Assalamu-alaikum readers,

Alhamdulillah, the ISGL Youth Group Fall 2011 Program officially sprung into action last Friday evening. Under the cloudy skies of an unnaturally cool summer day in September, our youth gathered for an intense match of Capture the Flag. For those who may be unfamiliar of this game, it is actually quite simple (yet really fun) to play. Youth were split up into two teams: Team Bandanna (got to wear cool blue bandannas as you’ll notice in the pictures below) and Team Free-Stylin’ (did not get to wear the cool bandannas). Team Bandanna was led by their clever field general, Malik; Team Free-Stylin’ was captained by the wise veteran, Mujtaba.

Friendly exchange of pleasantries between Team Bandanna and Team Free-Stylin' at the start of game 1

Each team was given half a field (about 30 yards) to guard. In each team’s section of the field, there was a station containing the “flag” (started out as a teddy bear but was later changed to a tennis ball). 10 feet to the left of the “flag” station was another station which will be referred to as the “jail.” The object of the game is for one team to capture the opposing team’s flag before getting tagged out by a member of the opposing team. The flag can be picked up be one member of a team and tossed to another teammate. As long as that teammate catches the flag, the team is fine; if you drop the flag, your team has to start all over again. If you get tagged while in the opposing team’s part of the field, you go to the station marked “jail.” The only way to get out of jail is if a teammate makes a dashing attempt to tag you out of jail before he himself gets caught. Sounds simple enough, right?

Ladies and gentlemen, may I please direct your attention to the air. We have a bear flying in the air!

For game 1, the flags used ended up being teddy bears. Unfortunately, we quickly learned that teddy bears don’t fly through the air very well (not very aerodynamic as the folks at NASA would say). As a result, more strategy had to be employed to figure out how to capture the other team’s flag. Eventually, Team Free-Stylin’ managed to use a distraction technique which helped them rescue the teddy bear of the opposing team. 1-0 Team Free-Stylin’.

Hazem makes a daring dash through murky grass to save Ali from jail; meanwhile Omar runs away

The guys had seen enough teddy bears for one day. It was time to switch from teddy bears to tennis balls. Tennis balls, unlike teddy bears, do glide majestically through the air. The beautiful arc made by their rapid ascent and descent from a person’s toss makes tennis balls a perfect choice to use as a flag for Capture the Flag. After switching to tennis balls, the remaining games ended up reaching a rapid conclusion. Eventually, Team Bandanna and Team Free-stylin’ ended up in a 4-4 tie.

Amine tosses the tennis ball to a teammate. In the background our thermos of hot chocolate waits patiently to be consumed. Hot chocolate...umm yummy!

Before heading to the ISGL for Maghrib prayer,our guys enjoyed some hot chocolate courtesy of the Almakki family. The warm drink was the perfect refreshment after an exhausting game of Capture the Flag. Jazakum Allahu Khairan to the Almakki family for providing the youth with hot chocolate!

Hamza overjoyed thinking, "we are the champions". Sorry buddy but the game ended in a 4-4 tie. Put down those victory signs!

After catching the congregational prayer (Maghrib) at the ISGL, we headed up to the library (on the second floor of the ISGL) to have our weekly youth discussion/chat/halaqah/meeting/fill-in-the-blank. Sheriff introduced a cool ice-breaker exercise to learn the names of our fellow brothers. After the ice-breaker was finished, we ended the short discussion by going over the program for the Fall 2o11 semester. There are a lot of exciting events in the works for this semester for the young men. We ask you to please remember us in your du’aa (supplication) and to pray that our youth remain steadfast upon their Islamic principles as they navigate through the obstacles in school.

In shaa Allah we’ll meet again soon after our next youth group event this Friday evening: Sock Wars: Land of Ozwana (Intro)!