Who doesn’t love a party?! We ended the year at Real Life with a fun-filled holiday party, celebrating a successful first month of programming!
We had three stations representing different holidays. The Kwanza station included making a Mishubaa Siba (Swahili term for the seven candles of Kwanza) out of colored popsicle sticks! At the Hanukkah station, we made dreidels out of milk cartons. At the Christmas station, we played a variety of minute-to-win-it games.
Each of our seven sites organized their holiday parties a little differently, due to the differences in size and energy. At Meadowbrook, we did each activity together as a group. But at Granite Park, for example, we split into three groups and rotated through the different holidays.
At the Hanukkah and Kwanza stations, we had a conversation with the teens about the different traditions of each holiday and the cultural significance of the crafts we were creating.
We all learned that a dreidel is an ancient four-sided spinning top with a Hebrew letter printed on each side (nun, gimel, hay, and shin). These letters form an acronym that means “A great miracle happened there,” referring to the Miracle of the Oil which burned for eight days in the Temple’s menorah!
We also learned about Mishubaa Siba, and that the seven candles of Kwanza symbolize the sun’s light and power. Each candle represents a specific principle; for example, the middle black candle symbolizes umoja, which means unity. Celebrants gather to light one candle each night and discuss the principle of the day! We enjoyed getting messy and testing our creativity with these meaningful crafts.
Of course, we also had conversations with the teens about what special traditions they observed near the end of the year. Many of them enjoyed celebrating the New Year, for example, which is something all of us had in common.
At the Christmas station, we played a variety of hilarious minute-to-win-it games. We will try to explain them here, but you should certainly watch our video above to witness the awesomeness.
The first was called Christmas Cliffhanger. This game included placing 10 holiday cards on a table. One person was supposed to blow them to the edge of the table until they “hung” off. This proved to be incredibly difficult! Of course, we are flexible here at Real Life, so we decided to switch it up. We put the teens in teams to see if they could work together to just get one to hang off the edge of the table. This was still quite a challenge, but our teens had a great time.
Our next challenge: Reindeer Nose Dive! Teens tied a piece of string around their neck with a craft pom at the other end. They then placed a generous amount of petroleum jelly on their noses. Finally, teens had to jolt their entire body to thrust the pom into the air, hoping it would land on their nose! Another difficult challenge, but many were successful. Our Real Life teens are such good sports. They’re up for anything, no matter how silly!
Challenge #3: Merry Fishmas! We placed small candy canes at the end of the table, with the “hooks” facing out. We tied a large candy cane to the end of an unsharpened pencil and used it as our fishing pole! The objective was to “catch” as many small candy canes as you could. Sounds easy, right? We dare you to try it! It’s certainly not as easy as it sounds, but a very fun challenge nonetheless.
Are you ready to Face the Gingerbread? Real Life teens were! The next challenge required students to place a gingersnap on their forehead and use facial movements to transport the cookie down their face and into their mouth. It’s clear our teens had been practicing at home, because they totally rocked this one!
What’s a holiday party without some delicious holiday cookies? For our final activity we channeled our inner cookie decorator and got a little crazy with the sprinkles and frosting! It was interesting to see all of the different creations and designs Real Lifers came up with.
On Friday we had our Intern meeting where we reflected on December programing and also planned the month of January. The first week will be packed with service thanks to our Juan Diego Senior Service Week volunteers! We’re also going snowshoeing near the end of the month — which is going to be a BLAST! Stay tuned for some really exciting activities!