Mid and Late Adolescents

Scrabble Shuffle and Spell

Hand out a single Scrabble letter from the board game to everyone playing. Make sure there are plenty of vowels included. Give an allotted time for everyone to intermingle and spell as many (3+ Letter)words as possible. Everyone carries a paper and pencil to write down their words. The person with the most “real” words in the end is the winner!

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Season – Fall

Discuss the four seasons.
Why do we call this season fall. (Might even have some leaves to show). That’s right, because all of the leaves fall off of the trees.
A long time ago when man and woman were created, they made a horrible mistake and they fell away from God.
We sometimes call this the fall of man.
Just like the leaves on the trees are dying and fall off of the trees, mankind without God is dying as well.
We must invite God into our lives so we can enjoy all of the seasons of life together with him.

When we see leaves fall off of the trees it should remind us of how man fell away from God.

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Serving Others

ACTIVITY: At this point I give each teen a bowl (about 1-2 cups) of Jello Jigglers and a plastic fork taped onto a 4-foot dowel rod. The instructions are that the jello must be eaten, they must keep their hand at then end of the dowel (without the fork), whoever empties their bowl first – wins. The object is to get the teens to figure out that they can’t feed themselves, and the only way to empty their bowl is to feed the person across from them.

TRANSITION: Tell the following story. A man went to sleep and dreamed about hell. He saw everyone in hell seated at long banquet tables loaded with food but they were all starving to death – nothing but skeletons because they were trying to feed themselves with 4-foot forks. The man’s dream then switches to Heaven, where he also sees everyone seated at long tables loaded with food and having 4-foot forks. But, these people are all happy and well-fed. They were using their forks to feed each other.

Start off by asking your group how many became Christians out of fear of eternity in hell or because they loved Jesus (which came first?) Many will say it was fear of hell and then they learned to love the Lord. I took Scripture from Jude (some save with fear snatching them out of the fire) and then from 1 John 4 (there is no fear in love) to show that although it’s OK to get saved out of fear, we can’t stay in fear. Other Scripture references included more verses from 1 John 4 regarding the love of God dwelling in those that are His, and those without His love are not of Him. Also The Gospel of John (they will know you are my disciples if you love one another). I closed with Matthew, where Jesus tells of the sheep and goats at the judgement and played Keith Green’s song by the same title (off of his album Here Am I, Send Me).

My Teens really enjoyed this meeting. They tried to come up with all sorts of ways to get the jello into their own mouths and you’ll be surprised at how creative your group is. But, it really made an impact on them to discuss what love is (as Jesus loved us we are to love others) and how that should influence our daily lives.

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Sesame Street Murder Mystery

Find an area near you where there are a lot of businesses along one street. Talk to a few of those businesses in advance to organize it! Also find 6 adults to be the suspects. Gather your kids at a central meeting ground that is not the crime scene. Divide into 6 groups. (We had 60 kids do this and we divided into 6 groups of 10). Assign a sheriff and hand out false money, just in case a witness might need some cash flow in order to talk. Take them to the crime scene.
At ours, there was a chalk outline of Elmo and 6 items in ziplock bags (one for each suspect). Since there are six different suspects, there are 6 different clue routes. Each team is only in charge of finding their suspect and bringing him/her back to the crime scene. Then, give the teams their clues. Each clue should have a clue about their suspect and a clue to the location of their next clue. You might want to keep all the clues for one team one color. When you talk to the businesses in advance, ask them if you could place a clue in their window. Request that they keep an exterior light on. (One of our clues, said: look for the man with the GAP in his teeth. Meaning that we should go to the Gap for our next clue).
Put the clues as far away from each other to make it interesting. Have the fourth clue for every team lead to a “mysterious person” at the end of a street in the town. Have the him/her know the descriptions of all the characters really well. He/she will tell the teams where to go to find their suspect. (Our suspects were placed at places like Starbucks, the cable company, the movie theater, restaurants, either as a waitress or as a chef.) We arranged this all before hand, obviously. Once they capture their suspects, have the team go back to the crime scene. Make sure the suspects are very clear on their character. Let them know that they should maintain their innocence at all times and try to escape whenever possible. (we used 6 of our counselors. it was really fun that way!)
One you have all your suspects, have your youth leader tell the detectives why the suspects hated Elmo. Then have the suspects tell what they did the night of the murder. Make sure that the murderer is the least obvious. The teams that guess the correct murderer received candy bars the next Sunday.

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Shantytown Scavenger Hunt

Give the kids 30 mins to walk out into the surrounding neighbourhood to find things they could build a shelter with – a box, newspapers, etc. The goal is to find enough items to build a Shantytown with. When they arrive with their items, they have another 30 mins to build the Shantytown in the church parking lot. A 55 gallon drum for a fire will increase the shantytown feel. After they’ve set it up, gather around the fire and ask the following questions: How did it feel to scavenge? How did it feel to have to beg (for supplies)? What would it be like if you had to live like this night after night? Continue in the discussion.

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Shopping Cart Scavenger Hunt

Send your kids on the most unforgettable shopping trip they’ve ever been on. And help the needy in your area at the same time. Contact a local food bank ahead of time to learn what items it needs most. Then make a “grocery list” of 15 to 20 of the items. Get permission to borrow shopping carts from a local grocery store. Form teams of no more than four. Give each team a shopping cart and a grocery list. Have teams go door-to-door in search of the items on the list. Award a pizza to the first team to return with its shopping completed. When everyone is back. have a discussion about giving. Use Deut 15:7-10; Prov 25:21; Matt 10:42; 22:34-40; Acts 2-:35; Romans 12:6-13; and 2 Cor 9:6-9 as discussion starters. Then go together to take the food kids collected to the local food bank.

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Sin Burning

I listed the age group as mid-late adol. simply because there is an element of maturity needed to understand the full power of this activity. You can use your own judgement, though.

This activity also requires using fire, so please do not do this activity indoors, and have a bucket of water or a fire extinguisher ready, just in case.

I’ve used this at camp several times and it has been a life changing activity for several people I’ve known. Here’s how it works.

1. Make sure that everyone knows that this is a serious activity and that we should shift our hearts and minds into a place of worship.
2. Distribute pencils and pieces of paper (5.5 X 8.5, or roughly a piece of notebook paper cut in half) and ask the kids to write a personal letter of confession to Jesus. Tell them that no one will ever see what they are writing and that they will be burned immediately after (This helps them be more honest in what they write.) Encourage them to open up completely and honestly, since Jesus knows us so well anyway, he’d know if we were bluffing.
2. Have them find a private place to write these letters (under a tree, at a picnic table, etc). Make sure they are well seperated. Give them about 10 – 15 minutes.
3. After time is up ask them to come back to the group in silence. Have a metal bucket with you and ask them to come up one at a time. Take and light the first letter on fire and drop it in the bucket. Each of them puts their letters in the fire one by one.
4. When the last letter is put in the fire, have them make a circle around the bucket, and say a prayer of thanksgiving to Jesus for taking the sins. Allow them to watch the fire burn. This can be very powerful, to watch your sins burning away in front of your eyes.
5.After the fire has gone out, stir the ashes around in the bucket until they are completely out and have cooled. While singing “Humble Thyself in the Sight of the Lord” or some other song, have each kid come up and use the ashes to form a cross on their cheeck (I personally use cheek, because the forehead seems a bit too sacramental to me — pastors or other ordained folk can make a judgement call on that one).

End in Prayer. You might be surprised how long they leave the cross on their cheeck. I initially thought that they’d wipe it off as soon as we were done, but they kept it on for the rest of the night! It served as a tangible reminder of the love of Christ.

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Skit about Timothy

What’s My Name?

[Four contestants are sitting facing the audience]

Welcome to another edition of “What’s My Name”. We welcome our four lucky contestants chosen randomly from the audience.

Contestant number one is a computer systems consultant. In his spare time he writes detective stories.
Contestant number two is a nuclear physicist. She recently was called to the White House and honored by the President for the role she has taken in organizing environmental clean up in her community.
Contestant number four is a brain surgeon. He loves parachuting, rock climbing, scuba diving, and hang gliding. He recently designed and built his own private airplane.

[Contestant three signals toward herself, to get the Moderator’s attention]

Oh, yes, Contestant number three recently began training to be an amateur wrestler. Her main goal in life is to one day have her name in the telephone book.

And of course we welcome our special guest Mr. X! As you know, each week we bring out a special guest, the identify of whom the contestants must guess. We will now let you the studio audience in on our little secret. Just who is our special Mr. X this week?

[Mr. X, comes in from side door and sits behind the contestants where they cannot see him.] [Show large name card to audience: Timothy, the able assistant of Paul the apostle]

OK, let’s get started.

Each of our contestants will now begin asking questions of Mr. X. If one of our contestants thinks he or she knows the true identify of Mr. X, then he or she can use their turn to ask the identity.

Contestant number one, what is your question?

Contestant one: Have you ever been on TV?

Mr. X: What is TV?

Contestant two: What is your life theme?

Mr. X: “The things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable men who will also be qualified to teach others.”

Contestant three [anxiously appearing to think s/he has already figured out who Mr. X is]: “I know, I know, I know, aren’t you that famous trial lawyer guy who always gives the great speeches before the jury? Oh, I can’t remember your name, but I’m sure it’s you!

Mr. X: No, I’m sorry, that’s not me.

[Contestant three looks very disappointed]

Contestant four: When were you born?

Mr. X: Well, my mother did not keep great records, but I figure I was born about the year 30.

Contestant one: Oh, so you were born in 1930.

Mr. X: No, I don’t know what you mean by the 19. I was born in 30, just plain 30.

Contestant three: Oh, I know, I know, I know, you’re that really old guy who never seems to look older. Oh I know exactly who you are. Oh, oh, what’s your name? The oldest man who ever lived: Methu-mellowed-out, or something like that.

Mr. X: No, I’m so sorry, but Methuselah lived a long time before me. But you are heading in the right direction.

Moderator: Now, contestant three, you must control yourself and wait for your turn. OK. Contestant two, it is your turn.

Contestant two: What’s your job?

Mr. X: Well, you could call me a combination fix-it man, trainer and equipper.

Contestant three: Oh, I know, I know, I know. You’re one of those guys who works in the pit stop at the race track, who can change a tire in about 3 seconds. How do you do that anyway?

Mr. X: What’s a pit stop? I’m sorry, I don’t think that I can fix your problem in 3 seconds. However if you do tire, then I can encourage you like my teacher and mentor encourages me to keep going even when things get tough.

Contestant four: Who is your teacher and mentor?

Mr. X: His name is Paul.

Contestant one: Does you teacher give you a lot of exams? Do you have to sit and listen to his lectures?

Mr. X: Well, I’ve found that just by traveling around with him I run into plenty of tests. He teaches me as we go about our work. And he has written me a couple of letters giving me some great advice.

Contestant two: What kind of advice has this Paul given you?

Mr. X: Oh, lots of it. One time in a letter to me he wrote: “Run from anything that stimulates youthful lust. Follow anything that makes you want to do right. Pursue faith and love and peace, and enjoy the companionship of those who call on the Lord with pure hearts.”

Contestant three: So, you go around preaching and teaching. I bet that brings you a lot of fame and honor. How does it feel to have everyone respecting you so much? Are you in it for the glory?

Mr. X: Well, let me tell you what Paul told me about what to expect from my kind of work:
“A time is coming when people will no longer listen to right teaching. They will follow their own desires and will look for teachers who will tell them whatever they want to hear. They will reject the truth and follow strange myths. But you should keep a clear mind in every situation. Don’t be afraid of suffering for the Lord.”

Contestant four: Are you telling me you have suffered? What has happened to you?

Mr. X: Well, I’ve been arrested..

Contestant three: “I know, I know, I know, you are that guy who ran the big company and sold all your stock because you had inside information. Oh, I can’t remember your name, but I’m sure it’s you!

Mr. X: I’ve never sold stock. I’ve never even raised any sheep or cattle.

Contestant one: What were you arrested for?

Mr. X: For preaching the Good News of salvation through Jesus Christ.

Contestant two: You called yourself a “fix-it” man. Why do you call yourself that?

Mr. X: Well, several times when there were major problems in churches, my mentor Paul sent me to straighten out the problems.

Contestant two (again): I just have a follow-up question. You sound quite young to be given so much responsibility. Have you ever felt that you are not old enough to do all that?

Mr. X: My mentor, Paul, wrote to me about that in one of his letters. He said: “Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith and in purity.” Age is not the key. We can be an example to others no matter how old we are.

Contestant three: OK, OK, let me get this straight. You lived a long, long time ago. You went around with a man named Paul and taught people about Jesus. This Paul fellow taught you and sent you to fix all the hardest problems. You got hassled in your work and even arrested. How am I doing?

Mr. X: So far, so good.

Contestant three: I think I have it figured out. You are that guy that was on that old episode of Deep Space Nine who went back in time and taught the people all about the future so then they were able to mind-control their neighbors which threw off the balance of power and eventually led to the great battle of the Centaurs. Oh, I know who you are. Oh, oh, what’s your name? I just had it!

Moderator: I’m sorry contestants, but our time is up. So, I’ll introduce you to our special guest Mr. X, who is none other than Timothy, the able assistant of Paul the Apostle.

Contestant Three: Oh, I knew it. I knew it. His name was right on the tip of my tongue!

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Sum It Up!

One of the best times for me to do a scavenger hunt is during a lock-in. I always have at least one “outside” activity that the youth do such as bowling, laser tag or mini-golf. Then after the activity I set up a scavenger hunt for the trip back to keep the sleepy heads awake. I’ve done several versions of scavenger hunts from ‘clue leading to clue’ to a video hunt. Just about the only ones that work for me during a lock-in is either a video hunt or one called Sum It Up!

The problem with hunts during a lock-in is that by the time you can schedule one in, the only store that is open is Wal-Mart. So, I made a list of some general items with hardly any details. Such as, soft drink, diapers, shoes, jewelry item, and if you are fortunate enough to have a Supercenter – vegetable, cereal, deli meat…of course, the list can be as big and as detailed as you wish.

The object is to find the cheapest AND the most expensive. You add up ALL of your most expensive items and then SUBTRACT all of your least expensive items and this gives your team a final score.

For bonus points you can have each team try to find the most expensive item in the whole store.

This hunt does take a little bit of research but then, how many times do you go to Wal-Mart each week? It helps to get a general idea of what each of the items the youth will put down will cost. This is to make sure that the youth will not try to put down that Huggies are $25. (Although, it does seem like it sometimes.)

For the most part, you will have duplicate answers in a lot of the categories if you have detailed information to look for, but usually the ‘whole store’ item will seperate the teams. One year three of the four teams went to the electronics section for the BIG screen TV while the fourth team went to the often forgotten lawn and garden section for the riding lawnmower and won. Enjoy!

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Survivor Island

We got this off the net but changed it somewhat. We wanted an event to build teamwork in our youth group at the the beginning of the year. Originally we had planned on going to an actual island but that didn’t work out.

We found a large group of campsites and roped it off with yellow tape as the “island.” The youth were not permitted off the island for any reason. We did a series of team building exercises and then discussed the need for each other and God. Our dinner was Taco Salad–without utensils. The youth were only given one cup for the first night. We camped overnight and kept our discussion, activities, and worship service focussed on working together. Awards were given to those who contributed to the team effort.

We kept the hype up by not sharing what our plans were–the youth were not even told where we were going ahead of time. Our camping list was somewhat skimpy–by accident– but that helped the survivor theme. You could do a lot with this: everyone brings a single cup to eat and/or drink out of. Different people are assigned necessarry items and the group needs work together so everyone gets their needs met.

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