Refresh Old Games

There are certain classic games that your group loves to do. Chances are some of your favorites have been worn out because you over used them. Want to bring them back? Put a new twist on them. It’s not that hard. Just take the basic object of your favorite game and play it in a new way. Think of it as your favorite game on steroids. [don’t actually use steroids]

How does this work? Let me give you an example:

Take Ultimate Frisbee for example.

Just find another random object (one that won’t hurt) and use that instead. A few ideas: Ultimate Pillow, Ultimate Flip Flop, etc.

Rock, Papers, Scissors (Ro Sham Bo)

You know the rules, but change what the action is. There is a good chance you have played another version of this. Like Ladies, Hunters, Bears. Participants pair up and stand back to back. On 3 they turn around and pose as a lady (hand on hip and other hand on head saying “heeeyy” in a high pitched voice) or hunter (pretending to hold a giant gun under their arm and saying “BOOM”) or bear (both arms in the air yelling “Roooaaaaarrrr”).
Ladies beat hunters.
Hunters beat bears.
Bears beat ladies.
Loser sits down and the winner finds another partner until you are down to your final 2.

If it’s a tie they are both out. (this helps the game go by quicker).

Want to go really big? Play Monopoly, BUT use an entire room as the set up. Lay down cardboard or butcher paper and make a huge board. Then take a couple of square boxes and make large dice. Use cardboard sheets for your chance cards, etc. Find full size objects to be your game pieces. Playing the Game of LIFE? Use Tricycles or little kid cars.

You can make the most boring game turn into something exciting by giving it a twist that your students aren’t expecting. Don’t limit yourself. Look around in your game closet and see what you can put together.

What game have you refreshed that worked well?

This article was originally published at More Than Dodgeball.  Check out their site for more great articles.

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Prezi: A Free Alternative to PowerPoint and Keynote

prezi-223x300Are you looking for a more affordable presentation softward option and you have “been there done that” with PowerPoint and Keynote? Try Prezi. It is visually pleasing and pretty easy to use.

When I needed to be mobile with my presentations (meaning I had to use my iPhone or iPad) I used Apple’s Keynote.  It was inexpensive, easy to edit “on the go,” and bonus…there was an iOS remote app.

Prezi has an iPad edit/create feature with templates. Previous versions were only viewers, you could only play presentations that were created on your computer. Now you can create a presentation from start to finish directly on your iPad. It is easier to navigate and create from a computer, but if you need to correct a mispelling or need to add a slide you can fix it from your iPad. By the way, Prezi is FREE.

The article was written by Brandon Early and originally published by More than Dodgeball.  Check out their website for more great articles.

Value-Added Ministry: Helping Families Understand College Financial Aid

*This is the first of our “Value-Added Ministry” articles.  These articles will focus on enabling youth workers to step into the lives of students and families at points where they often feel overwhelmed and under-prepared to meet the demands of life.

Offering insight and guidance into an unfamiliar circumstance of life is one great way to add value to the lives of the students and families in your ministry.  One life experience that is often unfamiliar is the college financial aid process.  Completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), applying for scholarships, and knowing where to find the information necessary to make an informed decision about paying for college can be a daunting task.

That is where you, an informed youth worker, can be a blessing!  Here are some basics about the college financial aid process.

1. Contact resources to identify scholarship and grant opportunities. These resources can include your high school guidance counselor, local businesses, organizations within your field of study, and online scholarship searches. Note: Scholarships are free, so if there is a fee involved it is likely a scam.

2. Complete FAFSA. The FAFSA can be completed as early as January 1st. The FAFSA should be completed after the parent(s) and student have filed their prior year’s taxes. The FAFSA can be completed with tentative financial and tax related information, but needs to be corrected once taxes are filed.

3. Submit any necessary documentation that the Department of Education may require the Financial Aid office to receive after the FAFSA is completed.

4. Receive the financial aid award letter. Financial aid may not cover all college expenses, so determine how your family will make arrangements to satisfy any outstanding balances with the University. In addition, develop a budget for the student to cover miscellaneous costs, such as snacks, gas, hygiene products, and other personal expenses.

5. Follow up with organizations and foundations regarding scholarship applications, essays, and awards. Determine how much you will receive in a scholarship or grant, when the award will be sent, and where the funds will be sent. Provide this information to the Financial Aid office.

6. If you require Direct Loans, complete the Master Promissory Note and Entrance Counseling at studentloans.gov.

7. Once you start school, be proactive. Check your student account on your online student portal at least monthly to make sure your account is current.

This is just an overview of the process. Do you want more information?  Wes Brothers, Director of Financial Aid at Ohio Christian University, and the OCU Financial Aid staff are available to help!  You can reach the Office of Financial Aid at finaid@ohiochristian.edu or 740-477-7757.

What apps are your students using?

We live in a time when about 75% of the students in our youth ministries have a smart phone connected to the internet. Those same students send more than 3300 text messages per month, on average.

And up until about a year ago the single most popular social media site for 13-19 year olds was Facebook. And while technically Facebook is still, by far, the most popular social media application on the planet, enthusiasm for Facebook is changing. I normally hear things like, “I never use Facebook anymore.” Or “I’m bored of Facebook.” But I’ve also seen that the actual data is different than that. So while lots of teenagers are saying they are not using Facebook, there isn’t a significant drop in their actual usage. Instead, Facebook has just become ubiquitous… like Gmail. They use it but not like they used to.

From a social media perspective, we’re going through a period of time that is being called fracturing. That’s just a fancy word that means that Facebook isn’t quite as dominant as it once was and it has made room for lots of other applications to build a user base among a demographic. In this case, teenagers.

The Youth Cartel blog conducted a survey of youth leaders to see which apps were being used the most.  The focus was on apps that youth leaders know, for a fact, that their students were using…not what youth leaders thought or heard their students were using.  Here are the results.

Instagram: 93%
Snapchat: 74%
Facebook: 56%
Vine: 56%
Twitter: 54%
Youtube: 39%
ask.fm: 19%
Kik: 13%
Other: 7%

What about your students?  What apps are they using and what trends do you see?  Join the discussion and leave us a comment below.

This is an edited version of a post was written by Adam McLane & published by The Youth Cartel.  For more great resources, visit The Youth Cartel Blog.  Click here to view the post in its entirety.

Games for Youth Ministry: Flip It

flip-it-Title

This is a super simple game of heads or tails…but better.

Rules:

  • Ask the crowd to choose either heads or tails publically by either grabbing their head… or tail.
  • Then the game host flips a coin. If the coin is heads, all those who choose heads are still in… same with tails.

That is all you need.

Now…Here are a couple ways to make this a little more techie.

  1. The graphic above is free, click here and download the 720p version. Now you have a slide to introduce your game.
  2. Instead of a coin I used the app “FlipANickel.” It has a free version and a $.99 version.  I mirrored the app from my iPhone to our video screens using AirServer.  Everyone was able to see the coin flip and know if it was heads or tails on the big screen.

Using the app was great, it was visible and built good anticipation.  I looked at about 15 coin flipping apps, and this was the best (if you know if a better one please add it in the comments). The free version is good, but I am not a fan of ads in my apps… especially when I am screen mirroring to an audience so I dropped the 99 cents like a boss!

Keep up the good work!

*Editor’s Note: You can also turn this into a race game.  Have all the students line up in the middle of your ministry space.  Make one side of the room “heads” and the other side “tails”.  The students who choose incorrectly must race to the wall that corresponds to their choice.  The last student to that wall is eliminated.

This post was written by Brandon Early and originally published More Than Dodgeball.  Check out their site for more great resources!

7 Questions To Ask During Event And Program Planning

As summer is quickly coming to an end and fall is quickly approaching, I like to think about how the events or programs I oversee can be better. I also like to brainstorm new ones. My goal is to learn from my failures with summer events, so I don’t repeat them in the fall. Through failure I’ve grown to love the planning process a lot more. Here are 7 questions I ask myself based off of events/programs that I didn’t think all the way through.

  1. What’s the purpose of the event/program? – Knowing the purpose of the event I’m planning helps me gauge my target audience. Not every student will want to come to a worship event or discipleship event. Knowing the purpose allows me to go all out on promotion that is specifically created with the purpose of the event in mind.  My goal is to reach those I’ve identified as my potential taget.
  2. Will students want to come? –  I have to be careful that I don’t plan something based on my own preference but I plan something that will be great and fun for students. I’ve pulled core students in on the planning just to get their perspective on an event or program.
  3. Is there opportunity for building relationships? – I think of this question in terms of student to student or leader to student. Of course there will be both going on but being intentional about which one best fits the event takes the event to the next level.  A lot of times I push students to our events so they can get connected, so I have to think about that during the planning process.
  4. Is there follow-up or next steps needed? – I can’t tell you how many times I’ve missed the opportunity to challenge students to take the next step or follow-up with them because I didn’t think it through beforehand. I’ve been thinking about helping students follow-up with friends that they bring to events. This is definitely a question you want to ask yourself.
  5. Should it cost and is it the right amount? I’m always thinking is there a way not to charge. Sometimes it’s doable, like the park day we do where we provide lunch, but this is not always the case. Some events or programs have no budget and students have to pay, which is ok, as long as it’s the right price point which has been thought through. Parents will definitely appreciate this step.
  6. Where can we cut cost? – Again I’m thinking about budget and parents. Budget money is coming from people who believe in the God given mission of the church. I definitely want to care about where their money is going. So where can we save money is the question.
  7. How can we help students invite their friends? – Students are connected non-stop with their friends through social media and text. We’ve had great success using these mediums to help them invite their friends.  The goal is to be as creative as you can be.  If you’re not that creative get some of your students to help you.  They will love it and you will have potentially started a new ministry.

There are more than just seven questions, so what else can we think about in the planning process to make it the best event/program ever?  Would love to hear your thoughts!

This post was written by Aaron Crumbey and originally published by More than Dodgeball. Click here for more great resources from MTB.