them to the post. 

Christmas Club Sample Schedule

We usually start club at 7:37, but for this particular event we start earlier to allow more time for the pageant. 

6:50-7:20- Pics with Santa/ Awkward Christmas Cards
7:22- Tonight, Yes, Tonight- Buddy the elf (host)
7:23- Christmas Medley (band)
7:26- 12 days of Christmas (mixer & song)
7:30- Mr. Christmas Tree Training Video
7:35- Mr. Tree group dance
7:40- Buddy the elf spaghetti game
7:44- Judges Panel introduced
7:45- Talent Competition
7:59- JibJab Elf head video
8:02- Announcements
8:04- Parade of Trees (Runway Script)
8:12- Contestant Interviews
8:16- Text Message Voting 
8:19- Joy To The World
8:23- What Child Is This?
8:26- Intro Drew
8:28- Drew's Talk
8:43- Crown Mr. Christmas Tree
8:48-exit music

Mr. Christmas Tree Pageant 

Brian Summerall started doing 'Mr. Christmas Tree' at Pearce High School in Texas many years ago. You can read more about his vision for the pageant on his website. Since then, the idea has spread all over the country.  Many YL clubs have each grade nominate one guy to represent their class in the pageant.

When we started doing it 6 years ago, we decided to make it a senior guys competition. It's created momentum and gave the underclassmen something to look forward to when they became seniors. This year's senior guys will compete, many remembering their first ever MCTP they watched when they were freshmen. The last few years we've had around 15-20 senior guys compete. Each of them brings friends to club to 'vote' for them, so it typically is our highest attended club of the year.  Because of the energy surrounding the event, we also make it the first night folks can sign up for Crooked Creek, our summer camp trip.

*We also do a similar event, 'The Ms. Valentines Pageant' for the senior ladies in February.

Talent Competition

A fun way to get teachers, coaches, YL committee, and former YL leaders involved is to ask them to serve on the Judges Panel. 

If you select one guy from each grade, or use 4-8 total guys, each guy could have time to perform an individual talent like dancing, singing, silly tricks, etc... In that case the judges panel could use this sheet from Brian Summerall to help keep score.

If you have more than 8 guys, I'd recommend putting the guys into 'talent groups.' Last year we had 4 groups of 4 guys.

You can decide if the panel determines the winner, or if you vote by applause, text message, or by the audience each circling a name on a ballot you pass out towards the end of the competition.

12 Days of Christmas Skit

Here's a funny skit idea for 2 of the contestants to do together while the rest of the contestants sing the 12 Days of Christmas. It feels a little long so I might just do it once starting on the 12th day. 


Parade of Trees

Summerall duct tapes actual trees to guys, which is hilarious. We encourage guys to dress as tree, open to their own interpretation. Some use actual tree branches taped to their body, some wear ornaments, tinsel, star hats, popcorn strings, some dress in green and brown, but every one of them is covered in strands of Christmas lights. After they walk down the runway onto the stage, we have a couple of power strips where they each can plug in their lights. (Some use battery packs)

During their runway walk we have an announcer reading a funny 'runway script.' Each guy submits personal stats they would put on a resume and we work together on making it funny. Here's the script we used from a previous year. In the past I have asked the PA announcer at our high school football games to come in and read the script in his awesome football announcer voice.


We typically have someone dress up as 'Buddy The Elf' and host the entire evening as sort of a Ryan Seacrest/Will Ferrell combo character. It helps the flow of the evening if one person is directing stage traffic.


If possible, get last year's Mr. Christmas Tree to return home for this club to crown the new winner. Create an elaborate 'sash and star crown' for the presentation. We're doing this after the talk in order to give time to tally the votes during the talk, and it's a fun way to conclude the evening.


If you have a handful of contestants, each guy should make their own 'entry video' or 'training video.' They could be practicing singing, doing pushups, running bleachers, visiting a Christmas tree lot, painting themselves green, duct taping branches on their bodies, drinking lots of egg nog, etc...
If you're using a lot of contestants, make one training video together. Here's the video we made a previous year:

Here are some examples of videos from other clubs:


Ask friends for BIG inflatables and borrow Christmas lights. Click here for more details.

  • Rudolph, Feliz Navidad, and Jingle Bells are good fast ones.
  • 'What Child is this?' and 'Silent Night' are good slow ones.
  • Mariah Carey's "All I want for Christmas is you" is good background music for fillers and games.
  • "Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays" by N'Sync is a must.


12 Days Of Christmas Song & Mixer  
As a mixer, use the song "12 days of Christmas" and divide your club into 6 groups. Group 1 will have "the 1st day of Christmas and the 7th day of Christmas, Group 2 will have day 2 and day 8, etc... Personalize the song to fit your club. Ex: If you took kids to Crooked Creek and the program team used Skippy the fish, then you could change the lyrics to: "On the first day of Christmas my true love gave to me, Skippy in a Crooked Creek." Get creative.

If you need a large group game you can play "Encore" or "Sing-off" and have each class compete (team of freshmen, team of sophs, etc...) to sing Christmas carols. If they repeat one that has already been sung, they are out. This works pretty well if you have team captains for each group.

Little Nemo Elf
The traditional "Little Nemo" skit works great with Elves. It's explained here.  

Buddy The Elf Spaghetti Contest
Start it off by showing the clip from the movie Elf whereWill Ferrell eats spaghetti with maple syrup, marshmallows, m&ms, & skittles. Then have a character come on stage dressed as an Elf. You can buy an "elf shirt" lots of places like Walmart/Target or online at Elf Shirt Purchase. Have "Buddy the Elf" come out with all the ingredients mentioned above. You also need a tarp, towels for the kids to clean up with afterwards, theme music to play in the background, and bowls. Have the kids race to eat with their hands. Give out decent sized portions where a kid can actually eat it all in a minute. If you put too much in there, it will take too long and be a dud.

Create a JibJab video of your YL leaders heads on the bodies of elves. You have to pay to download it, or you can just show it if you have internet where you have club.

Pics With Santa
Invite a committee member or parent to dress up as Santa and have kids get their pics taken with him. Invite another adult to take the pics in order to free up leaders to be with kids. Lighting is key for good photos. Chances are you have a parent or friend of YL in the community who loves photography, has a sweet camera, and would love to do it for free.

Candy Canes 
Pass them out before club. They're cheap and festive.

Ugly Sweaters
Encourage kids to dress up in their ugliest Christmas sweaters. Odds are, their moms probably have some sweet ones in the attic. If not, a Goodwill trip is always great contact work.

Here are a few ideas thanks to Sean McGever and

Merry Christmas! -Drew Hill & The YLLB team

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Running on Empty: Frustrated Desires

This is the 5th week in our Sunday series, "Running on Empty," by Fil Anderson. If you missed the first four, catch up here:
  1. The Condition of Your Soul
  2. Hearing the Voice of God
  3. The Fear of Insignificance
  4. What's True About God & You
Part 5: Frustrated Desires

Week after week, people come to me with unfulfilled desires and a question: “Why does following Jesus have no effect on my life? What am I doing wrong?”

An enthusiastic, yet overextended Young Life volunteer asks, “How can I escape always being busy and feeling spiritually numb?” A student asks, “How can I trust that God is with me when I feel so lonely and afraid?” A physically exhausted and spiritually demoralized Area Director anxiously sits in my office and asks, “What do I have to do to know that God loves me as I am?”

The volunteer leader, the student, and the Area Director have something in common. In the midst of harried, hurried, and hurting lives they desperately long to experience the love of God. Desire for God’s presence to be more recognizable gnaws at their aching, hungry souls.

I understand their desperate and anxious longing. After nearly fifty years of trying to follow Jesus, I am nowhere near becoming the person I once thought I’d be by now. When I was younger I believed my failure and inconsistency was due to my youth. I believed that when I was older I would have learned what I needed to know and mastered the art of Christian living.

However, I’m no longer embarrassed or afraid to admit that I’m an unfinished, incomplete, and imperfect, under construction, work in progress. Neither is God surprised or disappointed with my lack of progress. God’s work in my life will never be finished until I meet Jesus face to face. Desiring to follow Jesus isn’t about being finished and perfect; it’s about doing my best and trusting God to finish what he began.

I believe my desire to please God (regardless how much or how little), does please him. Despite my stumbling, bumbling, clumsy, and erratic efforts to follow Jesus, any measure of desire is irrefutable proof that God is at work in my life. I would never yearn to follow Jesus if the Holy Spirit was not first pursuing me.

The most encouraging thing I can say about my life these days is that I really, really desire to live in close relationship to Jesus and I know for certain that Jesus responds to desire. He never attempted to restrict or ignore any expression of desire to be in relationship with him. Jesus answered people who interrupted him, yelled at him, touched him, screamed obscenities at him, barged in on him, crashed through ceilings to get a friend to him. Jesus cares deeply about our desire. Just walk with Jesus and watch how he welcomes people who want something more:
  • “A man with leprosy…begged [Jesus]…’If you are willing, you can make me clean’” (Mark 1:40).
  • “They pleaded with [Jesus] to leave their region” (Matthew 8:34).
  • “Save us! We’re going to drown!” (Matthew 8:25).
  • “Grant that one of these two sons of mind may sit at your right and the other at your left” (Matthew 20:21).
  • “Sir, give me this water” (John 4:15).
  • “If you can do anything, take pity on us and help us” (Mark 9:22).
  • “The man who had been demon-possessed begged to go with [Jesus]” (Mark 9:22).
  • “Lord, teach us to pray” (Luke 11:1).
  • “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom” (Luke 23:42).
A Testament of Devotion is one of the most impactful books I’ve read. Its author, Thomas Kelly asserts that we can live with “remarkable power and peace and serenity, of integration and confidence” is truly possible on the condition that we must really, really want to. Living the life God designed us to live and that Jesus died and rose again to make possible, hinges on the level of our desire.

So, the pivotal question we all must answer is “How strong, really, is my desire?

Fil Anderson is a spiritual director, conference speaker, writer and retreat leader. He served on the Young Life staff for 25 years. Fil and his wife Lucie live in Greensboro, NC and are parents of 3 adult children. He is the author of Running on Empty: Contemplative Spirituality for Overachievers and Breaking the Rules: Trading Performance for Intimacy with God.

Friday, November 20, 2015

Turkey Club: 10 Ideas for a YL Thanksgiving Celebration

Thanksgiving is next week! If you're squeezing club in before the break, below are some ideas for Turkey Club.


Have kids bring canned goods to club to donate to needy families. You could also ask them to bring supplies for Operation Christmas Child and put together Operation Christmas Child shoe boxes.

Secret Tweets 
Have everyone at club send a DM to your YL Twitter or Instagram account with something they're thankful for. Tell them you're going to anonymously read them out loud. This will make sure everyone is following the Twitter/Instagram accounts and also be a fun way to share thankfulness. Thanks to Sean McGever at for sharing this and other helpful thoughts about creating a YL tradition of thankfulness. 

Turkey Bowl
Lots of clubs around the country have a tradition of holding an annual 'YL Turkey Bowl' football game. Go the extra mile and make shirts, because who doesn't need another YL shirt, especially one with a picture of a turkey playing football. You can create competition between classes, kind of a Jr vs Sr powderpuff feel.

Turkey Stuffing (from
Divide into teams. Give each person a balloon (the stuffing) and one large shirt or sweatshirt. Give them one minute to “prep” their turkey by blowing up the balloon and stuffing them in the shirt of one person on their team. When the time is up, have a sumo match. The last one standing wins.

Turkey Head
Just a slight twist on the ol' surgical glove on the head game, because it does look like a turkey. Get three volunteers to pull the glove over their head, just below their nose. When the music starts, they race to blow it up as big as they can. It can get huge!  Take pics.

Pumpkin Long Snapper Game
Items needed:
  • Small pumpkins or gourds (hand sized) 
  • 2 baskets
  • You will need two teams of two
  • Set the basket 15 feet from one player and have the player's teammate stand with basket.
  • In this challenge, one player will hike pumpkins between their legs like a long snapper in football. The teammate holding the basket will toss back any pumpkins or gourds. 
  • Team with the most pumpkins at the end of 60 seconds wins the challenge.
Pie Face Game
Items needed:
  • Plate
  • Pumpkin pie with whipped topping
  • Instruct players they must keep their hands behind their backs.
  • The first player to devour the pie - crust, filing, whipped cream, and all in 60 seconds or less wins the challenge.
Turkey Bowling
Items Needed:
  • Frozen Turkey 
    • You can leave the plastic and netting on the turkey and throw it holding the netting OR
    • Get a drill and drill 3 finger holes into the turkey and throw it like an actual bowling ball.
  • 12 Bowling pins or 2-liter bottles filled with sand
    • You can often get donations of old broken pins from a local alley.
  • Plastic tarp (long enough to serve as your "lane")
  • Oil or water (to spread on tarp so turkey slides more easily)
  • Sturdy, stable backboard for end of lane - a table on its side would work well. Nail or tape securely to the ground or floor
  • Person to set up pins after each bowl
How to Play:  
  • Each team has three participants. 
  • Game consists of three rounds. First student from each team bowls in the first round, second student in the second round, third student in the third round.
  • Scoring is just like regular bowling except there are only three frames. The third frame is the equivalent of the tenth frame in regular bowling with the potential for an extra bowl if the participant scores a strike or spare.
  • Each participant gets two bowls with the exception of the third participant who will have the opportunity for an extra bowl if he/she scores a strike or spare.
  • Play the 'Chicken Dance' in the background or have a kid who hunts blow his turkey call every time pins are knocked down. 
Turkey Trophy 
Make a turkey out of an old bowling ball (body) and pin (as the head). Use feathers and a red sock as a goblet and paint the ball with winners names. 

Turkey Man
Have a Senior Campaigner dress up as a turkey to welcome kids as they enter club. You can also have the turkey emcee club or just be a cheerleader for the teams.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Watch & Wait: Reflections on Advent and Christmas by Jim Branch

Many of you are familiar with 'The Blue Book' and have loved reading Jim Branch's writings. Jim was on staff with YL for almost twenty years and now directs a ministry of spiritual nurture in Knoxville, TN. Last year we gave away copies of Jim's book, "Being with Jesus."  He recently released a new book, "Watch and Wait," specifically written for the season of Advent. This year Advent begins on Nov. 30th.

Purchase a copy here: Watch and Wait: A Guide for Advent and Christmas

We're also giving away 5 copies. You can be entered to win by filling out this 60 second survey.  

For most of my Christian life I was unaware of the beautiful way the story of faith retells itself each year through the church liturgical calendar. How each and every year through its feasts and fasts, its celebrations and remembrances, the incredible story of God's extravagant love for his people is lived out again and anew by the community of faith. It is an ancient dance that has been done by fellow pilgrims throughout the centuries, offering an invitation to us all to journey with Christ, and the people of God, into a more intimate and vibrant relationship with the One who made us for himself. It is an invitation for each of us to enter into his story; to live each season in a way that gives us a deeper love for, and a stronger faith in, the God who dreamt us into being. The first step in this journey is the season of Advent, the season of watching and waiting for Christ to be born among us and within us. It is the season where we get in touch with our deep longing for God to show up in our lives and in our word. After all, he is, and has always been, the God who comes. Ours is just to pay careful attention to the how and the where and the when of that coming.” - Jim Branch

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

WyldLife Wednesday: Tips for Building Relationships With Parents

Written by Steph Raubenheimer, WyldLife Representative in the Greater New York Division

When a parent drops a kid off at WyldLife club, do you ever wonder “Does this parent know I’m ____________.” Fill in your blank: Trained to be doing this. A full-time student. Grieving. A working professional. Out of a job. Volunteering my time to do this. Passionate about this. Enjoy this. Consider this more than orchestrating entertainment for kids. Fill in your blank…

Part of you wishes the very people entrusting you with their kids could know the depth of your heart and commitment to what you are doing. You also want them to know that as a WyldLife leader, you are a whole person, and that there is more to you than the games they see you lead in club.

What if we take away the mystery of who we are, as whole people, and also invite the parents of our middle school friends to de-mystify who they are, too? They aren’t just a PTA mom, a traveling dad, an absent parent, a busy couple, a broken family, a well-respected parent. There’s more to your story, and there’s more to theirs. In the same way we want parents to know we are deeper than the cotton on the Q-tips we throw at club, we can get to know them that way, too!

Here’s the beauty of removing the mystery by way of friendships: You will enjoy these friendships, and you will learn from them. You will find your heart shifting toward compassion, understanding and mutual edification. You will find God working in your heart here, as He also draws these dear friends closer to Him. This is energizing!

So a practical application is this: Enjoy life with the parents of your WL kids!

Below are 6 ways you might enjoy spending time with a WyldLife parent: Try one this school year!
  • Go for a walk/walks with a WL parent. A person who loves to walk will love to walk with you. Yes, it’s really that simple.
  • Call a WL parent when you need help with something unrelated to WL (Where should I fix my car? What’s the best Tex-Mex in town?)
  • Attend a community event with a WL parent (holiday bazaar, street fair, whatever your community offers)
  • Call a WL parent. “Just wanted to hear how your mom is doing… how the new job is going.” Ask about something significant in their lives.
  • Learn how to do something with a parent you enjoy spending time with.
  • Tell them about things happening in your whole life, because remember, you’re a whole person, and so are they. They may enjoy showing up for you.
May the Lord anoint, bless and continue to orchestrate friendships you’ll have with parents in your community. It’s amazing that we would find favor with adults; we know God’s hand is in this. May we be energized by getting to know people as whole people---not just parents, and not just as WyldLife leaders.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Hello by Adele: Chords and Slides

The population of the United States is 320 million. In less than one month, Adele's "Hello" has 400 million views on YouTubeHer new album comes out this week. If you're looking for a 'hot' new song to sing in club, you found it. 


Odds are that someone in your club plays keys. Ask around, have someone learn to play the song and bring a keyboard. If not, you can play it on guitar and it will still work. Playing an MP3 isn't a bad option either. Just make sure whoever is leading the song goes all out on the chorus, the crowd will follow suit. 

It would be sweet to have Adele come and lead the song at your club. Why not tweet at her and ask? She only has 24 million followers so she'll probably get back to you right away. Stranger things have happened. 

You could also do a skit with your run-on characters that leads into everyone singing the song. Make sure to use flip phones in the skit. 

Download PowerPoint Slides 
Download Keynote Slides
Download PDF of guitar chords

*Special thanks to Keith Baker for emailing in the slides for the song. If you have chords/slides to other club songs, email them to us here and we'll post them up on the Club Music section of the site

A Discipleship Series By Justin McRoberts: Along the Way

On Tuesdays this semester we're running a series of posts on discipleship by Justin McRoberts. If you've missed the first 6 posts, click the links below to catch up.

Mission, part 2 

Last week I wrote about the story of Phillip in Acts 8. There’s another part of that same story I really like. Once God sends Phillip south, the writer of Acts says that “on his way he met an Ethiopian eunuch.” 

Your “mission,” the thing you do to serve God and people in your life, will likely happen “along the way.” In other words, It can sometimes seem that serving Jesus will mean going to Bible college or Seminary or getting some other kind of special religious training. And that might be true for you; I’ve got some really good friends who are pastors or on Young Life staff. But I also have a lot of friends working in medicine or law or athletics. And each of them, according to their gifts and calling, are right where they are supposed to be. 

Here’s what I’m after: Don’t worry that you'll have to give up the things you’re best at or the things you most enjoy in order to “do something for Jesus.” He just may have given you those gifts and passions so that you could serve Him in joy and with skill. 

Perhaps, instead of asking a question like “What am I supposed to do to serve God?” start asking and imagining “What are the things I am best at and love to do most? How might I serve God and love people with these gifts and passions?” The answer to that line of questioning might change over time because you will change over time. And as you do, may you serve God and love people with joy and skill.

Monday, November 16, 2015

Hoedown Club Ideas

The fall is a perfect time of year to pull off a Young Life hoedown club!


  • Borrow a barn! 
  • If you can't find a barn, find a field. It's better to do the field party earlier in October so it's not dark as early or as cold. If you use a field, make sure to circle up cars and use headlights. Bring jumper cables in case you drain a car battery! You'll also want to make sure a bathroom is close by. You can rent port-a-potties for $150, maybe even get a parent to sponsor it. Who doesn't want their business logo on a sign taped to a portable bathroom?
  • If you can't find a barn or a field, you can do it anywhere, just make sure to decorate! 


  • Christmas lights are a must.
  • Hay bales are great- try and get them donated, but if not, you can probably get 30 for $100. 
  • Checkered table cloths
  • Tons of ideas on Pinterest 


Finger Countin'
Use your skit characters to do a funny game sell about how their mama taught them to count and add. Stand back to back, each person holding out one hand. On that hand they can hold out no fingers, 1, 2,3,4, or all 5. When they turn around (on the count of 3) they add the fingers together with their opponents. First one to yell the correct sum moves on to the next round.

Seed Spittin'
Kids race to cut open a pumpkin, pull out the seeds and spit them towards their partners who are holding a plastic jack-o-lantern. The one with the most seeds after 90 seconds (with loud music playing in the background) is the winner.
You can also spit sunflower seeds into a cowboy hat.

Plunger Olympics
If you're going for more of a red neck theme instead of a barn party, you can make up all kinds of games using plungers.
  • Ring toss on the plunger
  • Unrolling toilet paper race with the toilet paper roll on the plunger
  • Using the plungers as gloves to catch balls being tossed
  • Get creative

Cricket Spitting
  • Go to PetSmart to get crickets. Buy 30 medium sized. Buy them an hour or so before club so they stay alive. You don't need a cage, you can keep them in the bag, just make sure they get some air.
  • Set the game up by getting 6 brave volunteers, 3 guys and 3 gals. Do a spit-off and see who can spit a cricket the farthest. Mark the spot the cricket lands. Have a gal go, then a guy, then a gal, etc... Take the top 2 and have them do a championship round.
  • After you crown a winner, have the skit character hosting the game stick 10 crickets in their mouth and do a 'machine gun style' spit!

Pie-Eating Contest
Few things are as redneck as eating contests. You can go many different directions with this one. Just call 3-5 folks up front and pick one of the options below or create your own.
  • Fill pie tins with gummy worms and whipped cream and have a race to see who can get all the worms out first without using their hands. Start a rumor in the crowd that real worms are mixed in with the gummy worms.
  • Fill pie tins with M&Ms and flour and have a race to get the M&Ms out using no hands. Make sure to have water for them to drink after getting a mouth full of flour. Take pictures!

Turkey Head
Just a slight twist on the ol' surgical glove on the head game, because it does look like a turkey and it's November so it works. Get three volunteers to pull the glove over their head, just below their nose. When the music starts, they race to blow it up as big as they can. It can get huge!  Take pics.


  • Make a good country music playlist to have going as kids arrive. Ask a kid to help make it (but make sure it's clean.) Here's a Spotify playlist a friend made for a hoe-down club, but it's 2 years old.
  • Use eyeliner to draw freckles on girls, like we do at camp.
  • Considering getting 2 skit characters to host the whole night. They can learn some redneck jokes and do a little routine throughout club.
  • Get someone to come call a square dance! 

Download PowerPoint Slides for all the songs below here.

  • Wagon Wheel
  • High FLyin Lord
  • Let my light shine bright
  • Barefoot Bluejean night
  • Chicken Fried
  • Banana Song
  • Springsteen
  • Let there be light
  • I could Run Away
  • I am Yours

What other Hoedown ideas do you have? Email us here and we'll add them to the post.