As you may know from following my blog (past posts linked at end) I’ve been working as a consultant for Awana and Speed Stacks on an exciting project to incorporate Sport Stacking into the Awana Circle Games! The Awana Sport Stacking Kit is now available for churches with Awana Clubs, and this fall the Lord opened the door for me to serve as the Game Leader at my son’s Awana Club so that I could implement this new program first hand.
I decided to wait a month and get to know the club, the leaders and kids a bit before introducing something new – but last night I introduced the concept of Sport Stacking in Awana by introducing the Jumbo Stacks and a few of the games that use the giant cups. If you are a member of my Awana Game Time Facebook Group, you get a link every week to my PDF Game Plan, but if you aren’t, here is a link to my Game Plan for last night. Even if you don’t have an Awana Club, you may enjoy this group as there is a LOT of Game idea swapping going on!
Some instruction on Sport Stacking is important to help kids learn the basics of cup handling so that they can be faster in the long run – and we’ll do that next week – but rather than start with instruction (since kids want to PLAY!) I started with some games that could be done with little instruction since we were using the Jumbos. (I remember announcing Jumbos in 2009!)
If you have the Awana Sport Stacking Kit, we played: Tower Relay (Sparks), Jumbo Pyramid Relay (Sparks and TnT) and Mumbo Jumbo Blast (TnT)! (Cubbies played too, just not official games, see Game Plan linked above.)
Here is an edited video of how the evening went. To keep it short, I edited out a lot of the instruction, but I think it is pretty easy to figure out the rules/game play from watching the kids play.
Here is a video from the Trial Church’s DVD Last Year where I explain the history of why I have been pursuing this partnership between Awana and Speed Stacks and am so excited it is now a reality for churches. (Around 50 churches tested the program last year so we could refine the games and rules before launching nation-wide.)
Which is why I started nicely pestering my friends at both Speed Stacks and Awana years ago about the need for a partnership. After many brain storming meetings with the Sport Stacking experts at Speed Stacks and the Awana Game experts at Awana we have come up with some really fun games for the Awana Circle. Next, we had nearly 50 churches try them out during the last club year, and offer laboratory-tested improvements to make them even better!
If you are looking for a GREAT CLUB,consider Awana! Having an Awana Club as a part of my children’s ministry has always been not only the most effective outreach ministry of the children’s ministry, but of the entire church everywhere I have served.
If you are looking for a GREAT MINISTRY TOOL,check out Speed Stacks! They are fun and effective regardless of what type of ministry club program you are running — kids church, sports camp or whenever kids are at church and looking for something fun to do!
What do you do when you are out with your convertible, enjoying a beautiful day with the top down, and it starts to rain, and THEN you discover that the the automatic top is broken?
I’ve been on the road (well, technically, in the air!) for weeks – speaking at Camp Hartland and Camp Timber-lee, and all the while my convertible has been in the garage with the top down while I’ve been filming in my car DiscipleTown videos for the next series. (How to Navigate the Old Testament, due out Aug. 20th)
So when I pulled out today, I had no idea the top was broken, its been down for a month! I discovered when I was out on a conference call with DiscipleLand after lunch with the family at the mall. I was then meeting at Speed Stacks HQ getting the low-down on some new products (BTW, I am the VERY FIRST non-employee to get a prototype on something I’ll blog about later!) when it started to rain!
What to do? Go home and cut out of an important meeting? Park under a tree? Then the innovative team at Speed Stacks discovered that the back double doors of their building might provide shelter!
Only problem – the door width was 70 inches and my car only fit halfway in the building, it was 75 inches mirror to mirror!
The view from outside
The view from inside
The car only fit in (with LESS than an inch on each side) up to the mirrors, and then we had to put cardboard over the front seat to keep the rain out! But we saved the rest from the rain.
Sometimes in life, you just have to be creative!
If you are an optimist, the car was halfinside!
If you are a pessimist, the car was half out in the rain!
I only suffered a slight scratch when pulling out, but like I told Bob Fox, great memories in life come with a slight price tag!
For the first time ever, I will finally be going to the 2009 WSSA World Sport Stacking Championships, April 18-19 at the Denver Coliseum!
PLUS, I will be LIVE REPORTING from the event via my blog, twitter, facebook and LIVE broadcasts! So you can experience this ultimate Sport Stacking event from anywhere!
Here is some official info:
You should consider going, teams are forming now! Early registration ends Friday, April 3rd
Don’t miss this opportunity for your students to join more than 1,000 stackers of all ages from around the world in beautiful Denver, Colorado for the world’s premier sport stacking event.
This is the second of a series on our Kid U 2008 Celebration Conference. (previous)
It’s no secret to Kidology users that I’ve been a huge fan of Speed Stacks since, well, before I even discovered Speed Stacks! I got my first set of generic stacking cups as my mother’s final Christmas gift to me the year she died of cancer. Her hand written note said, “I’m sure you’ll find a way to use these to entertain and teach kids.” Soon, I had developed my rules and was using cup stacking racing in my ministry. It wasn’t until a CPC several years later that I stumbled upon the booth for Speed Stacks, the premier manufacturer of cup stacking cups and the primary promoter of the Sport of “Sport Stacking.” I immediately signed up to be a member of the WSSA.
While I have never been able to attend the World Championship Tournament in Denver (which has been covered by ESPN) I hope to make it there someday to see if I can’t go home with a trophy. I have competed against a professional football player and won, as well as world champion and legend Emily Fox, as you can see here:
So when it came time to start planning our 10th anniversary Kidology University I quickly decided having a Stacking Competition would be a fan aspect to the conference, as well as help our attendees discover this fun sport for kids that actually can be a VERY effective outreach tool in the church.
I demonstrated Sport Stacking (the official term for the sport) in the opening session, and then folks were able to try it hands on in the exhibit hall.
We brought some kids to the conference to demonstrate and teach the attendees how to Sport Stack and then gave them the opportunity to qualify for a competition in the closing session on Saturday.
After three days of learning, competing and recording scores, only 8 finalists were called upon to compete in the final BattleStack Competition! What is a BattleStack? Only the newest coolest product from Speed Stacks:
When Saturday final arrived, I called up the 8 attendees who had recorded the fastest scores in the exhibit hall to compete on the BattleStack!
Competition was fierce, but it all came down to two clowns. One professional clown, Debbie George from Merry Heart Clowns (one of our trainers) and Pastor Ken Wheeler from Graceland Baptist Church of New Albany Indiana.
Competing against a clown must have been intimidating to Ken…
In fact, it proved to be too much, as Ken got a whoopin’ from a clown!
Who instantly broke into a victory dance all over the stage! Actually, it may have been ME that was intimidated by the clown, because I had promised to challenge the winner of the competition and I completely forgot to race the winner! So we’ll never know whether I would have won or not!
Many thanks to Speed Stacks for sponsoring Kid U and providing the BattleStack games and awesome prizes to our winners. All eight went home with some cool Sport Stacking equipment!
As I always say, “Don’t be a Slacker, be a Stacker!”
I know at many churches I’ve seen Speed Stack cups available to kids, but they often don’t know what to do with them if they’ve not been taught. But with the BattleStack any kids can instantly start to play using the BattleStack cards. What a GREAT GAME to make available for the kids that are early or hanging around afterwards waiting for Mom and Dad to get them! (Hint: you need at least two!)
Had some employee kids hangin’ out in the office today. (No, I don’t employ children, I mean children of an employee!) The Kidology Headquarters is filled with a LOT of toys and props, but playing with Speed Stacks is often the favorite pass time of kids doomed to hang out while mom works. Their favorite thing is building giant towers to… uh, knock over, and build again.
But this time I got into it when they couldn’t reach the top of their tower, and I couldn’t stand to have seven extra cups unused, so I made a single tower and placed it on top.
Here are the proud architects of this Tower of Stacks. Unfortunately, for the cups, they didn’t get to stay stacked for long, as you’ll see in this video:
As I write this I am at One Way Street‘s iFest Conference. (International Festival of Puppetry & Ventriloquism) I’m here for just two days of the week long conference to report on this event for Kidology. I will be publishing a full report on Kidology.org soon in the Kidology Reports Zone, but here are a few teaser pictures and an EXCITING VIDEO at the end!
iFest is a great place to meet other people who love puppets!
And BUY cool new puppets!
(I will be posting my favorites!)
And bring your puppet team (these teens are from Texas!)
And eat great food!
(Chicken Sandwhich and fries, TWO pieces of pizza and TWO cups of Dew…. Oh Yeah, I love this conference!)
The highlight of the evening was getting to see the Black Light Competition in the evening. (There will be highlights via video in the Kidology Report on iFest)
But then I got a big surprise! I was invited to compete in the Sport Stacking competition in the dark by Norm Hewitt, and won the first stack meet with four contestants, and then later, there was a second “semi-final” with four more, who all turned out to be kids. The average scores were 20-30 seconds and I average 12 and under, so I was getting nervous. As much as I like to compete with Speed Stacks, and prefer to win (come on, its ok to admit that!) I was not looking forward to beating a little kid in the “Finals” in front of some 600 plus people. I had images of being booed off the stage and having puppets thrown at me if I beat a kid on stage… but letting him win too obviously wouldn’t give him dignity either… so what to do?
This week I got a fun opportunity to visit an elementary school in a nearby town to teach Sport Stacking to a class of fourth graders. A man in our church volunteers every week in this classroom and brought me in as a special guest. (If you are a student from the class reading this: THANKS for being so fun, it was a fun time for me too! Check out www.toyboxtales.com too, the other site I told you about!)
Here are some pictures, and a COOL VIDEO at the end!
Pastor Karl teaching the Way of the Cups…The eager padawan learners…
Practise makes perfect…
Downstack before moving on…. left to right… no fumbles….
Use both hands…. don’t worry about being fast… learn it right, and you will be fast!
Cup Master Karl expounding on the Secrets of the Cups…
Oh, the great feeling of a good smooth up stack!
A few were already for competition! But remember, your greatest opponent is only yourself! You can always go one hundredth of a second faster!
After the instruction, practise and some competing… I got to my message. When I started making a long row of cups along the table, the room fell silent, and then filled with murmors… ‘He’s going to make a GIANT STACK!’
As I build, I ask the kids to tell me what determines how HIGH the stack can go? The usual answer is ‘how many cups I have.’ Which is the wrong answer. Even if I had a thousand cups (which I probably do!) the height of the stack is determined by the width of the bottom row.
Why is that important? Because in life, CHILDHOOD is when you are building the foundation of your life. I tell the kids that every lesson they learn, every positive character trait they build into their life while they are young, will determine how high and strong and great their life can become. It is very hard to add to your foundation later. I help them figure out that adding just ONE cup will add MANY MORE to the tower, in the tower above, one cup added 30 more! A second cup added only on 30 more, but actually 31, because another cup could be added over the two added rows up… so the more they learn and the more good and right habits they form WHILE THEY ARE young will have life-long good consequences!
Pretty cool stack, huh? Then I point to ONE cup in the bottom center, and say it represents that ONE lesson they didn’t want to learn, that ONE time they decide to disobey, that ONE wrong thing they decide to do, whether it is something illegal, or dangerous or wrong – and ask what would happen to this giant tower if I removed only that ONE cup…..
WATCH THE VIDEO to find out! (QuickTime 9MB) You’ll see the devestating power of one bad decision, or one wrong act, or one important truth of lesson that you ignore or don’t listen to when you are young. Kids need to know they have a choice – no matter what their background or situation – they have a choice on how they want their life to be…. big and strong and impressive like the tower… or… broken and destroyed by one bad mistake.
I end by showing the one cup that brought down the whole tower… and ask them to think about what could be that ‘one cup’ in their life… and encouage them to choose wisely. Listen to their parents, teachers, pastors and others in their life who know and love them!
Last Tuesday evening was our Awana Finale! And what a finale it was! I think it was one of the best we ever did. (and we’ve had some great ones!) But this year we had the clubs enter to some cool music after bursting through a banner with their club name. Sparks ran in to the theme of the Incredibles, Boys Club to the Chicago Bulls anthem, Girls Club to the Summon the Heros Olympic theme, and the JV Krew a funky “Get Ready for This” techno theme. Then we added a bunch of other fun music intros to everything, like theme to Ferris Buler’s Day Off when I came up (Oh Yyyyyeah) and Hail to the Cheif when the Senior Pastor came up to pray. We even had Pirates of the Caribean battle theme when our special speaker came out to give the message after the Pirates Who Don’t Read Anything Toybox tale. (A Pirate known as Long John Underwear, who prefered to go by just Long John!) Anyway, it was a GREAT night!
When I sit back and daydream about the year, here are a few of the memories that drift through my mind’s eye….
I am personally convinced that one person can be a change catalyst, a “transformer” in any situation, any organization. Such an individual is yeast that can leaven an entire loaf. It requires vision, initiative, patience, respect, persistence, courage, and faith to be a transforming leader.
~ Stephen R. Covey