Tag Archives: Jr. High

Junior High Youth Have Late Night Blast

by John Stoltzfus, Franconia Conference Youth Minister

Whose job description includes this clause: Must be willing to have face covered in shaving cream and decorated with cheese curls? If you answered, “Junior high youth sponsor,” you are correct! Junior high youth sponsors are some of the bravest people in ministry.

At junior high youth events, helmets are sometimes necessary...
At junior high youth events, helmets are sometimes necessary…

If you were at the Late Night Blast on March 13, you would have witnessed such a scene and a lot more crazy fun. Close to 150 junior high youth and adult sponsors representing 18 churches gathered for this annual event sponsored by Franconia Conference and Eastern District Conference. It was hosted by Christopher Dock Mennonite High School.

Last year, the event was an all-night lock-in; this year it morphed into a “Late Night Blast,” ending at 11:15 p.m. While some youth lamented the loss of staying up all night, most responses to the evening were still very enthusiastic.

Part of the purpose of this annual event is to give our youth a positive and memorable experience of worshipping together, playing hard, and catching a glimpse of the larger body of Christ that makes up our conference churches. This event also gives a wonderful opportunity for our youth workers to partner together in ministry.

... As are Cheetos.
… As are Cheetos.

The evening started off with some mixer gamers led by staff from Spruce Lake and by Brent Camilleri from Deep Run East Mennonite Church. Justin Hange and a band from Calvary Church in Souderton then turned up the noise for the evening and led in a spirited time of singing and worship.

“That was awesome!” remarked one youth following the singing.

Scott Roth, pastor at Perkiomenville Mennonite Church, kept the energy flowing as he shared stories of how he sees God at work in his life and his community bringing hope and healing. He challenged the youth to bring together a knowledge of God’s Word with an active obedience to God’s Word in everyday life.

The rest of the night was full of fun activities to choose from: soccer, basketball, dodge ball, human Dutch Blitz, Wally ball, Gaga Pit ball, Nerf blasters, and more. One of the popular new games introduced this year was Human Hungry Hippos. It’s the classic board game with a much needed upgrade. One of the perks of being a junior high youth sponsor is the freedom to experiment with wild and crazy games. Of course, the policy is always safety first, and helmets were required.

The evening ended with a shower of giveaways from Mennonite colleges and camps. Thank you to everyone that helped to plan and carry out all the activities and a special thank you to all the youth leaders that commit themselves to serving with their youth. Their commitment was exemplified by one sponsor giving up her shoes to a youth who needed more appropriate athletic shoes to participate in the games.

Junior High Lock-In: Be a follower!

The annual Jr. High Lock–In was held from 9pm on Friday, March 12, to 7am on Saturday, March 13 at Christopher Dock. This event is sponsored by Franconia Conference, Eastern District and Christopher Dock. Over 63 sponsors and 264 Jr. Highers representing 20 different congregations came out for a night of games, worship, movies and pizza.

This year’s theme was Be a Follower, 1 John 3:1 – See how very much our Father love us, for he calls us his children and that is what we are! But the people who belong to this world don’t recognize that we are God’s children because they don’t know him. Stretch Dean, pastor to teens and their families at Immanuel Church of the Nazarene in Lansdale, was the speaker this year. Stretch kept their attention with his fun entergic personality, even though it was late. He challenged the kids to be a follower of Jesus compared to the many other choices and invitations to follow that they are faced with each day. Nate Stucky, youth ministry student at Princeton Theological Seminary, led us in meaningful time of worship through song.

Each year there is a game that kids have to work as a team to complete for a prize that will put them into a drawing for the grand prize. This year they had clues that led them on a path they needed to follow to get to the next clue. Youth leaders were stationed around to ask them questions when they arrived, sending them on the journey to the next clue. The grand prizes included copies of the book Jesus Freaks by dc Talk and Voice of the Martyrs and gift certificates to local restaurants!

Participants were asked to bring in school supplies to make school kits for the MAMA Project (www.mamaproject.org). The table overflowed onto the floor with school supplies that will be shipped to Honduras and handed out to the children in the villages.

The night was full of fun activities to choose from…soccer, basketball, dodge ball, human Dutch blitz, wallyball, karaoke, Rock Band, movies, and crafts.

Thanks to everyone that helped to plan and carry out all the activities and a special thanks to all the youth leaders that bring their youth group and commit to be here the entire night.

photos by Jessica Walter