Independence Day Barbeque and Fireworks

June 27th, 2011

Are you looking for a memorable way to celebrate Independence Day with your group? How about a barbeque and fireworks?

The Fourth of July is one of the best days of the year to have an old-fashioned barbeque with traditional elements such as hot dogs, hamburgers, black-bean burgers (if you have any vegetarian youth), potato salad, chips, and watermelon. A potluck works well for this event.

In addition to food, have outdoor games for the youth, such as soccer, capture the flag, and kick the can. Don't forget the watermelon-seed-spitting contest. Give prizes for the farthest distance, shortest distance, most stylish, messiest, and best multiple-seed shot. Provide a football, softball, bat, and Frisbee® for youth who want to play catch.

Host the barbeque at a local park or at the home of one of the youth. Parks have open space for field games and activities, but you'll need to call ahead to reserve your spot, because the Fourth of July is a popular day at parks.

If you can, arrange to have your celebration at a place with a pool, lake, or river nearby. If the celebration takes place at a teen's home, hook up a sprinkler to run through and tape together giant sheets of plastic to slide on when they become wet. Swimming and water activities are a favorite for youth, and the water will provide a refreshing reprieve from the heat. As the day winds down and the evening begins, move the group to a location with a fireworks display. The ideal situation is to have the barbeque at a park where a fireworks display will take place. If fireworks are not visible from a local park, have the group relocate for the highlight of the evening.

Designating this celebration as a family event makes it better. The parents will appreciate getting together, the younger siblings will appreciate being "cool" like the teenagers if they win the watermelon-seed-spitting contest, and the youth will have fun talking about how embarrassing their parents are. For a fun activity, you might have a parents-versus-youth family softball game. (or some other game)

Schedule a time for a devotion, where your group discusses what it means to live in a nation where we can freely worship God. Explain that we shouldn't take that freedom for granted and that we should always pray for persons in other countries who are persecuted for their belief in God.

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