Monday, April 13, 2015

"You don't mess with my vanilla cone and Diet Coke."

The day before Spring Break we talked about gratitude and thankfulness in class. We watched Jessica's Daily Affirmations and the Science of Happiness, read an article about the benefits of thankfulness and then started writing lists of the all the things we love. I told my classes about the two girls last semester that had written lists of 1,000 things they loved and challenged them to get that far. Today FOUR girls brought me their lists of 1,000 things. Reese, Megan, Evelyn and Katie are all such positive girls I'm not too surprised that they finished this huge task in just a week. I got to surprise each of them with a friendship bracelet too which was fun.

Before leadership ended tonight, Ryan took a moment to acknowledge how incredible it is that we've got a team of adults that love kids, love Jesus and are committed to being here. Tonight there were 12 of us-- something we don't want to take for granted. Having a gym full of kids each Monday isn't something we want to take for granted either. God's got a plan and a purpose for each one of us.

Tonight we had Old School Recess Club, per the request of some Senior girls. As everyone arrived we played 4-Square, Knock-Out and Parachute Games. You can bet I pulled out all my 4-Square skills from Tecumseh and regularly chanted, "Girls! Girls! Girls!" as we tried to get out the boys.

There was something for everyone to do and it really felt like recess in there. Kids and leaders were running around, laughing, singing along to Hannah Montana in the background and meeting new friends. We learned a new cool trick where you twist up someone inside a parachute and then pull out the sides all at once so they spin in the middle.

Normally on Campaigners nights I don't interact with the guys very much because we split into groups by gender. Tonight I loved getting to hang out with all of these guys. I played Andrew and Nick in 4-Square, watched Jake and Will be rock stars in the tug of war and nearly died laughing while I watched Huffer, Chad and Conner break out their best moves in Freeze Dance. These guys are awesome.

Julia and I flipped out when our friends Rachel and Katy walked through the door. If anyone can appreciate some recess games, it's these two. Rachel is thinking about being part of our Wyld Life team and I'm beyond excited about that. I'm always thankful for any chance to spend time with these friends.

Natty B was rocking pink from head to toe--she's so good at costumes. If we went to elementary school together I'm sure that Natty and I would have been the kids organizing everyone else into playing games on the playground.

Ryan got real excited about playing some solo parachute.

I love Leah Notar Donato and that she wore multiple hats and pigtails tonight. This girl has a contagious positivity that you can't help but want to be around. I'm so thankful for Katie and Hannah-- two Senior girls that have had a huge impact on my year. I can't believe we've only got a handful of weeks left in the same place.

I love how our YL family continues to grow and evolve. We've got kids that have been here nearly every week since we first began and kids that are coming to check things out for the very first time. No matter what your reputation, who your friends are, what you've done or haven't done-- you belong here. I hope that are words and actions communicate that with every kid that walks through the door.

Next we split everyone into teams Peanut Butter and Jelly for an epic tug of war.  It's understatement to say that Jake and Will were ready to battle.

Peanut Butter put up a good fight, but Team Jelly won both times.

We played some old school Toilet Tag. If you get tagged you take a knee and put up your hand like a toilet handle. To get unfrozen someone has to sit on your knee and flush you. These kids were so into it-- everyone was short of breath and sweating by the time we stopped.

Next we played Freeze Dance. I got to DJ while the kids broke out all their best moves and sang along to High School Musical, Selena Gomez and Taylor Swift. When the music froze they had to too. Any movement got them eliminated. I wish I had a video of their moves to show you.

Next we played Sardines, one of my old youth group and hot chocolate club favorites. Everyone waited outside on the porch while Chloe and Kylie hid together in the storage closet. After a minute everyone flooded back inside the barn and searched everywhere for our hidden friends. As soon you found Chloe and Kylie you hid with them until everyone was packed into this room. Heat and the smell of sweat were both radiating out.

I got to give Kcraig her You Do You canvas. She teaches me so much about being authentic, courageous, brave and honest.

I got to see Jake be such a big brother to Blake who just adores him. Jake and I also officially became friends when he picked out his first friendship bracelet from me.

Katy and Rachel are such kooks-- I love their silliness and that they're both young at heart. I love getting to see how they've grown and matured since they were kids in my class but they haven't lost their creativity and spunk.

Tonight Ryan talked about faith and doubt and how it's more than ok to ask questions. God can handle our  questioning. And while there are so many things we're unsure of, there are also things we confidently believe. Ryan shared this list of things he knows for sure,

God is ultimately good and He wants the best for me and for you
Jesus is who he said he was-- he is trustworthy
God's word, the Bible, is reliable and true
Life with God is greater that life without Him
God's spirit is alive in me

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