Out here in Buffalo every one is juiced up about the success of the Buffalo Sabres, (NHL!). Buffalo is a huge sports community and many here in B-Lo eat, sleep, and breathe this team.
One of the coolest things about winter, (get it – ‘coolest’) is looking forward to hockey. Here’s how we used this hysteria to get kids to our Youth Center. Of course this event can be catered to your favorite local sports team; just switch out all the Sabres talk below for your own team.
- Encourage kids to wear their team’s jerseys. If they don’t have a jersey they can represent with shirts, caps, face paint or tats, (ok maybe skip the tattoos). Award a prize for most team spirit; call it the ‘Fan Addict’ award or something catchy.
- Crazy Contests! We had some games during the night when the kids were mingling:
Original idea by Dan Manns
Get your students into groups for this game. Show the students jerseys of your team’s players (pictures of jerseys will do too, or better yet, make this a Power Point game) with the names missing off the back and only numbers showing. The students have to guess the missing name of each player (if your students are BIG fans, then have them guess without help, otherwise do the multiple choice thing, especially if you have lots of non-fans just there for the sake of being where everyone is.)
NAME THAT PLAYER
Randomly place pictures of your sports team’s players (headshots work well, so do action shots) around your building in places that students will be around throughout the night. Tell the students that there are X number of pictures in the building and that throughout the night it’s their job to find as many as they can and identify the player based on the picture. Collect the participating student’s answers towards the end of the night and decide a winner based on the number of right answers (for ties simply put the tied papers into a bag and draw one out). Give out a prize to the winning student (candy, a ball from the sport you are celebrating, or make this a Grand Prize game and offer something big like a sports video game or even a video game system!)
THE ACCURACY CONTEST
Set up a hockey net with a nylon sheet covering the opening of the net. The sheet had a picture of a goalie and holes cut out in it. Kids had 10 shots to try to score as many goals as they could.
Make this one work for you:
FOR FOOTBALL – a sheet with holes for a throw to a receiver for football, or maybe a field goal post constructed from PVC pipe set-up outside.
FOR BASEBALL – have a throwing contest with holes where the catcher’s mitt would be.
FOR BASKETBALL – have games of horse, 21 or knockout going on all night. Just spread the word to your church that you are in need of basketball goals for the night, most goals nowadays are the portable kind and can easily be transported to your church parking lot or even into your church auditorium or gym.
Just remember to have adult supervision at these types of activities throughout the night.
SPORTS TRIVIA GAME
Get students together into groups and simply conduct a sports trivia game of your own making (PowerPoint works great for this type of game!) complete with multiple choice answers and all. Simply ask the questions and give students time to answer all of them, then go back over the answers with the students and pick a group winner based on correct answers.
Make sure to have a tie-breaker question! Often times you’ll find you have brilliant students and end up with ties at the end. Simply invite one student from each group that is tied to come up, show them the tie-breaker trivia question on the screen and the first one to give the right answer wins!
Have multiple prizes for the winning group (a box of donuts, pizza or a bunch of candy works great!).
VIDEO GAME TOURNAMENT
What student doesn’t want to show off their skills at the latest Madden football game, MLB Baseball or NHL games! Just hook up at least two video game systems (most parents will let you borrow their student’s systems for the night), take sign-ups while students are arriving and then organize the tournament and let it play itself out. Students will be crowded around the TVs cheering on their friends and “ooooh”ing and “aaaah”ing at the skills on display.
- Cool prizes. We raffled off a bunch of prizes but the highly coveted item of the evening was a pair of tickets to a game. We contacted the team and they donated a bunch of great gifts – autographed sticks, pucks, jerseys and caps. Contact your local team or solicit donations from season’s ticket holders.
This is an incredible way to promote your event too…collect the donations a week or so ahead of time and then spread the word about the prizes! Kids will be amped up about the whole thing and their friends will too!!!
- Decorate your meeting area. Remember to get a team together to handle this for you! You can use posters, team colors, old programs, memorabilia, etc. to decorate.
- Get your A/V team involved. You can get real creative here. Our team created a really great slide show of Sabres highlights and during the show they played an audio CD with play-by-play of famous and significant Sabres’ goals of the past.
- If you feed them they will come. We had pizza which we practically gave away and free pop (sorry, I mean ‘soda’). Whatever works for you!
- The Message. Consider contacting a Christian athlete to share the message if your budget allows. Even better, if he or she plays on the team that you are promoting. If not, prepare a message using the sport as an object lesson. ‘Give blood, Play Hockey’ was the title of my message. During a recent Sabres game one of our best players went down with a knee injury after a cheap hit by an opposing player. Then another Sabre teammate stepped in to defend his fallen comrade. It was fresh in everyone’s minds so I used that as an illustration to talk about the Devil, (the cheap shot guy who tries to take us out) and Christ, (the one who steps in on our behalf). There are a millions ways you could take it!
I think you get the idea! It’s a fun and easy to prepare event that is sure to be a success if you pray and plan well!