This one is for you crazy…I mean brave…youth leaders out there!
Put a large plastic tarp down on the ground and ask for 8 volunteers (girls work best here). Tell them they are merely going to race across the tarp; fastest one wins.
Line them up and say, “Ready, set, oh wait a minute! I forgot the most important part.” Have a couple of youth leaders (who are ALREADY prepared) scatter live crawdads or crabs down on the tarp. 15-20 is a good number to have. Then say, “Ready, set, go!” The 8 girls race all at once. Cut the slowest 4 girls from the competition.
Take the 4 fastest girls and bring them back to the starting line. Blindfold them and tell them that this is the championship round. The winner of this round gets a cool prize. They will each get a friend to help them navigate the crawdads/crabs. The friend must stand off to the side and yell directions to the contestant. Let them choose their friend/navigator.
After the 4 contestants are blindfolded, have several adult leaders VERY quickly remove the crawdads/crabs and replace them with pre-opened bags of Doritos. You will probably have to cover this process with some live music. (You can also distract the 4 contestants with crowd pumpers like, “Who thinks Ashley is gonna win!?”)
When everything is in place, say ready, set, go and watch the contestants hop, skip, and shriek their way across the tarp. After the game is over, let the 4 contestants in on the joke. Keep your word and give a cool prize to the winner.
NOTE: It is imperative that you not let the cat out of the bag concerning the “second round.” Use live music, some hype, and maybe even PowerPoint screens to give directions to the crowd.
Jonathan McKee is the author of over twenty books including the brand new The Guy's Guide to FOUR BATTLES Every Young Man Must Face; The Teen’s Guide to Social Media & Mobile Devices; If I Had a Parenting Do Over; and the Amazon Best Seller - The Guy's Guide to God, Girls and the Phone in Your Pocket. He speaks to parents and leaders worldwide, all while providing free resources for youth workers on TheSource4YM.com. Jonathan, his wife Lori, and their three kids live in California.