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COSTLY MISTAKES AND THEIR UNFORESEEN CONSEQUENCES
Learn from the mistakes of others

(By Jonathan McKee)

Ever messed up?

I have.

Ever made a decision, forgot a detail, or neglected a concern that you lived to regret?

I have.

Did you learn from it?

I did.

Let's pass some of this knowledge on.

For example. I'll never forget the time that I sent two kids home from camp without contacting their parents. I lived to regret that one!

Two kids had violated one of my big SEND HOME RULES. It was as clear as day that they were to be sent home. But it was late, and after I sent them on their way with one of my staff members . . . I forgot to call their parents. I realized it the next day as we were traveling home. I tried to call them, but didn't get a hold of them.

Monday morning I received a call from the school. The school? Why was I getting a call from the school? I had been trying to gain access to the local jr. high campus for a year and was finally gaining ground with the principal . . . until now.

The principal called me and asked me what happened over the weekend. I didn't know what he was talking about. So he got more specific. "What happened this weekend with the two kids that were almost killed on your trip?"

Okay, I was awake now. "What kids?" 15 minutes later I was up to date. My staff guy had been pretty tired on the way home and was struggling to stay awake. The two kids noted that. When my staff guy finally got to their houses, he just dropped them off and didn't talk with the parents. He assumed I did. The students had their exaggerated story down the next morning. "We were unjustly accused, we almost died 3 times on the way home. Please don't make us go on another one of those awful trips!"

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Tough Kids Are Destroying My Games!

I recently received the following email:

Jonathan,

I'm working with an inner-city youth group that is a real difficult group to work with. One of the most frustrating things is when we try to have fun and play games with them, they end up finding ways to destroy the game or cheat at it so that nobody ends up having fun. I don't really want to take the fun part away, but I don't know what to try that they won't destroy. Any ideas?

Tim

ANSWER:

Tim,

Thanks for the email. Most "tough" kids aren't really excited about games. As a matter of fact, one of the worst things we can do with these kids is say, "Hey, now we're going to play a game!" That's one reason that I came up with THE SEVEN DEADLY SINS OF GAME LEADING

Make sure that your "activities" meet the need you're trying to accomplish. If you've got a room full of junior highers that want to get their energy out, then don't do a game involving 3 people up front. Start with something they all like, involving ALL of them.

One type of game I NEVER use is relays. Think about it. Let's tell kids to get in line, not push or shove, and WAIT, while the guy 9 people in front of him does something stupid.

I find that kid's, even tough kids, don't hate games. They just hate being bored. If we bore them with our activities, we could lose them for the evening.

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