Friday, May 17, 2013

Flashback Friday: The Technicolor Stomp

Among the things that confused and baffled me about the students I was working with at the Union Church of Hinsdale in 2000-2001 was that they really didn't like games or stunts.  The only games they ever wanted to play were basketball and Capture the Flag- both fine games, but hardly the kinds of games I wanted to play exclusively.  I led them in a few of my tried and true favorite games, and they just didn't get the art of playing.  As for stunts (little skits or games designed to "punk" someone at the end) they just seemed confused as to why anyone would do such things.  Even Psychological Sit-Ups failed to amuse them.  It was all very frustrating for me, because I always loved a great game!  So I want to share with you a few things that worked most everywhere else I served, and see which ones my former youth remember, and which ones still sound good today.

The Egyptian Mummy Race-  We would divide into several teams, and each team would attempt to wrap one team member in a roll of toilet tissue from head to toe.  Best mummy wins!  You can see great mummies from Springfield Friends Meeting and FUMC-Kissimmee on this page.
Sardines-  The king of all youth group games, in my humble opinion.  Hide and seek played with a partner, where on pair hides and everyone else looks for them, then hides WITH them after finding them.  A classic game best played in huge, old church buildings. Outside of youth ministry circles, this is also known as the Make Out Game.  Not that such things EVER happened in my youth groups...  
The Honey Bee Club-  An "initiation" stunt that convinced students they were being welcomed into a special club, this elaborate bit conned the victim twice.  The first time they had water spit in their face, and then were promised a chance at revenge by initiating the next person.  Unfortunately for them, the next "victim" was in on the gag, and so they got it again.  It may sound a little mean, but it was a beloved stunt at many stops along my journey.  And who can forget listening to the entire crowd buzz likes bees the entire time.  Bzzzzzzzz...
Do You Love Your Neighbor?-  A musical chairs type game, this was played with great ferocity by all of my groups- but one.  The odd-person out would stand in the middle of a circle of chairs and then approach a seated peer.  They would then ask the question, "Do you love your neighbor?"  If the seated player answered yes, the people on either side of them had to change seats while the odd-person also fought for one.  If the player answer no, they would then continue on to say "But I do love people who..."  They would then complete the sentence with things like attend a certain school, are wearing socks, haven't brushed their teeth today or what ever they choose.  Then everyone with that characteristic has to change seats.  It is a wild game that also helped kids get to know a little about each other.
Speed Kissing-  A race of teams in straight lines, facing forward, the turning as rapidly as possible and passing kisses on the cheek to the back on the line.  After a few practice runs, they race against another team or a bogus "world record."  And when the next to the last person in line turns for the finish, they are greeted with a pie in the face.  Another often requested stunt.
The Technicolor Stomp- You divide into teams.  Each team gets an equal number of balloons to inflate, with every team having their own color.  After they are all blown up, the balloons are all placed in the center of the room, and you yell, "GO!"  The idea is to use your feet to pop the balloons of the other team so that your color will be the only ones left.  Thus the name.  The game is wild, loud, easy to cheat at and a ton of fun for everyone!  Yet somehow the students in Hinsdale found it beneath them.

I'll stop there, but I have to tell you, games and stunts were an important part of making our youth groups meetings "You Gotta' Be There!" events in the communities we served.  Other games like Hook-Up TagFruit Basket Upset and Four On a Couch were huge parts of various ministries.  I am so thankful that I grew up knowing, and hopefully was able to impart of the students I served, that following Jesus is fun.  Thanks for letting me look back.  Now I'm gonna' go play some SMITH...

Because of Jesus,

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