Dodgeball/Soccer/Capture the Flag Smash-up – Friday, November 14, 2014

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Assalamu-alaikum (peace be upon you) blogger visitor,

We hope this message locates you inside the friendly, warm confines of your favorite reading spot. Friday night, our mentors had planned to have our youth take part in one of their favorite 60-minute, heart-pumping exercise events – dodgeball. However, a few minutes after Maghrib prayer finished our genius IYG game-developer, Br. Salah, came up with a brilliant idea. Why not change up the original plan and design our very own game mixed with elements from different activities including dodgeball, capture the flag, and soccer? The newly designed mash-up game, a sort of IYG version of quidditch if you will, involved two teams with each team member responsible for one of three tasks – protecting the goal (goalie), scoring points by capturing the red or yellow dodgeball and throwing it in the goal (we called these players chasers/seekers), and tagging the chasers/seekers when they had the red/yellow dodgeball to prevent them for scoring goals (these guys were called the beaters). Confusing, huh? It was a bit confusing for the first few minutes of the game but soon after the sounds of joyful screeches were heard throughout the ISGL, as you can see from the pictures below:

Yazan, Ahmed squared, and Karim chase after the red ball...run for it guys!

Yazan, Ahmed squared, and Karim chase after the red ball…run for it guys!

Talal shares friendly advice with Baha before his penalty try against goalie Ahmed.

Talal shares friendly advice with Baha before his penalty try against goalie Ahmed.

Omar tries to sneak a goal past Muhammad...he was ready to defend! Attempt denied!

Omar tries to sneak a goal past Muhammad…he was ready to defend! Attempt denied!

Muhammad looks to put the ball in play as Anis and his fellow defender Mohamed defend their zone.

Muhammad looks to put the ball in play as Anis and his fellow defender Mohamed defend their zone.

Karim is surrounded with nowhere to go!

Karim is surrounded with nowhere to go!

Abdelrahman knocks Mohamed temporarily out of the game with a fantastic toss...the rest of the crew chases after the red ball!

Abdelrahman knocks Mohamed temporarily out of the game with a fantastic toss…the rest of the crew chases after the red ball!

Poor Talal is knocked down by the mighty throw of one of our 7-year-olds...game over.

Poor Talal is knocked down by the mighty throw of one of our 7-year-olds…game over.

Are You Smarter Than A nth-Grader? – Friday, November 7, 2014

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Assalamu-alaikum (peace be upon you) IYG blog visitor,

The calendar has officially turned to November meaning breezy weather, snow, and howling winds are on the way (hopefully not too soon!). Surprisingly the weather this evening was pleasantly warm which provided a nice backdrop for our short walk outdoors to the site of tonight’s event. Earlier this evening our young men took part in a fun game show where their knowledge on various topics they learned through their days in Islamic School was tested. Lessons from the seerah, Qur’an, and acts of worship were all fair game as our youth tried to work their way from Level 1 (first grade) upwards. How far would they reach in two hours…well you’ll have to ask them to find out! A few pictures from tonight’s event captured the intensity of the game:

Categories to choose from...which question will our youngins' land upon?

Categories to choose from…which question will our youngins’ land on?

Our resource for selecting questions to quiz our youth with...

Our resource for selecting questions to quiz our youth with…

Graduation station...who would reach the zone of cookies?!?

Graduation station…who would reach the zone of cookies?!?

Our game show host, the outgoing and enthusiastic Mr. Issa!

Our game show host, the outgoing and enthusiastic Mr. Issa!

Let the game begin!

Let the game begin!

Talal attempts to answer enough questions to graduate first grade...

Talal attempts to answer enough questions to graduate first grade…

Time is up buddy...next up, Elyas!

Time is up buddy…next up, Elyas!

Mohamed zeroes in on the question his eyes focused on the prize...a tray of cookies!

Mohamed zeroes in on the question his eyes focused on the prize…a tray of cookies!

Our youngest participants patiently await their turn...

Our youngest participants patiently await their turn…

Omar stops by the  graduation station to collect his prize on his way to third grade! Woohoo Omar!

Omar stops by the graduation station to collect his prize on his way to third grade! Woohoo Omar!

Semi-Desi Cooking Night – Friday, October 31, 2014

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Assalamu-alaikum (peace be upon you) IYGers, parents, and readers around the circular globe,

A brisk, rainy, cold evening greeted us on Friday. Perfect conditions for hot chocolate and a warm blanket…or a perfect opportunity to get into the kitchen and learn how to cook delicious dishes of yumminess while standing next to a warm oven! Our youth chose cooking over hot chocolate as their source of warmth on this evening. This event provided the opportunity for our young men to learn an important life skill (cooking a meal) they can use at home to prepare dinner for their families (or for themselves once they head off to the big world of college). Led by our head chef, Br. Ihsan, our young men learned the art of preparing tandoori chicken, pulao (rice with peas), and a tantalizingly good custard dessert that would make anybody’s taste buds jump for joy. Afterward, our youth sat down to taste their three-part meal and bask in the deliciousness of a homemade (or masjid-made in this case) meal before departing for Isha prayer.

Karim instructs Mohamed on the amount of oil to add to our tandoori spice mix...

Karim instructs Mohamed on the amount of oil to add to our tandoori spice mix…

...Abdelrahman can't stand to look at the fiesty red sauce being made!

…Abdelrahman can’t stand to look at the feisty red sauce being made!

Tandoori chicken ready to hit the warm oven!

Tandoori chicken ready to hit the warm oven!

Omar and Elyas roll up their sleeves and get to work preparing the rice for our meal...

Omar and Elyas roll up their sleeves and get to work preparing the rice for our meal…

The finished product...what do y'all think? I give our guys an A+ based solely on the colorful appearance of the dish.

The finished product…what do y’all think? I give our guys an A+ based solely on the colorful appearance of the dish.

Custard anyone? Aren't your taste buds jumping for joy wishing they could taste this dish?!?

Custard anyone? Aren’t your taste buds jumping for joy wishing they could taste this dish?!?

Lovin’ Lasagna Service Night – Friday, October 24, 2014

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Assalamu-alaikum (peace be upon you) avid IYG blog reader,

After a week off of youth group, our young men were eager to return to the friendly confines of the ISGL for a much-anticipated (at least in the eyes of our mentors) service program. Each semester our mentors work with our youth to design and implement a service project for the community. Past projects have included clothing and food drives, purchasing toys to cheer up children in a local hospital, and opening a one-day restaurant (Restaurant Hope) to serve warm meals to community members in need.

Tonight our youth worked alongside their mentors to prepare three trays of homemade, stacked-to-the-top, ooey-gooey cheesy yumminess lasagna (full of love). Teams of 3-4 youth chopped vegetables, sauted beef, prepared a tomato-based sauce, and put these components together to form a layered lasagna dish. While the lasagna baked in the oven, our young men wrote cards to the recipients of these dishes wishing them a warm, delicious dinner. Afterward, we had a short reminder on the verses from Surat al-Ma’oon which helped provide the perfect background for one of the goals of the lovin’ lasagna service event. Oh how you truly can’t appreciate how delicious the final dishes looked unless we reveal to you some pictures of the finished products (feast you eyes below!):

Ahmad and Mohamed get the night started by chopping onions...my eyes burn!!!

Ahmad and Mohamed get the night started by chopping onions…my eyes burn!!!

Baha gleefully grabs the chopped veggies and stirs them into his beef concoction...

Baha gleefully grabs the chopped veggies and stirs them into his beef concoction…

Meanwhile behind Baha, Mohamed fights with a can opener to open a can of tomato paste...

Meanwhile behind Baha, Mohamed fights with a can opener to open a can of tomato paste…

Eshaan and Mohamed work together to build the layers to their lasagna in the kitchen...

Eshaan and Mohamed work together to build the layers to their lasagna in the kitchen…

...as Br. Salah and his team of helpers (Karim, Yazan, and Mohamed) build their lasagna in the multipurpose room!

…as Br. Salah and his team of helpers (Karim, Yazan, and Mohamed) build their lasagna in the multipurpose room!

A few extra shreds of cheese are thrown on top before the lasagna hits the oven!

A few extra shreds of cheese are thrown on top before the lasagna hits the oven!

As our lasagna bakes, Ahmad gets to work on the cards to give to the recipients of our dish.

As our lasagna bakes, Ahmad gets to work on the cards to give to the recipients of our dish.

Br. Salah teaches Elyas and Omar the fine art of rolling lasagna carefully to freeze it in place...

Br. Salah teaches Elyas and Omar the fine art of rolling lasagna carefully to freeze it in place…

The finished product! Does that not look delicious?!?

The finished product! Does that not look delicious?!?

Tennis the Menace – Friday, October 10, 2014

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Assalamu-alaikum (peace be upon you) readers worldwide,

Sitting approximately a mile from the ISGL is a beautiful triangular prism more affectionately known as the Schwartz Tennis Center. We’ve drive past this marvelous facility many a times but had never been inside. Tonight our youth took a voyage inside this complex to learn the inner nuances of the fun game of tennis. To get our youth into the regular routine of exercising, our mentors put our youth through a series of fun drills and games for 60 minutes as the sun set outdoors. Forehands, volleys, overhead smashes, and the joyful glee of youth voices could be heard echoing throughout the indoor courts at the Schwartz Tennis Complex as you can see in the pictures below:

IYG young men intensely focus on hitting a forehand...

IYG young men intensely focus on hitting a forehand…

Mohamed keeps his eye on the ball and hits a perfect forehand!

Mohamed keeps his eye on the ball and hits a perfect forehand!

Mohamed (yes another one) pops  the tennis ball up high into the night sky.

Mohamed (yes another one) pops the tennis ball up high into the night sky.

Backhand Baha doing his best Pete Sampras  imitation...

Backhand Baha doing his best Pete Sampras imitation…

Eshaan and Mohamed challenge Mohamed and Baha to a friendly doubles match...

Eshaan and Mohamed challenge Mohamed and Baha to a friendly doubles match…

Only problem they have is they can't find where their ball disappeared to!

Only problem they have is they can’t find where their ball disappeared to!

Night of the Kite Flight

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Assalamu-alaikum (peace be upon you) youth, parents, and readers worldwide,

The weather on Friday night was absolutely incredible subhan Allah! Temperatures in the high 70s combined with a gentle summer breeze (direction unknown) made for the perfect conditions to design and construct, you guessed it, KITES! Each semester we like to challenge our youth’s creative minds and awesome crafty skills in engaging arts-and-crafts or crazy science experiments. Our first such event this semester, the young men of the IYG worked together to design their very own, masjid-built kites. Armed with an assortment of supplies and tools, our youth got to work quickly…as they found out, making a kite is not as easy as it appears on paper as you’ll see below:

Our mini-men carefully read the directions before getting started...

Our mini-men carefully read the directions before getting started…

Lookie, our kites are starting to take shape!

Lookie, our kites are starting to take shape!

Karim adds a gliding tail to his kite as Anis patiently waits in line for his turn.

Karim adds a gliding tail to his kite as Anis patiently waits in line for his turn.

Mohamed is done! He gently tests his kite to see if it will hold up in the winds present outdoors.

Mohamed is done! He gently tests his kite to see if it will hold up in the winds present outdoors.

Meanwhile, in a hidden corner of the ISGL, our elder youth build a MASSIVE kite with cool artwork.

Meanwhile, in a hidden corner of the ISGL, our elder youth build a MASSIVE kite with cool artwork.

Hamza poses with his team's final product. Nice work gentlemen!

Hamza poses with his team’s final product. Nice work gentlemen!

The burning question in everyone’s mind…how well did our kites fly? Unfortunately time ran out before we could test our kites outdoors. We’ll have to let you know in a couple of weeks in shaa Allah after putting them through rigorous testing.

Fall 2014 Kick-off & Letters for Br. Imran

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Assalamu-alaikum (peace be upon you) fellow readers,

I know, I know, y’all are probably thinking where has the ISGL Youth Group (IYG) disappeared to for the past two months??? After completing our Ramadan Summer 2014 Program our mentors went into deep hibernation to prepare for the start of another school year (and plan our next youth group program of course!). As the weather has finally achieved a Fall-like feeling, it was time to officially launch the next stage of IYG with our Fall 2014 Program. Tonight our event centered around a famous narration (hadeeth) from Prophet Muhammad, salla Allahu alayhi wa sallam (peace be upon him), where he said, “The rights of one Muslim over another Muslim are five…(and one of them is) visiting the sick.” (Recorded in Sahih al-Buhkari & Sahih Muslim)

Recently one of our community members (and the uncle of one of our youth group members) fell ill and was diagnosed with leukemia. As he is currently undergoing treatment, it wasn’t possible for our youth to visit him in the hospital to bring some joy and cheer to the brother and his family during this difficult struggle. However, one way our youth could reach out and make a positive impact was to prepare short letters and drawings to give to the brother so he could look at them during his recovery and in shaa Allah (God-willing) give him strength and hope. With that goal in mind, our young men put their collective minds and skills together to prepare several amazing letters ma shaa Allah. A few snapshots from the night’s activity can be found below:

The consequences of not having youth events...youth hurt themselves in unexpected ways!!

The consequences of not having youth events…youth hurt themselves in unexpected ways!!

Our young men gather around the white board for a brainstorming session. what positive messages can we add to our letters?

Our young men gather around the white board for a brainstorming session. what positive messages can we add to our letters?

Ideas generated in  our brainstorming session...

Ideas generated in our brainstorming session…

Eshan, Baha, Yazan, Abdelrahman, and Mohamed work on rough drafts...

Eshan, Baha, Yazan, Abdelrahman, and Mohamed work on rough drafts…

Ahmed puts final touches on his amazing letter!

Ahmed puts final touches on his amazing letter!

One of the many awesome letters produced by our youth ma shaa Allah.

One of the many awesome letters produced by our youth ma shaa Allah.

We pray that Allah, the Most Merciful, heals Br. Imran and grants him a speedy recovery back to good health.

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