Prophet’s Childhood (Teens) – Friday, February 20, 2015

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

Friday night marked the launch of our latest IYG program catered to meet the needs and address challenges faced by our teenagers. Tonight we ushered our youth into Vienna Cafe, ordered delicious hot chocolate to warm our cold fingers and toes, and dove into a difficult topic: temptation – it is all around us. The entertainment industry encourages us often to give in to such temptations and forget about the potential consequences that may occur. The reality is we all face temptations and the desire to give in to what our hearts desire, even if it is not good for us; as young Muslims, it is often very hard to resist giving into these temptations. Even Prophet Muhammad, salla Allahu alayhi wa sallam (may the peace and blessings of God be upon him), faced such issues as a young man (prior to prophethood). As recorded in a famous narration by Ibn Atheer:

Once I told my fellow-shepherd to take care of my sheep when we were in the upper part of Mecca. I wanted to go down to Mecca and entertain myself as the young men did. I went down to the first house of Mecca where I heard music. I entered and asked: ‘What is this?’ Someone answered: ‘It is a wedding party.’ I sat down and listened but soon went into deep sleep. I was awakened by the heat of the sun. I went back to my fellow-shepherd and told him of what had happened to me. I have never tried it again.” (The Sealed Nectar, Shaykh Safiur Rahman al-Mubarakpuri)

The first lesson for our youth – you are not alone in the challenge of battling against the various temptations surrounding us (drugs, relationships, etc.); in fact each one of us is going through this struggle. The second lesson – Allah, subhanahu wa ta’ala, is protecting us and our well-being when He encourages us to stay away from getting involved with certain actions/temptations. Though we sometimes struggle to understand the wisdom behind why we are encouraged to stay away from certain actions, the reality is that Allah, our Creator, knows us, His creation, better than even we know ourselves. When we put our trust in Allah and struggle to live our life in a manner that pleases Him (even though it may not be easy!), goodness will find us.

Crazy Catapults (Tweenz) – Friday, February 13, 2015

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

Catapults. Creativity. Craziness. Cuckoo – what our youth thought our mentors were after being told they would be making catapults on Friday evening. This (crazy) activity idea however provided a great teaching lesson for our young men regarding important points to keep in mind to reach our life goals – we must set goals to aim for, have a plan to achieve each goal, and then put in the hard work to reach our goals. The goal tonight – construct a catapult from a few simple items commonly found around the house (such as tape, Popsicle sticks, and paper). The plan – our youth were given specific, step-by-step, DETAILED directions (turn-by-turn navigation if you will) by IYG’s clever master designer (Mr. Issa) on how to build their catapults. The result – as some youth quickly found out, if you don’t follow the plan, you won’t reach your goal (and in this case, there were some un-catapult looking catapults that were built). However, several of our youth (here’s looking at you Muhammad, Elyas, Ahmed, and company) did a superb job with the directions, and in the end, their catapults were gleefully launching paper balls around the ISGL library as their fellow IYGers took cover under the tables. Maybe our mentors aren’t so cuckoo after all! In shaa Allah we’ll try to post a few pictures from this event in the coming days. Until next time…

Yeah...so our catapults didn't look quite this fancy.

Yeah…so our catapults didn’t look quite this fancy.

Go Go Goooaaalll!!! (Mini-men) – Friday, February 6, 2015

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

Friday night is IYG night and tonight marked the re-launch of our mini-men program! After a quick re-introduction, our mini-men put their soccer skills into practice in a fun game of Go Go Goooaaalll!!! Playing in teams of two people, our youth had the challenging task of trying to maneuver around our giant mentors to score a goal. As they learned after a little practice, the key to scoring goals was working together as a team. Pass, pass, pass and then – SCORE!!!

Yazan tosses the ball to his teammate Mohamed...let's get this game started!

Yazan tosses the ball to his teammate Mohamed…let’s get this game started!

After a great save by Yazan, Mohamed goes on a quick counterstrike.

After a great save by Yazan, Mohamed goes on a quick counterstrike.

Capture the Flag (Tweenz Kick-off) – Friday, January 30, 2015

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Assalamu-alaikum (peace be upon you) folks,

It has been awhile since our last post…too long in fact. After enjoying a warm winter vacation, it was time to return back to our youth to launch our Spring 2015 Program. This semester we’ve split our youth into three different levels; tonight marked the launch of our tweenz level. Our young men put their clever minds, quick feet, and communication skills to the test as they attempted to capture the flag (a bowling pin!). After the conclusion of our 60 minute game, our mentors used the game as a lesson to discuss important qualities regarding teamwork. Throughout life – be it in school projects, team sports, extracurricular activities, work, or youth group – we often are required to work on a team/as a group. However, some team succeed and work well together while others achieve less success. As our youth learned in the game, when they worked together as a team to create a plan (how to capture the flag), agree on roles for each teammate (who would defend the team’s flag, who would go on offense to capture the other team’s flag), and communicate respectfully, their team achieved lots of success (they captured the flag many times). These qualities will prove important for our youth to continue to put into practice as they work on future team/group activities.

Abdallah and Karim keep a close eye on Baha as he moves in on the flag.

Abdallah and Karim keep a close eye on Baha as he moves in on the flag.

Muhammad grabs the flag! But now where to go? Karim has Muhammad trapped!

Muhammad grabs the flag! But now where to go? Karim has Muhammad trapped!

Sock Battles – Friday, November 21, 2014

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

We hope this post finds you indoors away from the wildly unpredictable Indiana Winter weather (well technically it’s still Fall but temperatures inform us otherwise). Inside the warm, friendly confines of the ISGL this Friday evening, our youth reunited after a long week at school to enjoy an old game developed many years ago by our IYG game developer, Br. Salah. The game, you ask, is called Sock Battles. We’ll let your imagination run a bit wild as you try to figure out the rules for the game but we assure you it is quite simple. Your friend has a pair of socks on his feet…how can you remove both of them without physically causing your friend any pain or harm? Perhaps the pictures below will provide some clues to the answer:

Our IYG game developer explains the rules of the game...

Our IYG game developer explains the rules of the game…

Ahmed gently removes Mohammed's socks as Mohammed tries to squirm away...run Mohammed, run!

Ahmed gently removes Mohammed’s socks as Mohammed tries to squirm away…run Mohammed, run!

A group of youngins' surround Ahmed...what will the game plan be to capture his socks?

A group of youngins’ surround Ahmed…what will the game plan be to capture his socks?

Mohamed succeeds! Ahmed is about to lose his socks...but here come Yazan and Elyas to save their friend!

Mohamed succeeds! Ahmed is about to lose his socks…but here come Yazan and Elyas to save their friend!

Ahmed takes a moment to ponder what went wrong as Eshaan enjoys a break from the action in the background.

Ahmed takes a moment to ponder what went wrong as Eshaan enjoys a break from the action in the background.

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!

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