Thursday, November 29, 2012

Ozone takes "Shrek the Musical" by Storm!

Halloween is known for many things. The scares, the candy and the costumes are a notable few. Musical theater, however, is an unusual addition to a list of Halloween festivities 50 students and 14 leaders will now remember every October 31st.
This October, as leaves on trees turned crisp and orange, the Walton Arts Center generously provided tickets for Ozone middle and high school students, as well as leaders and directors, to see Shrek the Musical on the night of Halloween. It was an offer impossible to pass up.

The night of the show came and students met in Fayetteville, Rogers and Bentonville to drive to the Fayetteville performing arts center. Dressed in costumes ranging from storybook characters to superheroes, imaginary friends to athletes, a group of Ozone participants descended on the venue for some pre-show Halloween treats. Much to the delight of kids (and hungry staff members), free soda, candy, popcorn and more were given out generously by WAC’s costumed workers. Soon enough the lights of the lobby were dimmed and everyone knew an incredible show was about to begin. 
It took only a fraction of a second for audience members to be awed by sets and songs, and as the curtain parted, each person began an imaginative and fun journey through a beloved, albeit silly, movie.
Derick, a Bentonville Primetime leader, shared his own experience, “Seeing Shrek made me feel like a kid again! It was so fun to get to watch it with the kids and laugh along with them. The coolest part was the dance party at the end. When "I'm a Believer" came on, everyone stood up and started dancing and acting crazy.”
Everyone absolutely loved the drama and comedy and imagination of the evening’s event. It is always a valuable experience for kids to have their eyes opened to the potential within their minds to be creative and try new things. “Shrek” was without question an agent to creative thought for the kids and leaders who attended Halloween night.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Second Annual Mentoring Program Retreat

On October 27, mentors and mentees hopped on a bus and headed to Camp War Eagle for the second annual Mentoring Program retreat. The day was filled with fun, starting with the exciting, song filled bus trip out to Camp War Eagle. Once at camp, mentees and mentors were welcomed by Mentoring Program Assistant, Whitney Charles, who told them of the plans for the day and woke up anyone who was still a bit sleepy! Those in attendance became excited for the first activity for the day, pumpkin carving in the craft center. There were pumpkins of all shapes, sizes, and designs. A crowd favorite was the pumpkin whose carvers used carved out pieces to craft a crown atop the head of the pumpkin! Pumpkin “Pi” was also a popular creation.

 After pumpkin carving, mentees and mentors went outside into the brisk sunshine to move onto the next harvest themed activity, building scarecrows. Mentors and mentees ripped through haystacks to retrieve the stuffing material necessary for stuffing old shirt and pants. The results were unique! There was an Indian scarecrow, a Justin Beiber scarecrow and more.

After having tons of fun building scarecrows, mentees and mentors enjoyed a camp carnival including a hayride, candy walk, s’more roasting station, miniature golf and inflatables. After hanging out and participating in awesome activities, mentees and mentors got to reenergize with a delicious lunch of hamburgers, cookie cake, chips, salsa and guacamole. The lunch was prepared in part by older student mentees and their mentors. It was an excellent chance for them to learn more about food preparation, while serving the others in a practical way. When lunch was through, mentees and mentors hung out for a bit longer at various activities until the time came for an awards ceremony. The awards were for participation, service during the event and other activities. The award for the best costume went to Kennedy and mentor Emily Trolinger who dressed up as cows, complete with face paint! Emily and Kennedy are one of the newer matches of the Mentoring Program, having been matched earlier this fall. The F.I.T award, a camp tradition that represents putting God first and others before oneself, went to Ryne and Elyssa. The pumpkin carving contest winners were two siblings who are both mentored, Katey and William. The pair creatively used their materials to make a Cat King Pumpkin. In the end, mentors and mentees had tons of fun! It was a great chance for kids and adults to connect with one another over fun activities and bonding moments. We can’t wait until next year for our third annual Mentor/Mentee Retreat! 

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Great Pretenders 2012: Big Hair, Big Dreams

One aspect of the Ozone program that we want to re-emphasize is the arts component. Our passion and pursuit of the arts comes in various forms, some more obvious than others. One of the more obvious forms came last Tuesday, as students showed their passion for the arts as well.
Great Pretenders is our longest running annual event. Combining dance choreography and storytelling, GP is an all-city lip-syncing competition. Students put together acts that go along with popular songs, mouthing the lyrics and conveying a story on stage.
While everyone gets a chance to perform at individual clubs, only one final, winning act from each city age group was allowed to advance to our finals last Tuesday, where even the crowd was in character.
For the pre-show, we redecorated our offices as a Hollywood awards party. There was a red carpet and hanging vinyl records and movie posters that defied all attempts to hang them on the wall. As students stepped off the buses, we shouted and danced and took pictures and asked interview questions. Inside and after the rocking pizza line, we helped students dress up with donated neckties, homemade headbands and so many bottles of hair gel.
As for the show proper, it was our best yet. This year’s winning act was the entire Springdale high school club – the largest act we’ve ever had – performing a melody of nostalgic songs with a Grease-esque overtone. The downside to winning was splitting the 100-dollar prize seventeen ways.
Other winners included Gia Parmer of the Fayetteville Primetime Club, who won Best Choreography for Hey There Delilah, and a collection of primetime students from Springdale who won best costume for One Thing.
By the close of the night, our fifty-plus volunteers gave out over two hundred shirts and we had kids eating whole boxes of pizza to help us clean up. Parents and passers-by were able to watch the spectacle and hear about the work Ozone does. We had thrown countless prizes into the audience, enjoyed the fresh creativity displayed by our students (both onstage and in the crowd), and remembered the true reason Ozone exists: to celebrate the fellowship and community purpose we have in Jesus Christ.

Monday, November 12, 2012

StreetFest, a Neighborly Approach to Halloween

It’s not every day you get 1,200 people in the same place at the same time.  But that’s exactly what happened on October 31st!  StreetFest was a collaborative effort between Camp War Eagle 365 and Mosaic Church of Fellowship Bible Church in Rogers. In the past, the event has taken place on the Fellowship campus, but was relocated to the Jones Center in Springdale this year, making use of the excellent partnership between CWE365 and the Jones Center.  “Turning the silly strategic,” was the phrase coined to cast the vision of the event.  This means the yearly event exists to using silly, wholesome fun as a way to bless, serve and provide a safe environment of fun for local families.

Our goal was to use the incredible space that is the Jones Center to provide a safe, family friendly, and most importantly, FUN atmosphere for the community on the night of Halloween!  Music, flash mobs, inflatables, face painting, hot dogs and insane amounts of candy were only a few of the things contained in great evening. In the opinions of those in attendance, the goal was met without a doubt.

Arianna, a Springdale high school student mentioned, “My little brother said it was his favorite Halloween yet. He had so much fun and got so much candy!” Blanca, a member of Mosaic church recounted, “I never realized how much the Jones Center could be used to meet the needs of the community in Springdale.”

We believe our efforts to serve and provide for our Northwest Arkansas communities will continue to be blessed as they were on Halloween. Current partnerships with the Jones Center are proof of that. We are grateful for opportunities to share hope and provision with our neighbors.
Please check out more photos on our Facebook page.