This is a non-sponsored promotional post for the Pittsburgh Youth Workers Conference.
So, I am all about youth workers and great training opportunities that help them do what they do better. I personally have had a long time relationship with another youth workers convention that has helped to shape me as a youth worker. As a youth worker, I have treasured opportunities to learn, grow, and develop my skills in administration, planning, and proclaiming the truth of God's word.
I have also written a number of blog posts encouraging youth workers to seek out opportunities for training, equipping, resourcing, and rest. We minister to a culture who is constantly growing and changing; I believe we need to be always working to grow and adapt so we can remain effective.
This Friday, October 26th, I will join with youth workers from around the Western PA area for the Pittsburgh Youth Workers Conference. Now in it's fifth year, PYWC is expecting to welcome over 200 youth workers, along with featured speakers Josh McDowell, Bob Lenz and Duffy Robbins.
This one day conference will include 3 general sessions with worship, led by local worship band, Red Letter Hymnal, 15 breakout session led by local, in the trenches youth workers, lunch, and the opportunity to visit with this year's sponsoring organizations.
Here's the deal, this will be my first PYWC. Really! Over the last couple of years, PYWC had fallen on weekends where I have had a conflict, so I haven't been able to go. But, now that I am going, I am really looking forward to seeing PYWC for myself! I love that PYWC includes both nationally recognized speakers and local youth workers.
"We love bringing in nationally-known speakers because of the excellent content they bring but we really get excited because doing that provides a platform for local youth pastors who are doing an incredible job to share some area of expertise that they have with their fellow youth pastors." Travis Deans.
Travis Deans and Doug Raraigh, along with Jayson Samuels got the ball rolling in 2014. That year, 100 youth workers gathered to hear from Duffy Robbins and Terry Thomas. Today, Travis and Doug welcome Duffy Robbins to their team and look forward to welcoming this year's attendees.
The 2018 PYWC will take place on Friday, October 28, at Christ Church at Grove Farm in Sewickley, PA. Organizers are looking to welcome between 200 and 250 youth workers, and I will be among them. From talking with Travis Deans, there is still room if you have not already registered.
The cost for the conference is $40 per person. That comes with 10 free tickets to the evening session with Duffy Robins. A Chick-fil-A lunch is part of the registration, and who doesn't like Chick-fil-A?
Let me encourage you to join me and a couple hundred fellow youth workers for the Pittsburgh Youth Workers Conference. It will be a day of training, networking, equipping, worship, and fellowship! Click on the link below and register for PYWC, check out the days schedule, and take a look at this year breakout session speakers.
And, look for me, I'll be there.
I had the opportunity to speak to a group of students at a Fall Retreat hosted by Pine Springs Camp, in Jennerstown, PA. Pine Springs runs a retreat called, The BIG One, for Junior and Senior High students. Along with a speaker, the weekend includes 2 workshops; one for the Junior High and one for the Senior High. I was asked to speak to the Senior High students.
The theme for the weekend was, Next Step. Our scripture passage was Philippians 3:7-8, our discussion was focused around Jesus being our everything. I spoke from verses 1-11, and encouraged the students to consider what they were living for.
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This is a new spin on an old youth group classic. Suck it, also known by a bunch of other names, is a classic. The premise, with a straw, suck up a marble and move it from one container to another container. Halloween Suck It has the same goal only we're using coco puff cereal instead of marbles.
To win the game, students needed to have the most coco puffs in their bucket. So out the end of each round, we counted up the coco puffs and declared a winner.
It's such a simple game yet our students had a blast. Using the pumpkin buckets and the coco puff were a great halloween twist.
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Watch this short video of Halloween Suck It
3 Great Game Books
Thanks to my friend and co-youth worker, Dave N. Dave is a great "gamer". He creates and finds some of the best games we've played with our students. So happy to be able to work with him.
Be sure to keep checking back as I add more and more games, ideas and resources.
Thanks for reading.
Today I am heading out to meet with a group of youth workers from our denomination. I love meeting with youth workers to hear what God is doing in their youth ministry. Networking is an important part of being a youth worker. We need to have those relationships to encourage, challenge and support each other.
Thanks for watching today's vlog.
Thanks for watching!
It's one of my favorite games for the Halloween/Fall season. It's a little messy, a little gross, and a whole lot of fun! Pumpkin Puzzles! Easy to prep. Easy to play. And so much fun to watch.
The Halloween season can be a fun time with Halloween and Fall themed games. This month of October, we are bringing in the seasonal fun with games that use some of the items we think about when we think Fall.
One of the first games is one that I came up with a number of years ago. I was planning a pumpkin themed costume party for our students. I wanted every game to utilize a pumpkin ins some way. I surfed the internet for ideas, but I could find enough game ideas that would fill our time or involved more than simply smashing, rolling, or pitching. So I cleared my desk and just started thinking.
1. Get your pumpkins
You're going to need a number of large, jack-o-lantern style pumpkins that are approximately all the similar sizes. In the Fall, pumpkins are in ample supply. Just run to your grocer or local farm. I purchased my pumpkins at Aldi's for about $3.00 each. Since this game is best played with teams, be sure to have one pumpkin per team.
Before the students arrive, cut the pumpkins up into puzzle-like pieces with unique angle or Tetris-like features. Don't make the cuts too small or intricate. You might find the pumpkin difficult to take a part and reassemble. keep track of how many pieces you cut so that each pumpkin has the same number of pieces to reassemble with. Don't worry about the contents, they can stay adding a gross, slimy aspect to the game.
Note: to help with set up and clean up, I covered the tables with plastic table clothes and used hard plastic trays for the pumpkins. If you are on carpet, you might want to put down drop clothe to keep the deacons happy.
2. The Game
Set up for this game is pretty easy. I think it took me 15-20 minutes to cut up four large pumpkins into 11 piece each. Just have a sharp knife on hand to cut through the pumpkin skin. to give your students an incentive to complete the task, award the winning team with a prize like Reese's Chocolate Covered Peanut Butter pumpkins, or Bach's Pumpkin Candies!
Clean up is fairly easy as well. If you cover the tables with plastic, simply roll everything up in the plastic and put it into a trash bag. But don't leave the trash in your building. Make sure it reaches a dumpster. You don't want the pumpkins rotting and smelling up the church or your youth room.
Here's a short video our my students playing Pumpkin Puzzles!
If you decide to play the game, let me know what you think! How did it go? What did you learn? Any fun variation you created? Share in the comments below! And thanks for reading the blog! There are plenty more ideas, games, resources, and content coming in the future! And, subscribe to the YouTube channel for more videos and content for your youth ministry!
Jay Higham is a veteran youth worker of over 28 years; having worked with students in the local church and Christian camping settings. Jay is currently serving as the director of family ministry at a church, located in West Virginia. Jay has been married to Amy for over 23 years. Together, they are raising 5 kids, (4 boys and 1 girl). Jay is an aspiring author, blogger, speaker, vlogger, and social media junkie. He is passionate about student ministry, family ministry, and training youth workers to love and serve their students with passion and excellence.