Qubits

Qubits

Qubits is a STEM/STEAM style building set created by Lisa and Mark Burginger. This toy is produced in North Carolina and is a great addition to any youth program. Qubits are fantastic building tools for Preschool/Elementary/Middle/High School aged students. This is also a great staff training tool to build teamwork and communication. STEM/STEAM building kits like Qubits can teach simple lessons like cause and effect, and help students develop skills that will support them in their future studies and careers, both in STEM and other fields. Through STEM and STEAM, students can learn to solve problems through teamwork, data collection and analysis, and their own curiosity. Qubits has been part of 160 Donors Choose projects that have added up to over $120,000! They have won several awards and even been on Shark Tank. To learn more about Qubits, visit their website at www.qubitstoy.com. Their products are also available on Amazon www.amazon.com/qubits. 

I will add Qubits to the Vendor section on my website. I also have a Resource Zone if you need more fun ideas to help your program 1 percent better!

 

Bread And Butter Monday!

Bread And Butter Monday!

I always love a good camp song! Have you heard of Bread and Butter Monday? Check this video out and add to any program with staff or kids! You can freestyle and create any verse you want for each day of the week. Check the lyrics below.

Repeat a After Me Song...
Today Is Monday
Bread And Butter Monday’
Is Everybody Happy?
Well that’s what I say!

Today Is Tuesday
Taco Tuesday
Bread and Butter Monday’s
Is Everybody Happy?
Well that’s what I say!

Today Is Wednesday
Wild Out Wednesday
Taco Tuesday
Bread And Butter Monday’s
Is Everybody Happy?
Well that’s what I say!

Today Is Thursday
Throwback Thursday
Wild Out Wednesday
Taco Tuesday
Bread And Butter Monday’s
Is Everybody Happy?
Well that’s what I say!

Today is Friday
Payday Friday
Throwback Thursday
Wild Out Wednesday
Taco Tuesday
Bread And Butter Monday’s
Is Everybody Happy?
Well that’s what I say!

Today is Saturday
Netflix Saturday
Payday Friday
Throwback Thursday
Wild Out Wednesday
Taco Tuesday
Bread And Butter Monday’s
Is Everybody Happy?
Well that’s what I say!

Today is Sunday
Hallelujah Sunday
Netflix Saturday
Payday Friday
Throwback Thursday
Wild Out Wednesday
Taco Tuesday
Bread and Butter Monday’s
Is Everybody Happy?
Well that’s what I say!

I will upload this to the Resource Zone on my website. Check this out for more great songs and ideas to make your program fire!

Feel The Love Week!

Image may contain: 2 people, people standing

One of my favorite times of the year is approaching! It is time for “Feel The Love Week”. It’s time to show appreciation to all the people in your programs and ways to think about the people behind the scenes. One of my favorites is “Carnations for Moms/Dads/Caregivers” during youth sports. The parents drive them to every practice and game, and are definitely their biggest fan. We like to do the carnations so the kids can make them smile, and teach them to love on their parent/caregiver just a little more that week. Kids love this, and the it is so cool to see how happy they get to show a little love during youth sports.

I love my custodians, and now with a YMCA facility operating 7 days a week, you really see how hard it is to keep a building clean and organized. We do many of our programs inside schools and churches. It is important to take the time to say thank you and do something nice for these staff. We have done YMCA swag, coffee, food, and even a simple handwritten thank you card works too. It’s taking the TIME to show these staff you genuinely care and are appreciative of the many things they do behind the scenes to help your program out. School administration/Church leadership are the same. Show some support to them as they have to handle problems every day and just need to know that you are appreciative of them and their support.

Love on your staff! They are the people that make the magic happen day in and day out. Find ways to show appreciation, and sometimes it is just telling them in person or a hand written note. Put away the emails or text messages this month. Tell people you appreciate them. The week of February 10th-14th is a great time to do “Feel The Love” week, but honestly anytime during this month is great. Take time to plan it out and continue to think of fun ways besides food. Listed below are a few ideas I posted last year….

  1. Hand written thank you cards to all of your staff with a small box of chocolates.
  2. Breakfast, Lunch, or Dinner out with your Site Coordinators or key staff member(s) that help you plan the program behind the scenes.
  3. Hot Chocolate/Coffee at Rides In (Morning Program Drop Off for Parents/Teachers)
  4. Work with school, and see if you can push a snack cart through the school with Water, Drinks, and Snacks to deliver to classrooms.
  5. Doughnuts for Dads (Invite Dad’s In!)
  6. Muffins for Moms (Invite Mom’s In!)
  7. Granola for Grandparents (Invite Grandparents In!)
  8. Kids pick all the activities for the week. They are in charge.
  9. Kids write thank you cards to janitors and school administration.
  10. Flower for all the parents.
  11. Theme gifts for staff. Find out their favorite candy or snack.
  12. YMCA or your company/church logo swag. Coffee cup, T-Shirt, Hat, Water Bottle, etc..
  13. Pie In The Face Drawing each day for the kids. Invite the principal to pie in the face a staff member.
  14. Contract with a car detailer, and have all of your staff car’s cleaned during work.
  15. Food truck come out to your program and serve your staff/school!
  16. Surprise staff meeting. Instead of meeting, do something fun like laser tag, putt putt, dodge ball game, escape room, etc…

I will include this in the Resource Zone under Youth Programming on my website. Feel free to comment or share any ideas you have. I bet this list could be even longer!

 

Every Life Has A Story

When I was at the YMCA Campfire Conference a few weeks ago, Jude Dooley one of the speakers referenced this video. It has been out for a long time, I have never seen it, and wanted to share this with you. This is a great resource to use for a devotion or community builder with your staff or volunteers so they can reflect on their day to day job working alongside people.Chick-fil-A created this video to remind us that everyone we interact with has a chance to create a remarkable experience. Think about your own story and how has this impacted who you are.

“Every life has a story.. if we only bother to read it” – Dan Cathy. A video we created to remind us that everyone we interact with is a chance to create a remarkable experience.

I will add this to the Devotions list in the Resource Zone. If you follow this blog, or have been seeing posts related to YMCA Campfire Conference, this is the last one I have. I wanted to be able to share some of the great things I heard and saw. The 2021 conference will be in early January and will be in Black Mountain, NC at the YMCA Blue Ridge Assembly again. If you work with youth, you should definitely go! A great way to connect with other youth professionals and gain new ideas for your program.

Mission Mondays

Image result for missionmonday.com

It is not Monday, but these guys have a mission for you each week to help improve your school, company, or YOUTH PROGRAM! I heard these two speak at the YMCA Campfire Conference last week, and heard some awesome key takeaways to make your program 1 percent better. Mark Johnson and Sam Stecher created MissionMonday.com and have some helpful resources for you to use. The Mission will appear every Monday!

One of my favorite things I heard them say is the quote in the picture above, “It Happens In The Hallway.” Everyday we pass people in our youth programs. They are our participants, staff, parents of the participants, and if you work offsite at a school they are your teachers, custodians, and principals. We should be greeting them with a smile, a hello, and asking them how they are doing. It is free to do. It can change their day. So that’s a simple challenge from this post, how are you walking down your hallway?

A few weekly missions they talked about the YMCA Campfire Conference that I loved  were It’s Our Trash, Thank You Chef, and Drinking Fountains.

  1. It’s Our Trash – They had a motto at their school that if they ever saw trash on the ground, you would throw it away. They trained their staff on this and told their kids that this is their school and this is the place that they reside everyday for 8 hours. So if you are working in a youth program, train your staff and kids to do this. Set aside time each day and play the Mission Impossible theme song over the speakers of your school or camp.
  2. Thank You Chef – When students ask for food, they say “May I please have some more?” or “Thank you for my food” when going through the line. Always taking the time to thank the staff that are preparing the food each day.  So if you are working in a youth program, you can have different age groups/huddles assigned to thanking someone at your program. Custodians, Lifeguards, etc…
  3. Drinking Fountain – For that week, he would ask the kids “May I offer you in a free tasty beverage. It is totally free, paid by the lovely taxpayers of this community.” The kids would look at him like he was crazy, but this simple gesture of holding the water fountain for anyone to take a drink took off! Kids didn’t know what to do with their hands and lines formed. This simple gesture and making something fun, changed the outlook of those students that day. So if you are working in a youth program, you can think of ways to better serve your participants. Do the water fountain, take their stuff to their car for them, something to show that you really care and watch the conversations/relationships improve.

There are tons of others, but this is how Mission Mondays work. You have a focus for the week, and you can help change the culture of your program. Have a plan, take action! This doesn’t happen overnight, you have to invest into the participants and staff. Check them out on their website. They have a podcast as well. I will add this to the Resource Zone on my website.

Creating A Safe and Inclusive Environment

Image result for giga tent pop up

I just came back from the YMCA Campfire Conference in Black Mountain and went to a workshop called “Camp For All” lead by Eli Cochran from Camp Ernst. One of the key takeaways I saw was something simple called a GigaTent Portable Pop Up Changing room. In any youth program, as you look to create more safe and inclusive spaces, this is an easy win. These portable pop ups are only $18.69 on Amazon. Kids need privacy, and the more spaces you can have for them to change clothes, the safer your program becomes. This also speeds up your changing time too! Staff will appreciate the efficiency. One of the participants in the room said he had great experience with this. He partnered with his local Bass Pro Shops, and they donated several of these to his camp. This is a great idea! Work closely with your local community, and see who would be willing to help make your programs even more safe and inclusive.

Three of my other favorite things to help build a safe and inclusive environment are Headphones for Assembly, Fidgets, and Picture Schedules. These are all simple and cheap additions you can add to your program.

1.Headphones for Assembly (Large Group Gathering) – When your camp and staff all come together, it can be very loud and overwhelming.  Buy some headphones and have available for the kids that need it. You can encourage parents to bring them as well, but sometimes it is easiest for them to grab them right at camp especially during busy transition times from activity to assembly. These headphones are under $10, and are called Dr. Meter.

2. Fidgets – Kids have trouble keeping their hands to themselves. Sometimes new, crowded, or loud places can give kids anxiety or make them nervous. A great way to help is to have fidgets and a quiet space at your program for them. This is a good one that is inexpensive from Fabquality.

3. Picture Schedules – Sometimes moving from space to space can be overwhelming and make the child feel uneasy. A picture schedule is something that you can do to show the child what is next. Having the visual and saying this more than once helps ease that anxiety and nervousness. Find out from the child what their favorite thing is. If the like Pokemon, use their favorite character on the schedule. For example, they can move their Pikachu from the bathroom to the gym or gym to the field. This is a sample picture schedule to give you an idea off of Etsy. You can make your own as well!

There are many ideas to help with creating safe and inclusive environments. These are just a few that I enjoy using and have been effective. Always partner with the parent, talk to the teacher, and anyone else that can be helpful. You are not alone, and need their help. See if you have local community partners that can help guide you and find out how to connect the parent to that resource.

Check out the resource zone on my website for more fun ideas. I will be highlighting some more YMCA Campfire Conference Ideas in the next few posts. I want to share these awesome things with you!

 

QB54!

It’s the NFL Playoffs, and if you are looking for a fun football game, check this out! I love finding new ideas and came across QB54! Michael and Frank Silva are from New Jersey and invented this cool game. It actually started when they were 9 and 12 years old using 2 garbage cans. They called it the “QB Thanksgiving Classic”. So recently when these two got together for Thanksgiving, they decided to to take this game to another level. Frank decided to incorporate the chair into this game for a dual purpose. The 54 in this game is for the first team that scores 54 wins. There is no specific reason for 54, it just felt right to them, and most games end in 54 when they have played. They started this officially in 2016 and haven’t looked back yet.

So how do you play QB54?

1) Set Chairs in Game Mode

2) Set Chairs approximately 40 feet apart, or adjust according to skill level

3) Game can be played one vs one or 2 vs. 2

– When one vs. one – players are playing from opposite sides

– When 2 vs. 2 – teammates are on opposite sides

4) Players Alternate Throws.

5) Hit the Chair on a Fly – Player/Team gets 3 points

6) Player throws ball into basket (touchdown) – Player/Team gets 6 points

7) Score touchdown, kick for extra point. Earn an Extra Point by kicking through goal posts. Win game if your kick goes into the hole/basket.

8) If the ball bounces on the ground from the throw and lands in the basket, the offensive team gets 2 points.

9) Defending team can earn 3 points if they catch a rebound from the chair before it hits the ground. Defending team must allow the ball to hit the chair first.

10) Switch sides when the leading team reaches 12 pts, 24 pts, 36 pts, 48 pts

11) First team to reach 54 wins ! (Gotta win by 2). Losing team gets last licks, one throw.

This is a great game to use in any youth program, physical education class, or just having fun with your staff. You can purchase this game from multiple retailers including Amazon for $99.99. Check out qb54.com for more information! I will include this game in my vendor section on my website. I also have tons of ideas in the Resource Zone to make your program 1 percent better!