Thursday, March 28, 2013

Primetime Student Blog: Emmie

Emmie C is a 7th grader at Lincoln Junior High School in Bentonville. Since 2010, she has consistently attended the Ozone program in Bentonville. Emmie is outgoing and kind to others, always making friends and welcoming others to the program. She is always sharing ideas and insights during small group and encouraging others. Recently we asked her to tell us more about why she loves Ozone.
I came to Ozone because I was very outgoing and I had art to express myself. Ozone is a place where it’s okay for you to show your true colors. You aren’t judged for being yourself. Small groups are like family; We talk about our day and how to make it better. We grow and live as a family. We laugh, but we are also serious when it comes to talking about the Gospel (the birth, life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ) and about the way Jesus lived his life.
Coming to Ozone has changed my life because at Ozone no one judges you by your background or your family. Everybody cares about one another and I know that during this age where kids change and personalities change, its crucial to have additional positive influences (because all kids know they would, at times, rather hear it from a leader than their parents). There are times where everyone has a bad day, but people at Ozone always cheer you up. You can tell anything to a leader and they won't judge you or go around spreading it to others. They check on you and make sure everything is going okay. If you have any questions about anything they always have an answer and if they don't they will find one. The leaders are excellent role models for any kid. 
Emmie and girls from her small group, at Spring Break Retreat
In ten years I see myself being a leader within a Bible group or Ozone or camp leader. I will remember how to be and act as a leader from my leaders at Ozone. I will take what I learn and apply it to daily life.  I will remember to treat everyone the same and if someone needs extra help or questions I will try to give a thorough answer. 

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Springdale Girls' Day Out

The following was written by Springdale Primetime leaders Molly Kurtz and Michelle Lee. Former counselors at Camp War Eagle, the University of Arkansas students devote their time to the CWE365 program every week.

Primetime Girls with Molly and Michelle
It was a cold Saturday morning at the end of February and the day for our small group’s Girls’ Day Out had finally arrived!  We were so excited to see our girls outside of Primetime and by the smiles and energy they had, they seemed excited about their special day too!  We started with eating pizza and the girls started talking and getting to know each other better, especially the ones who went to different schools.  The first activity we had planned for the girls were making a homemade facemask (made of unflavored gelatin and milk) and a sugar scrub to make their hands really soft!  While applying the facemasks, we warned the girls that it might hurt a little to take off and ended up being really fun to apply it and wait for the mask to turn hard before removing it! Next we did hair, makeup, and nails and we let each girl choose which hairstyle she wanted.  Several of the girls wanted lots of curls, which took a long time, but it was definitely worth their patience when they saw the final result!  While waiting to get hair and makeup done, we had a dance party as we jammed out to some random funny YouTube videos, a CWE playlist from last year and Pandora Christian Hits Station.  They also picked out some of the silly props like tutus, boas, jewelry, and more for their pictures!  When each girl was finally done with hair, makeup and nails, we had a photo shoot planned for the group around the Jones Center.  All of the girls got individual shots with her props of choice and we had lots of hilarious group shots around the Jones Center as well.  They were so creative with posing and staging themselves for some more professional pictures and some funny pictures. We had decided to have the hang out with our small group to make the girls feel special and pampered. It was so important for us to teach them life lessons concerning care for personal hygiene. We also gave them some thrifty options for beauty products, so they know they don't have to spend more than they should in order to take care of themselves! The girls were able to make their own hand scrub and face mask. The girls loved it and so did we! It was a great afternoon filled with beautiful girls showing their true colors, building relationships, and just having fun! 

Monday, March 11, 2013

Ozone Experiences the Magic of "Potted Potter"

Written by students in Fayetteville.

Close to 16 years ago, the Harry Potter books started taking the world by storm. Since the release of the first novel, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, the books have gained immense popularity, critical acclaim and commercial success worldwide.
Now I haven’t read not even one of the books because I am more of a visual learner. But as I did see every movie, all in less than 3 days I might add—I had to see what all the fuss was about. But you don’t have to be a Harry Potter fanatic to enjoy some good old fashion comedic parody. And that’s just what a group of high school Ozone students and leaders got a taste of on February 17th at the Walton Arts Center in Fayetteville. Potted Potter is a hilarious performance from comedic duo Dan and Jeff that takes the audience on an adventure through all seven Harry Potter Books. Through the telling of the saga, Dan and Jeff even let the audience play a game of Quidditch modified by a setup of two lit-up hoops and a beach ball for the crowd to knock it in. Half of the crowd was the infamous Slytherin and half were Griffyndor. They even called two young kids up on stage to be “seekers” to catch the golden snitch, which was played by one of the cast members in a large, spherical, golden suit. It was awesome to see just how unique people could be with a performance. There were so many unexpected and surprising aspects to the play. How inspiring it is to see that there are tons of new ideas, waiting to be had! Performances like this are a challenge to continue seeking after the creative process in everything we do.
After the show, three high school students Baylea, Brett and Jessie got a chance to hangout at a nearby coffee shop with Dana Bodenner, a volunteer with the CWE365 program in Fayetteville. “We walked to Arsaga’s and got some coffee and fresh squeezed lemonade. It was a beautiful day so we talked for hours. We just kind of got to know each other better and told interesting facts about one another,” said the girls of their time. Any time we are provided with an exciting opportunity, like Potted Potter, it always results in great relationship building.
The Walton Arts Center has so generously and thoughtfully allowed many CWE365 volunteers and students to enjoy very entertaining performances over the years. This is just one of the connecting points that foster deeper friendships between our students and our leaders, and that’s always a joy to see.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

"I'm not an intern, i'm a mom"

The following was written by Sam Simala, an intern with Rogers Ozone, on her perspective in her role with CWE365.

Sam, wrapped for a Christmas game

Alright, I am not a mother, not even to a pet, but on Tuesdays and Thursdays and some Saturdays I feel like I am. One responsibility of an Ozone intern is transportation. Calls and texts come trickling in the day before each club, requesting our services. We (Raul, my partner in crime and fellow intern) respond and make a game plan of how to go about picking up each kid. As the van becomes more occupied it fills with laughter, conversation, and often begins to smell a little too.
 Since it’s not exactly nice to honk the van horn when we arrive at each house to signal our presence Raul jumps out, chats with the parents and opens the van door for the kids. I can’t tell you how many times he has come back with a plateful of food. So, we eat a little dinner on the way to club most weeks. 
Sam with her small group at Primetime
My relationship with Raul is much like a marriage. While that last sentence may seem awkward for some to read, we are both very aware of that fact and embrace it with arms wide open. Our first Lifeline that we were in charge of felt like a total and complete failure in almost every regard. We didn’t communicate at all. We were mad at ourselves and each other. We knew we had to get better. So we changed. 
It wasn’t easy. There were many trips to discuss our feelings and a lot of grace exchanged between the both of us. Our internship is in Rogers, so we typically have 20-30 minutes alone each day. After we worked our differences out, those minutes filled with stories of our weekend or what we were going through.

But back to being a mom. 
We help with homework, rejoice when someone makes the team or the band, and give advice on friendship. As the kids pile back into the van, I truly feel like a soccer mom- they’re rowdy and out of control, but it is my absolute favorite. Sometimes we crank up the music. Sometimes we sing our own songs. Raul does roll call and I tell them all to make sure they’re buckled up- and we’re off. 
One by one we return them to their parents and we wish them well: “Good luck on that test tomorrow,” “Have fun at Girl Scouts,” “Tell me how that competition goes” are all things we shout as they walk up the drive. I put the van in reverse and wait until the front door opens. Then the laughter dies down and there’s just Raul and I again. We head home, park the van, and life goes on. But we still worry about the tests and the band and basketball. Interns.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Father Son Retreat

Written by Cass Trumbo, Rogers Ozone Director.

Many years ago, my dad and I attended a father-son weekend through an area camp. It’s clouded now, but I know it was cold and the trees were bare. Whatever we were taught has long been forgotten. Both of us, though, still vividly remember running the high ropes course and crawling through a deep cave together. We remember these things easily because we’re both afraid of heights and small spaces. 

Last Friday we gather twenty-four dads and sons in the cold Crafts Center at the hibernating Camp War Eagle, and I made a plea from experience. “We designed this weekend to take you out of your comfort zone,” I said with fresh memories of my dad’s exasperated face, crawling on his stomach through muddy rock. “We’re asking that you leave your comfort zone willingly and find a bond through the common experience.” 

The dads on our trip did more than that. Over a twenty-four hour period, we put these dads and sons on top of our ropes course, deep into a bat-filled cave, and through many of the games that we teach children. Both generations performed wonderfully, throwing themselves at the chance to grow closer as a father and son.

That Friday night, we played Tanks and Commanders, Chair Basketball, Tallest Towers, and others that we often use to entertain kids. The dads not only took them seriously but also took them with a light heart, laughing and competing with the same energy. Most games forced dads and sons to combine strategies, whether building a skyscraper out of spaghetti or walking baseballs across the room with only lengths of twine. However, the real highlight was having sons talk their dads through a blindfolded dodgeball game. It was hilarious and it also exercised a great element of trust – but it was also hilarious.

CWE365 partnered with Mosaic Church to produce the retreat. Mosaic pastors taught a three-part curriculum on discipling your son for Christ and preparing to release him into the world as a man. Dads were able to have their morning coffee in a brand new community as they spoke about coaching their son to maturity – to be a man of valor, strength and honor.

Despite the cold weather, we put the pairs through their paces both on our high ropes course and zip line as well as our initiative games, where dads and sons had to solve seemingly impossible problems together, sharing ideas as equals.

At War Eagle Caverns, armed with kneepads and helmets, dads and sons crawled together into tiny holes and marveled at the thousands of sleeping bats. One dad actually had a bat hide inside his jacket. Recounting the entire weekend to my own dad, he seemed fixated on that one small part. “The cave,” he muttered, ten years after our own father-son experience, “I can’t believe I let you take me into that cave.”

At the end of the weekend, we had spent an intense 24 hours with eleven dads and eleven sons, not only providing intellectual material for relationship building but the pure, unadulterated, strange experience that is so often the catalyst for growing together. Fathers and stepfathers alike had the opportunity to speak love into their sons' lives, and we're grateful that they dedicated the weekend to doing so. We're also very much in debt to Mosaic Church for their teaching, as a serious anchor to our sometimes crazy program.