great ideas from youth groups like yours

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That Giving Spirit!

Is your youth group looking for some new ideas? Well, we've heard about some great stuff going on in church youth groups and Christian clubs all over the world. Check out these awesome ideas for challenging your faith, reaching out to your community, and just having a good time with your Christian friends.

When you hear the name Scrooge, you think of a mean, selfish old man who wouldn't share a thing with anyone. But for the youth group from Spring Lake Park Baptist Church in Spring Lake Park, Minnesota, the name Scrooge means something very different. It means taking the time to care for others.

Every December, the group gets together for scrooge night. scrooge stands for Student Christmas Rush for Oodles and Oodles of Goodies Etc. In other words, scrooge is a food drive … and then some.

To get the group excited about heading into the frozen Minnesota night, youth leader Todd Erickson makes scrooge night a competition. The youth group is divided into smaller teams of four to seven people with one adult driver for each team. Each team gets a map of the town with their route marked out (so there's no overlap).

Then the fun starts. The team members go door to door, asking people to donate any food they can. The teams are armed with handouts, which explain the event. Everyone who donates food is given a signed thank-you note from Todd, the youth leader. The teams have one hour to collect as much food as they can from the houses in their designated area.

At the end of the hour, the teams all gather back at the church and tally up their goodies. The team with the most items per person is declared the winner and awarded a prize. Then, all the food is boxed and bagged and brought to a local food pantry.

Now, we're not talking a few cans of soup and Spaghetti-Os here. The Spring Lake Park group averages between 500 and 600 items a year. The record? 1037 items. That's a lot of chow.

Obviously, scrooge night is a whole lot of fun for everybody. Yet, there really is more to it then just a good time. Says group member Genna Anderson, "I always look forward to scrooge night. I remind myself I'm helping other people. It makes me feel good. That's my motivation for coming to scrooge night."

Midwest

Every couple of months, the junior and senior high groups at the Evangelical Free Church of Adrian and Tecumseh in Adrian, Michigan, get together for Sock Wars. Here's how it works:

Each person comes prepared with two pairs of old socks, knotted into balls. The group is then divided into two teams. The teams head to opposite ends of the church building, and the game begins.

The object of the game is to "kill" as many members of the other team as possible by hitting them with a sock ball. Players start with their two sock balls, but can pick up other socks balls from the floor. After they're hit, players go to the "morgue" (the sanctuary) to wait for a new game to start. When all the players on one team are "dead," the game is over and everyone grabs more socks and starts again.

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