Friday, May 18, 2012

Caramel Apple Challenge

Have you ever heard of the caramel apple challenge? I hadn't either. Let me just give you a glimpse of this wonderfully disgusting surprise that happened at Club. For those of you who don't know what Club is, it is kind of like a youth group for mainly unsaved students. This will be part of my job once I am able to begin at Youth For Christ; I will be the person in charge of organizing and directing Club night each week for the students. Now back to the caramel apple challenge...

Two boys took the stage along with two girls. A classic case of boy vs. girl competition. A delicious looking caramel covered "apple" was placed in front of each student. The goal was to have your team finish their "apples" before the other one could. Now for the of the "apples" for each team was really a huge onion slathered in gooey, delicious caramel. I can't even begin to describe the faces of the two students who ended up with the caramel onion. The room of students onlookers went nuts. There was even a brief Hunger Games moment. One of the boys could not quite stomach the onion so one of his brave, apparently non-germiphobic friends proudly "volunteered as Tribute!" 

For any youth leaders out there, that is one quick way to get students engaged in what is happening. Let me give you a quick run down of what a typical Club evening would look like. 

The evening would start out with a couple of fun, usually ridiculous games to break the ice and get things off to a energetic start. Then the students would all gather around for the Food Challenge portion (such as the caramel apple challenge) This portion of the evening is more for conditioning our future competitors for Fear Factor. Now it is time to get more serious. 

The students would then listen to a message from one of the leaders. The week I visited Club, the leader, who was also a pastor at an area church, gave a message that really hit home to many students. It was a powerful, personal story of his terrible (and unfortunately common) middle and high school experience that completely shaped him into the strong Christian man he is today. 

Once the message was over, the students break into small groups. This was another powerful experience for not just the students but for me as well. It is their opportunity to share their similar experiences with each other in a safe environment. Many of their stories give you just a glimpse into their broken, fragile lives. But it is wonderful to see how much they had connected as a small group over that past year. They were pretty much all comfortable sharing their stories with each other while the small group leader was able to listen and offer solid Christian advice to the students. They closed their time in prayer. 

Because I will be starting the Campus Life M ministry from scratch in Lowell, Club is something that I will be working towards but will not implement right when I begin. YFC values the relationship between leaders and students so greatly that I will have to know at least 100 Lowell students by name before I can even begin organizing my first Club. This is a very crucial part of the ministry. These students need to know that they are valued as an individual and not just another face in the hallway. I will be in the school a large majority of the week taking every opportunity to know the students, hanging out with them at lunch, tutoring them during school hours, going to their sporting events, dances, plays, etc. Building a trusting relationship is one of the most important parts of reaching out to these unsaved students so please be praying for the students, my future team of leaders, and myself that we are able to build strong relationships. 

As of right now I am about $8,000 shy of reaching the 75% mark. (75% is when I can officially become a full time Campus Life M Director at YFC). If you have given already, I cannot thank you enough for your support in this cause. If you have not yet given and are interested, please feel free to contact me so we can chat more. My goal is to raise the full 100% by the time the students head back to school in the fall. Thank you all for your love and support.

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