This post will sound like I’m “advertising” something, which I sort of am, but I promise I’m not getting a dime for saying good stuff about this game.
If you’re like me, you’re always on the lookout for activities that just about every middle school student can participate – and that aren’t lame! 9 Square in the Air might be just what you’re looking for. Not only that, the inventor is a middle school pastor!
If you haven’t heard of it, you really need to check out this web site: http://www.9squareintheair.com. I’m fired up about this because our students have been playing it every week for the past 2 months, and the intrigue just continues to rise. Seriously – it’s fantastic… and easy for almost every middle schooler to play, whether they’re super-athletic, or not-so-much!
We introduced this game to our students at our summer camp in June. It’s become such a huge hit in our middle school ministry that I decided to call the guy who invented it — and found out that he’s been a youth pastor for 15 years, and the last 10 of those specifically working with Jr. Highers!
His name is Steve Otey, and his church is in a suburb of St. Louis. A number of years back, he had a group of students in his ministry who loved to play volleyball … and another group of students who loved to play 4- (or 9-) square every week. Every time he tried to get the volleyballers to play 4 square, or vice versa, he got resistance – so he hatched the idea of combining the 2 games.
Even though I think this invention makes Steve Otey a little like the Steve Jobs of youth ministry games, he says that his passion is really all about youth ministry – which is very clear as you talk with him.
He tells his students “if you can put 2 hands above your head… or even just let a ball bounce off your head… you can play”! And for me, it’s been a blast to see a 4’6” middle school eliminate a 6’6” leader. Every week for the last 2 month, students are lined up to play. We even had a parents-open-house one week, and parents jumped in, too.
You already know that a good game can be a great “connector” for middle schoolers & leaders. If it fits in your budget, you’ve gotta check this thing out. (or use Steve’s “kit”, and make your own, like we did!)