Mid and Late Adolescents

“D.U.I.” Awareness

During a fellowship activity, we made an unannounced stop at a local vehicle towing garage. While there we looked over up close and personally the selection of vehicles that had been involved in collisions where the driver had been under the influence of alcohol or drugs. The owner of the towing service met us there and shared some of the heartfelt stories of the people and how their lives had been impacted by the bad choice of driving while intoxicated or under the influence of drugs. We later prayed for those people and the owner. The experience was one that neither the advisors nor the youth will ever forget.

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A Man Down

Team Building Excercise for leaders or teens.

This activity is designed to help students or leaders appreciate the importance of working as a team.

Synopsis: A student or leader goes and hides while another activity is running. Those participating are told that the person is hurt and requires emergency medical attention (without calling 911!) Teams must treat the person and move them to safety. Discussion afterward focuses on the importance of each team member and their contribution to the team.

Details:

Have the students involved in an active game. Choose one from Egad! their are tons of them! While the game is playing send a student or a leader out discretely. After about ten minutes stop the game and say, “Wait some one is missing!”

At that point instructions are given that the “man down” has a spinal injury and must be moved on a solid object back to the meeting room. The group will fan out and then find the missing person. The activity can be timed, with the instruction that the area is filling with poisonous gas. Another twist can be that members of the team going out to get them have also been given injuries and others have to compensate. If you have a larger group send out more injured people that need to be brought back to the room

Discussion Questions:

1. When did you notice that someone was missing?

2. How did you feel when you were looking for the injured person?

3. What has this experience taught you about team work?

4. How can we improve ourselves as a team?

A time to look at scripture concerning the parts of the body would be good to focus on the meaning of the experience.

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Acheiving Balance

Acheiving balance for teens is complicated since they are given to extremes. The mature student is the one who understands this balance and learns to walk in it each day. A lesson on balance could begin with a game where students stand on a beam raises slightly above the floor and hold a pillow in one hand. At the word go they try to make the other student lose their balance. A substitute for this can be a clip from an old movie called Karate Kid where Daniel San must balance to defeat his opponents.
The next part of the study would include a topical study of the many balances in the bible. Depending on your time frame, choose any of the following balances that we are to should understand and experience:
– grace and works
– mercy and justice
– love and truth
– faith and reason
– liberty and holiness
– being in the world –not being of the world

After discussing passages that apply to one or more of these balances have students respond to the question -Where is the balance point between these two options. List them on a chalk board, white board, or type them into your power point or other presentation program.

Next have students share areas in their own life where they go to extremes instead of find and acheiving balance,

Lastly have students write our one change that they can make in their life that week which would move them closer to balance in that area of their life.

End the time of reflection in prayer for students to be able to find greater balance in that area of their walk with God.

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Acid River

Take the group out in the woods, or anywhere suitable. Make sure you have 3 coffee tin cans that are strong and sturdy as well as two boards roughly 4 feet long and half a feet wide. Set down two ropes about 10 to 12 feet apart. The object is to get everyone on the boards or cans at the same time and then to get everyone off successfully without anyone falling off and touching the ground with their feet – or else they fall in to the imaginary “acid river.” If one person falls off, the whole group has to start over. This activity will build communication skills, leadership skills and fellowship skills.

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Amazing Mobsters – Sheriff Variation

This is a lengthy variant, but if you enjoyed the original, trust me it is worth the time to read.
You could add more variants to the game depending on how capable the group is.

The Sheriff Variant
Choose a certain card to represent the town sheriff. Each time that the Town “sleeps,” the facilitator of the game can ask the Sheriff only to raise his/her head. The Sheriff then can ask the facilitator, secretly and silently, if a certain one person is in the mob. The Facilitator answers the sheriff acordingly. (The facilitator knows who the mob members and towns people are because at the begining of the game he asks the mob members to eliminate someone) The facilitator tells the sheriff to put his/her head down, then tells the mob to raise their heads and eliminate someone. The next day, the sheriff tries to tell the towns people his/her findings without being to obvious as to let the mob know that he/she is the sheriff so that the mob won’t eliminate the sheriff next round.

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Amazing Mobsters – Variation

I loved the Amazing Mobsters game. Instead of using playing cards maybe we could just write on index cards (for those who frown upon any form of gambling) and instead of calling them mobsters could they be bad guys from the bible? And when they plead their cases could they use scripture? Just a thought.

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Amazing Race Challenge

Split the group in teams of two.

First challenge: Wheel Barrow race, The heaviest person on the team had to get in the wheel barrow holding 3 blown up balloons. The other person pushed the wheel barrow around the block. If the balloons burst or got dropped, they had to come back to the beginning and start over with the balloons. Unfortunately, we picked a very windy day so this challenge was hard! The first team around the block got the clue for the next challenge.

Challenge 2: Had to walk about a 5 blocks to the nearest gas station. Flag down someone or call someone (since all teenagers have cell phones) and pump exactly one gallon of gas into somebody’s car. No more, no less. There was a $1 in their envelope when they got the clue. Had to get a receipt. One of our leaders was at the station. When they got done, gave the receipt to the leader and got the next clue.

3rd Race: Calf Pull: Had to walk to an empty field that is about another 1/4 mile, waiting for them is 1 year old calves that have not been with mama for a while. The team had to lead the calf from one point to the next and back. Trust me, the calves didn’t want to follow. This was very funny to watch a bunch of city kids trying to get a calf to follow.. first team done got the next clue for the next challenge.

Pig Dig: Buried in the dirt piggy banks with a clue in them. They had to dig with their hands a pig and open it to get the last clue. The last part: Find the Gift Certificate with the grand prize: It was hidden up high in a tree at the local park where we ended the race. The prize was a hot air balloon ride gift certificate that we lucked out in getting from a member in our church. The kids had a blast and the winners said it was worth the challenges.

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Amazing Race: Mission Edition

Based off of the TV show, but with a Service-centered twist.

I try to emphasize to my youth group how important service and volunteerism is, so when I saw their passion for scavenger hunts, I decided to combine the two.

You’ll need adult drivers for each team and lots of colored index cards.

Begin at the church. Divide youth into teams and tell them which color cards they will be looking for. They can only touch cards that correspond to their colors. Any tampering with other teams’ cards is off-limits.

Hand each team a card with a Bible verse on it, e.g. Matthew 3:16, which leads them to the baptismal font. Teams race to locate the verse and reach their destination where they find the card that tells them their next destination. You can tell them outright that they are going to a certain destination, or make it a clue.

The teams drive to their next destination where they either get another clue or have to do a challenge (I do a challenge at every other site). This is where the mission comes in.

For challenges, pick homes of church members who need help around the house, like raking leaves or walking dogs. Our church is in a rural area, so we milk cows or pick cotton. Drive to church members houses and pick up donations for Goodwill, then drop them off. Pick up grocery lists for shut-ins and deliver them. So long as it’s service, it’s a good challenge.

Since the teams may arrive at close to the same time, make sure the challenges are things that they will be able to complete simultaneously. For example, if they’re raking a yard, have the yard evenly divided before they arrive. However, you don’t necessarily have to have even amounts of rakes and bags – that’s part of the bonus of arriving first.

After teams complete challenges, they receive new clues for their next destination and the race continues. The last clue brings them back to the church for a celebration dinner and reward for the team that won.

A nice addition is to give each team a video camera (which they can give to the adults to use when they’re doing their challenges) and you can watch each team’s video during dinner.

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Backwards Dinner

This is a great way for a couple of your youth to get to know each other on a more personal basis, as well as their parents, youth leaders, and other willing members of the congregation. The idea is to get together a relatively small group of youth for one evening of the week. The idea works best with 8 or less youth because of carpooling and available space. This activity usually should not take more than 3 hours. What is needed: Willing chaperones that can drive the youth to the designated areas. Willing adult participants, parents or other, that can cook at their home and then invite the youth to join them.
Have the youth meet at the church around dinner time. Including family or friends would work but the idea is to get to know someone new, so keep that in mind when selecting the groups. Once the group is assembled proceed to your first house. Here the host should have dessert prepared for the group. Enjoy eating dessert first and getting to know the hosts and their family as well as each other. Repeat this at seperate houses for each course. The evening can include as many courses as desired, but keep in mind travel time when planning. At each home you can also play board games or use the handy book of questions, whatever works for getting the youth to learn about their new friends in the church.
A nice touch after the fact is to have the youth write thank-you cards to their hosts from the evening. In the past some youth have invited the hosts to their homes to return the favor and introduce their families. By switching the groups and hosts it is a good way to make connections in a large congregation.

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Bake-In

Six weeks before Christmas, we started taking orders for our bake sale. We made fudge, Christmas cookies, truffles, peanut butter cookies, and chocolate covered pretzels. We took orders for about three weeks from both our church and neighborhoods. We had a bake-in (a lock-in where we baked all night) the weekend before Christmas. The kids made everything (with a little help from some adults). We then delivered everything the next two days. The cookies and candy turned out great. We made $1500 and are a church of under 200. We set the prices to low. We only charged $2 for a dozen cookies. I would suggest raising the prices and cutting the choices some. It was a great idea that made us a ton of money towards our summer mission trip.

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