When a Viking, an Egyptian king, and a flamingo get together to eat ice cream, toss a chicken, and test their geography skills, National Youth Conference organizers call it a success.
A Brethren Block Party held Sunday afternoon, July 22, gave 14 organizations within the Church of the Brethren the chance to teach NYC participants about their values and purposes through games and informational booths, while the youth and their advisors had a great time. (Find a photo album from the block party at www.bluemelon.com/churchofthebrethren/sundayjuly22.)
“The purpose of the Brethren Block Party was to make people aware of all the different organizations across the denomination and what they do,” said Trevor, a member of the National Youth Cabinet that helped plan the activity.
Of course, ice cream is a staple when Brethren youth hang out. More than 1,600 cups of vanilla, chocolate, and strawberry ice cream and 100 popsicles were served.
“The goal was to get youth and advisors to mix with one another on a Sunday afternoon. We wanted them to have fun and learn a little bit about Brethren agencies and organizations,” said Christy Waltersdorff, who worked with the cabinet to plan the event.
“This has been very successful,” she said. “Just look around at how they are not just playing games, but standing and talking together.”
Games and booths
-- Bethany Seminary had a golfing game, a huge Connect 4, a ring toss, corn holes, and lots of information and goodies to share.
-- Brethren Benefit Trust hosted a photo booth with hats and costumes (hence the Vikings, flamingos, and Minnie ears).
-- Brethren Disaster Ministries offered literature about their many services to those in crisis.
-- Brethren Higher Education Association’s game was tossing softballs into milk pails, and the representatives of the church-related colleges and universities handed out literature and carabiners.
-- Brethren Press’s game was throwing a ball into a “25 Days to Jesus: Advent Calendar for Kids” stand-up display for a prize.
-- Brethren Volunteer Service had a corn hole game and cutaways for photos, and BVS also challenged youth to do something to serve someone else. Those who made the commitment were rewarded with a purple buffer. A large map of the globe was sliced into pieces and participants were asked to put them back into order, and then asked to “Serve the World.”
-- Dunker Punks had a broadcasting set up for a podcast.
-- Among the districts that sponsored a game or booth, the Northern Plains District plastic chicken toss got a little out of hand.
-- The Office of Global Mission and Service asked youth a 21 question survey, and had a global map on which participants matched numbers with BVS project sites, international Church of the Brethren denominations, and locations of Global Mission workers.
-- The Office of Ministry invited participants to draw what ministry means to them.
-- The Office of Peacebuilding and Policy did face-painting in the shapes of hearts and crosses.
-- On Earth Peace had a “fishing for peace” game and bumper stickers for the winners.
-- The Outdoor Ministries Association hosted an aerial nine-square game, a variation on the traditional four-square with tall poles over which players hit and pushed the ball in the air rather than on the ground.
-- The NYC Press Team (Church of the Brethren communications) had two giant Jenga games. When someone pulled a block marked with a number, they answered a “Would You Rather” question.
“I loved learning about the world and becoming more conscious about our current state of the world and how Brethren are helping.”
-- Zachary from Illinois
“Identifying the geographic areas. I felt I was good at it and got 18 of the 21 questions.”
-- Derek from Indiana
“The Dunker Punks Podcast was my favorite. I liked being able to communicate with other people about how I feel about the community.”
-- Maddie from Indiana
“Connect 4 was very competitive, but after the game was over we came back together. After it was done, we realized it was just a game.”
-- Madison from Florida
-- Mary Dulabaum and Allison Dulabaum contributed this report.
Members of the NYC 2018 Press Team contributed to this reporting. The team includes Laura Brown, Allie Dulabaum, Mary Dulabaum, Nevin Dulabaum, Eddie Edmonds, Russ Otto, Frank Ramirez, Alane Riegel, Glenn Riegel, and Cheryl Brumbaugh-Cayford, director of News Services for the Church of the Brethren.