Junior High boys are a rare species that I've come to appreciate in recent years. These guys are ridiculous, hilarious, outrageous, courageous and audacious at the same time. They make my job interesting and they have the most dramatic transformations from the beginning of 7th grade to the end of 8th. While it's sometimes a challenge to keep them focused during class, when they show up at Wyld Life they get to be themselves.
Even a short dance party on the lunch room table is okay. Today we tried something new. Our Wyld Life events have always been at night at a house or the Indy Yacht Club but we wondered what would happen if we had Club at school right after the final bell.
Would new kids come who had never heard of YL before? Would it be easier for some students to get a ride home rather than a ride to Club and a ride home? Is it less intimidating to walk into the cafeteria than into an unfamiliar building?
Our principal came on the announcements at the very end of the day, "Excuse me for this short announcement. If you're staying for Wyld Life this afternoon please report to the cafeteria at dismissal." The bell rang, the hallways filled with students getting backpacks from their lockers and then sure enough, dozens of them showed up in the cafeteria for Wyld Life.
The kids who play Winter Sports had practice but the rest of our regular attendees made it. A handful of new kids showed up too-- excited and a little unsure of what to expect. We want to keep inviting kids and making this a place where everyone is welcome, not just one type of kid.
We got use the big screen today and crank up the music in the cafeteria as we sang at the beginning. Nothing like a Wyld Life party right after school.
We taught the Wyld Life kids how to play Wink-- a new favorite game courtesy of Allison Stamer. Mia Becker, a tiny 7th grade girl, tackled HS Junior Jacob Everidge right away and wouldn't let him up. It was incredible.
KCraig also had an amazing tackle on 7th grader TWilly. We're not holding anything back.
We had a crazy game of musical hats and then raffled off some amazing prizes.
If you've ever been to a Wyld Life event you understand why it's called Wyld Life. These Junior High kids are wild for sure. They're also awesome, hyper, awkward, crazy, smart, hilarious and kind. We love spending time with them.
The most memorable game of the afternoon was our dog biscuit relay. Two teams of puppies (aka students on all fours) came on stage and lined up. The middle person picked up a dog bone off the pile with their teeth. They turned and passed it to the next person who could only use their teeth. They passed the bone down the line until the final person put it on their team's plate. The teams raced to see which one could get the most successful passes.
It was amazing-- the perfect amount of competition and awkward. All of the kids that played wanted pictures to post right away.
We've introduced the song He Knows My Name to Wyld Life. It instantly takes me back to campfires at Tecumseh when Vince would play guitar and lead all of us in singing these familiar words.
This afternoon Junior Nick Cefali shared with us for the Club Talk. He did a great job telling us about Bat Kid, his experience as a HS Peer Mentor and the story of Jesus and Mary Magdalene. It was so cool seeing Nick share his heart up there in front of all of these kids.
I was in a small group with these 7th grade girls this afternoon. We talked about standing up for people and doing what's right, about Christ's character in the story and what it looks like to do the right thing on social media or in texting. I know that these girls love getting to spend this time with their friends and talking about things that matter.
By 4:30 we were all cleaned up and leaving the Junior High-- time flies when you have Club right after school. The Winter Weekend trip for Young Life kids is already full and has a waiting list. It's going to be such an awesome adventure.