Break Time!

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

Alhamdulillah we were blessed by Allah, subhanahu wa ta’ala, to put together another productive and enjoyable program for the young men (ages 8-18) and mini-men (ages 4.5 – 7) in our community during the Fall 2011 semester. We would like to take a moment to thank all the families in the community who entrusted their children into our care and allowed us the privilege to work with your children. We would like to also thank the leaders in our community for their support and encouragement during the past semester. In shaa Allah during the next 3 weeks our youth mentors will be working diligently behind the scenes to organize another beneficial jam-packed semester of activities for our youth in the Spring 2012 semester. Salah, Ihsan, and Haroon dislike good-byes so we’ll leave you with pictures and re-caps from this past semester to hold you over until the ISGL Youth Group resumes in January 2012 in shaa Allah. Until then, we wish our youth a safe and enjoyable vacation from school!

Sadly it is too cold in Indiana to go fishing in December but hey one can try, no?

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Parents Appreciation Event Re-cap

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

We’re a little bit tardy in posting re-caps from our past two events (that is what the combination of final exams, working on two Master’s theses, and sleep deprivation gets you). Our apologies for making you wait days on end for these can’t miss re-caps. Fortunately Salah was kind enough to post pictures earlier this week from our End-of-Semester Partaaaay. Today, we’re going back in time to a special event that took place on Saturday, November 26, 2011. This event (entitled “Parents Appreciation Event”) was organized and conducted in conjunction with our sisters from ICAN Youth Foundation (sisters youth group).

The event was a day to honor and thank our parents and extended family members (here’s looking at you mom, dad, grandpa, grandma, uncle, auntie, cousins…) for the enormous amounts of love, compassion, free stuff, and advice they have provided each one of us throughout our lifetime. It was a time for our youth to put into action lessons they had learned on family values a few months back (part of our ongoing efforts to allow our youth to put their faith into action). This event took several weeks to plan and our youth had to maintain the utmost secrecy to ensure details of the event didn’t leak out to their parents (didn’t want to minimize the “WOW” factor). What exactly went down in the Tippecanoe County Public Library McAllister Rooms (location where the event was held)? We hope the pictures below tell a beautiful tale.

As our families entered the room, they were greeted with an amazing scene of tales from years past – the “Memory Wall.” The “Memory Wall” contained drawings (made by our 5-9 year old youth) and short stories (from youth ages 8 and up) where our young men and women described a favorite family memory they had shared in the past. There were scenes from theme/amusement parks (popular choice we must say), trips to Disney World (seemingly every other story was about Disney World, come on people), and family portraits (these were a bit interesting to say the least).

Our "Memory Wall" full of memories and precious family time from days yonder...ahh to go back in time to Disney World.

The lengthy walk down memory lane continues. How many youth are there on this wall...it seems endless?!

More pictures and short stories from the "Memory Wall." Can you find the ferry Yahya drew?

The end of the walk down memory lane...bismillah...now onto the festivities!

Our families carefully perused through the images and stories on the “Memory Wall” before the aroma of sweets and snacks overtook their nostrils. Slowly they saw in front of their eyes plates of mini-pizzas, fata’ir (bread with cheese or stuffed spinach), cookies, brownies, truffles, chocolate-dipped pretzels, cheesecake, and so much more. These dishes were all carefully prepared in secret by our youth (okay with some assistance from the mentors/counselors) on Friday. To wash the food down, we provided a hearty dose of real Capri Sun fruit juice (with no high fructose corn syrup, yippee!).

The long table full of goodies our youth made. Go ahead and grab a plate and try some food. No we're serious, grab a plate!

The cookie monster, Ali, sneaks a piece of bread onto his plate. In case you were wondering what was in that delicious cheesecake the ingredients are front and center. Umm cheesecake, how we love thee!

Just so we're all on the same page, Muhammad doesn't like to be disturbed when he's eating; meanwhile the parents slowly start to make their way to their seats. Come on people, we have a show to get to!

Amr wishing everyone peace, Muhammad seems to have enjoyed his plate of food, Amine nervously practicing his speech once more in his head, and our aunties look ready to start the program. Let's go!

Food is running out - quick grab a pizza before it is too late! By the way, is it just us or does that tray of food not look stunning with the red tissue liner? Fabulous...simply fabulous.

As the adults gleefully chomped down on the variety of dishes before them, their eyes slowly glanced upward to see a “Thank You” banner signed by many of our youth for their family members.

In the background our "Thank You" banner waves majestically...okay so it is fixed to a wall with thumb tacks but a brother can dream right?

Eventually everyone was seated (let’s just say this took a bit longer than expected) and the program began. Br. Ihsan opened the event with a recitation from the Qur’an (Surah Al-Isra, Verses 19-24). These verses set the tone for the afternoon and provided a wonderful reminder about the great responsibility our Creator has bestowed upon us when it comes to our relationship with our parents. After Br. Ihsan’s recitation, the family members were surprised with a special gift from their children. Our youth helped put together a short video tribute for their parents which cannot be properly explained in words. You’ll have to see the video to truly appreciate what our youth did:

Dads/Babas/Abus/Daddies enjoying the video tribute. Hey everyone look - Danyal's the star of the show! Okay he was one of many stars but for some reason our camera caught him in this photo.

Moms/Mamas/Ammis/Mommies watching the video tribute attentively; somewhere in the background I think we hear sniffles and tears being shed. In all seriousness the video tribute was that heartfelt.

A special shout-out and jazakum Allahu khairan go out to Br. Cem and Br. Adlet for helping to capture and edit the video above.

Once the video was finished being viewed and the parents gently wiped away the tears from their eyes (yes the movie is quite touching), the main presentations began. Our mini-men (from the ISGL Youth Group) and parakeets (from ICAN Youth Foundation) presented pictures they drew for their families. Since many were a bit shy to step-up on stage, Br. Ihsan was kind enough to lend the mini-men a hand with their presentations; Sr. Meganh and Sr. Ayyantu were kind enough to lend a hand to our young sisters with their presentations. After the presentation was over, each child gave their family members in attendance a gift of boxed truffles to take home as a small thank you.

Below is a link to a PowerPoint file containing drawings from our youth. We hope the drawings put as big of a smile on your face as they did on our guests.

Parents Appreciation Event – Youth Drawings

After the 5-8 year-old youth presented (okay so it really was the mentors who presented but the youngins’ did all the hard work drawing), our older youth took the storm by stage. One by one, our youth displayed their creativity by presenting poems, short stories, nasheed, and open letters to their family members. These presentations provided a great mix of tearjerkers and hearty laughter.

The Kaakeh sisters share a series of thoughtful poetic tributes to mama and baba.

Alizey shares a powerful story on the "One-Eyed Stranger"; to say the least we needed more Kleenex after the story was finished. There were no shortage of wet eyes in the room.

Ahmed and Mohamed can't seem to stop laughing; their poetic nasheed entitled "Parents Are So Cool" to their parents was a big hit.

Omar in the hizzouse tossing some love to mom and dad! Omar had a well-rehearsed poetic rap nasheed (?) for his family.

Above the height of the towering podium Muhammad peaks his head out and shares a cool open letter to his parents (with a little help from his friend Salah). Quote of the afternoon - "thank you baba for helping me with my homework; if it were not for you I would be stuck in first-grade!"

The "Burger King tandem" Ali and Amr with poetic words of compassion and thanks for their parents.

Essa telling his mom how much he loves her biryani and letting his dad know he appreciates the lesson on lawn mowing; meanwhile our friend Hamza is smiling from ear to ear for some reason. By the way, Hamza wants to let y'all know that he loves Chuck E. Cheese's...yeah that's about it.

Mujtaba, Murtaza, and Mustafa deliver a moving PowerPoint presentation with a poem for their ammi and abu.

Malik and Asim with a well-rehearsed, awesome poem for their parents. This was a great way to end the afternoon alhamdulillah.

This event was truly one of the most incredible experiences our youth, mentors, and family members in attendance have been blessed to enjoy/take part in their lives. We ask Allah, azza wa jal, to accept from the youth and volunteers our efforts to please Him by pleasing our parents. We ask Allah, subhanahu wa ta’ala, to make our youth a source of goodness/khair for their parents. We ask Allah, azza wa jal, to grant us the ability to continue to put the principles and teachings of our faith into action in a manner that pleases Him. Ameen!

End of Semester Party

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What happens when you hold an event where the outcome is soley based on the participants ? Well you get a lot of kids flying around the room, others roaming around seeking pray and the remaining avoiding an overturned box. Okay it started with Pizza, muffins and ice cream and the rest was a blur.

On 12/2/11 we held our end of celebration event where we provided our young and mini men their weekly dose of pizza, a questionnaire on their favorite event and a chance to play with their peers any game they desired.

Our mini men made it known that all events were their favorite events, while our young man narrowed down the list to the following five: 1) Sock Wars (don’t ask), 2) Parent Appreciation, 3) Olympics/Soccer, 4) Indy Tafseer trip, 5) Eid Bash.

We thank our young men in providing their top five and we will make sure that none of these events will be held next semester (we have to keep it interesting 🙂

We hope our parents will enjoy the following pictures as the watch their kids eat, fly and roam in the under-lands (okay the MPR)

Mini-model Car Build (Junior Youth) – Saturday, November 19, 2011

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Assalamu-alaikum (peace be upon you) audience members,

This feels like the building anticipation of opening a gift for Eid. What awaits our young lads in those plastic boxes they must be wondering?

Tonight we held our second-ever ISGL Junior Youth Group event. To put it mildly, there was a lot of noise involved with this event. Last weekend, our youth learned their first of many important life lessons in shaa Allah – how to cook. Tonight our mini-men continued the journey of knowledge by putting together small, wooden model vehicles.  From transformer cars to school buses to boats, there were many creative products built by our mini-men tonight. The event began with our young lads learning the importance of wearing the proper safety equipment (goggles, gloves, work apron) before working with hand tools. In addition to this, our mini-men got the opportunity to learn how to use a really cool hand tool – the HAMMER!!! After tearing open the boxes containing their pieces, the guys made a critical mistake – they ripped open their individual components and threw away the directions! Argh, how are we going to build these cars now? Fortunately our youth mentors were able to retrieve the directions. After our youth built their cool vehicles, they had the chance to decorate their hip vehicles with stickers and markers. Finally they took their sporty new vehicles out for a test drive to make sure all systems were a go.

We hope you enjoy watching our mini-men work in the pictures below. As you can see, we have some very talented engineers, artists, and designers amongst our burgeoning youth ma shaa Allah.

Hasan trying to start a new fashion trend - young lads, goggles and an apron are the new hip way to dress! Make sure to pass along the memo to your parents for the next time they go shopping for clothes for you.

Mohammed taking inventory of his materials and carefully reading through the instructions. Well at least one person was paying attention to the mentors!

Mohammed bangs away at a nail to put together his boat; the only problem we see is we need to find a pond to test his boat. Does anyone have any suggestions?

Yahya provides a helping hand to his pal Mustafa. Teamwork is very important in building strong working relationships.

Essa holds down the race car as Hasan bangs away at a nail. "Watch out for my fingers!"

Hamza smacks in a nail for his bus wheel. "Oh the wheels on the bus go round and round, round and round, round and round..."; sorry just reminiscing over a childhood memory.

Mohamed does a quick test drive under the watchful eye of Ihsan. I think we have a winner!

Hasan and Mustafa proudly holding their finished creations. That is one fine looking race car ma shaa Allah!

GROUP PHOTO! Yahya loves his Transformer car. Mohammed dreams about the open water for sailing his boat. Ahmed seems to enjoy his yellow school bus, we think.

Homemade Pancakes and Omelet Night – Friday, November 18, 2011

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

We are not quite sure what is going on here with this pancake. Let's move on to the next photo, shall we?

As the weather has been getting increasingly cold in West Lafayette, it has now become time for us to move our youth activities indoor. To help our youth warm up from the chilly temperatures, we decided to allow them to challenge their inner creative genius and make homemade pancakes and omelets. This event is part of our ongoing goal of preparing our youth with important life skills to meet challenges they may endure in the future. One of these challenges is learning to cook for yourself. Regardless if it be trying to make a dish to thank family members, having to make breakfast while in college, or making a dish for work, one can never go (too) wrong with pancakes and eggs!

Br. Ihsan helped devise the basic recipe our youth utilized for making their homemade pancakes and omelets. We split the youth up into 3 stations in order to achieve maximum kitchen efficiency (and reduce foot traffic in the kitchens!). One station had youth finish their short stories for the upcoming Parents Appreciation Event next Saturday (in the multipurpose room of the ISGL). Station 2 was manned by Br. Ihsan and it was here where youth were able to test their wrist strength by gleefully tossing omelets high in the air and into a frying pan. While the basic omelet consisted of two eggs, our youth were given the freedom to add special ingredients into their omelet to test their culinary palates. Ingredient choices included – cheese, chopped onions, salt, and black pepper.

Station 3 was under the direction of Br. Salah and it was here where youth learned to make creative shapes and various sized pancakes (as you’ll see below).  The basic pancake consisted of milk and a standard pancake mix (from Walmart). After the wet dough turned to a semi-solid pancake, our young men were allowed to top their pancakes with a variety of delicious items – cherries, blueberries, strawberries, butter (top choice), mini chocolate chips, mini peanut butter chips, white chocolate, and, most importantly, syrup!

Below are the recipes and ingredients we used to make our pancakes and omelets in case your family would like to enjoy making these dishes at home:

Homemade Omelet

 

Ingredients (for one omelet):

1.     2 tablespoon chopped green pepper

2.     2 tablespoons chopped onion

3.     1 teaspoon butter

4.     2 eggs

5.     Salt and pepper

6.     2 tablespoons milk

 

Directions:

1.     In an omelet/frying pan, cook the green pepper and onion in butter until the vegetables are tender (~4-5 minutes) but not brown. In a bowl, beat the eggs with milk, salt and pepper, until blended.

 2.     Pour the egg mixture into the hot pan. Carefully push the cooked portions at edges toward the center so the uncooked portions can reach the hot pan surface. Tilt the pan as needed. When top is thickened and no visible liquid egg remains, fold omelet in half. Invert or slide onto plate. Your omelet is ready. Have at it!!

 

Homemade Pancakes

 

Ingredients (for two small pancakes):

1.     2 cups original bisquick mix

2.     1 cup milk

3.     2 eggs

 

Directions:

1.     Stir ingredients until blended. Pour slightly less than 1/4 cup full onto hot greased griddle. Cook until edges are dry. Turn; cook until golden.  It should make 14 pancakes.

 

Equipment needed:

1.     Skillet (8 inch)

2.     Large frying pan

3.     Cooking spoons/spatula

4.     Mixing bowl

 

Additional ingredients used:

1. Chopped green peppers

2. Diced onions

3. Salt and black pepper

4. Stick of butter

5. Mini chocolate chips

6. Fruit toppings (cherry, blueberry, and strawberry)

 

After all of the hard work in the kitchens, our young men finally had the chance to sit down, reflect upon the new skills they learned, and enjoy the creative (we hope tasty) dishes they created. Afterwards, the young guys enjoyed a few games of Sock Wars to burn off all the calories they had just ingested into their bodies.

We hope you enjoy the picture below which were taken from the event.

Malik and Ali diligently work on their favorite family memory short story for the Parents Appreciation Event. Yo Ali, keep your eyes glued to your laptop...NO PEEKING!

Danyal and Hamza carefully mix their pancake gooey creation together as Salah watches. In the other corner Ihsan instructs Murtaza on the art of omelet production. Is it just me or is that stick of butter on the counter rather ginormous?

 

Kids important safety lesson here - always wear oven mits when working with hot dishes; plus it makes for a cool fashion accessory!

A little itty bitty cheese slice never hurt anyone, right?

 

Somewhere along the way, Mickey Mouse lost his way, and ended up on our pancake tray. How do like our rhyme? Yes we know, we're pretty talented.

 

A rather happy looking pancake; if it only knew whose tummy it was headed into, we doubt it would look so happy.

 

This poor guy looks like he got into a street fight and suffered two black eyes. Did anyone remember to bring a first-aid kit?

 

Mujtaba cautiously looks down at his pancake concoction. It's okay Mujtaba, the pancake can't hurt you (unless it is undercooked).

 

Nabeel and Mohamed give their pancakes four thumbs up. Yippee for success!

 

Though they had already eaten dinner, Malik and Ali happily scarfed down their delicious pancakes. In the background, our sage high school senior, Tassawar, advises the younger lads.

 

Omar and Essa carefully inspect each others dishes. "Dude, I can't believe we actually made this. Our food actually tastes GREAT!"

 

You can never be too old to play on the little kids playground...or can you?

 

A little friendly game of Sock Wars to burn off the calories we just consumed...it would appear that the march-up is Salah against ALL of our youth!

 

“Cow in a Blanket” Cooking Night – Friday, November 11, 2011

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

Tonight's raw ingredients...has anyone see where our missing cow went?

The weather in Indiana has become a tad bit chilly these past few days. Tonight, our bundled-up young lads strolled into the masjid for what would be a rather exciting evening. Alhamdulillah we officially launched our first-ever event for our ISGL Junior Youth (Muslim male youth ages 5-7)! Salah likes to dub these young guys as “mini-men” since they are well on their way to adulthood (don’t tell their parents that). Occasionally you may see a reference on this blog to our “mini-men” so hopefully you’ll now be able to distinguish between our younger youth and our older youth (termed young men). Enough with the literature lesson; on to the good stuff!

The evening began with our youth taking part in the final congregational prayer of the evening at the masjid (Isha prayer). Afterward, they gleefully ran downstairs to the masjid wudu area. We reminded the young guys to wash their hands before starting work on making food (lesson #1 in youth group!). After the hand-washing, the youth walked with the mentors up to the masjid library. Salah led the youth through a fun game of introductions. Each mini-man had to say his name and an animal that they liked which had the same first letter as the first letter of their name. This was a word association game to help the young’ins learn their new friends names. We had Hasan the Hippo, Murtaza the Mongoose, Yahya the Yak, Hamza the Horse, Ahmed the Alligator, and Mohammed the Monkey.

After the introductions were completed, the true fun began. As the young guys’ eyes scanned the room delightfully looking for what awaited next, our youth mentors walked in armed with 3 items: halal hot dogs, slices of American cheese, and a roll of refrigerated biscuit dough.

What in the world did the young guys end up making with these 3 items you ask? Well, a COW IN A BLANKET!!! In case you’re a little bit lost as to the name for the activity, let us break it down. Our hot dogs were made from beef (taken from a cow). We wrapped them in cheese and dough (kinda like a blanket wraps up an object to keep it warm). When you combine the two things together you get..wait for it…no seriously be patient…okay you’ve waited long enough…a COW IN A BLANKET!!! Don’t you just love how we come up with these cool names? With a hearty “bismillah”(lesson #2 in youth group!) the youth happily devoured their concoctions once they were done baking.

Our cows wrapped tightly in their blankets...don't they look warm and cozy?

This is a great activity you can do with your family at home (particularly if you have young children). Below are the ingredients and the recipe we used for our cooking event:

INGREDIENTS:

The following items make enough for 8 servings (i.e. one wrapped hot dog per person):

1.) 8 hot dogs or frankfurters (you can purchase zabiha/halal hot dogs locally at Khybar Super Market)

2.) 8 slices American cheese (we used Walmart brand) – this ingredient can be left out if you’re not a fan of cheese

3.) 8 ounce can of refrigerated biscuit dough (we used the Pillsbury brand) – you can also switch out the biscuit dough with refrigerated crescent dinner rolls (for thicker, more fluffy bread)

RECIPE:

1.) Thaw out your frozen hot dogs (if stored in a freezer).

2.) Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit (175 degrees Celsius).

3.) Take a slice of American cheese. Place the hot dog on one end of the cheese. Carefully wrap/roll the slice of cheese around one hot dog.

4.) Take one piece of biscuit dough. Place the cheese-wrapped hot dog on the biscuit dough. Carefully wrap the dough around the cheese-wrapped hot dog (now you have a cow in a blanket).

5.) Take a flat non-stick cookie sheet (or put aluminum foil with a little bit of non-stick grease on a pan to prevent the biscuits from sticking to the pan) and place the wrapped cow in a blanket on the cookie sheet. Evenly space out the hot dog-wrapped-in-cheese-wrapped-in-biscuit -dough around the cookie sheet so they are not touching one another.

6.) Bake the cow in a blanket delicacy in the preheated oven until the biscuits turn golden brown in color. This should take between 10-15 minutes.

7.) Once the items are cooked to your liking, allow items to cool down before eating (so you don’t burn your tongue).

8.) Serve on a plate and enjoy!

Below are a few pictures of our young guys in action during the event:

Our working station for tonight - the masjid library! Ahh the quiet before the storm.

Hasan and Mohammed excitedly await for the grand event to begin!

Look Yahya is missing a tooth! Meanwhile Murtaza gives two thumbs up for...the cheese (who knew cheese could look so good).

 

Salah leads the mini-men through a fun game of introductions.

 

Ahmed and Mohammed playfully twirl around the room as their food bakes in the oven.

 

Young guys work on creative pieces of art as Fahad observes them closely...where is our food they must be wondering?

 

Finally time to EAT! I would give all of these fine dishes 5 stars.

Eid Bash Re-cap – Saturday, November 5, 2011

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

It has been an exciting few days as Muslims around the world have been celebrating one of their two annual holidays, Eid-ul-Adha. To help our young men gain a deeper appreciation for this holiday and forge lasting memories, we decided to conduct our second-ever Eid Bash. Last year we took the guys out for a nice meal at Blue Nile Restaurant (food here is totally awesome and the owners are wonderful people). We changed things up this year and decided to make this event more than just about the food. To see what sorts of exciting activities our young men enjoyed participating in, please continue reading and check out the pictures below.

Chowing down on pizza after a long day of fasting...ahhh cheeese pizza how I love thee!

Saturday corresponded to the 9th day in the lunar month known as Dhul-Hijjah. Muslims (particularly those who can’t make it to the Hajj or pilgrimage to Mecca) are encouraged to observe a voluntary fast on this date. This means a person must avoid eating food, drinking fluids including water (say what!), and increase in performing good deeds from dawn until sunset. We encouraged our young men to attempt to put this act into practice and perform the voluntary fast. Alhamdulillah we are pleased to report that almost all of the guys managed to fast the entire daytime with little trouble. Of course, after a long day of no food or drinks, your body tends to get pretty hungry. To reward our guys for their efforts, we started the evening off with a pizza party.

As the young guys happily chomped on their food, Salah took the opportunity to conduct a discussion on the importance of Eid-ul-Adha (i.e. why do Muslims celebrate this holiday). Salah engaged the youth through a series of questions to gauge how much they knew about the significance of this holiday, actions which are encouraged to be performed on the day of Eid (i.e. wearing your best clothes, attending the special Eid prayer, visiting family and friends, and so forth), and their favorite memories from past Eid celebrations.

Salah breaks down the importance of Eid-al-Adha as youth compete for chocolate (for answering questions correctly).

As the discussion came to a close, our youth turned their attention to the next part of the dinner service…dessert. Salah and his wife (Sr. Lama) were gracious enough to…wait for it…make a GIANT 8-inch cookie for each participant. Why on earth would anyone need an 8-inch cookie you may ask (and it is a worthy question to ask)? Well for mammoth ice cream sandwiches of course!

The famed giant 8-inch cookie for the ice cream sandwiches. Texas is not the only state that knows how to do things big.

Some of the brothers were a little protective about their ice cream and cookies:

Hamza LOVES food...or maybe he's trying to protect his plate from the hungry cameraman. What do you think?

Other guys struggled to figure out an effective strategy to consume so much food properly:

That ice cream sandwich looks as big as Mustafa! Don't worry young buck, you can take your time to finish your plate. We'll wait to start the activities.

Naturally after consuming such large quantities of food, a natural reaction is to want to chillax or relax; however, our adult mentors would have none of that. Since the time for Isha prayer had officially arrived (by the time we finished eating), we turned our focus (and stomachs) towards praying Isha.

Getting the youth lined-up to pray Isha; why in the world are Ali and Malik posing for a photo?

Isha provided a good bridge between the fun stuff (eating) and more fun stuff (the activities). Who says you can’t maintain your religious responsibilities and also enjoy a slice of cherry pie (i.e. halal fun stuff)? That is crazy talk. What fun stuff did the young guys enjoy over the next two hours you ask? Oh my where do we begin.

There were competitive team matches for ping-pong (first team to 15 points won the game and a prize):

Our resident ping-pong champ from Kashmir, Abish, officiates an intense game. Mujtaba does not look amused at all, not one bit. Cheer up, your turn will come soon enough!

See the little yellow ball...hit the little yellow ball. Concentrate hard Hamza; Danyal is waiting to return the ball back to you. Essa looks a bit concerned in the corner; breathe buddy!

There were two versus two games of pool (for some reason the pool sticks were taller than our youth but they managed to be troopers):

Asim and Amr take aim at the solid-colored balls in a friendly game of pool; they would emerge victorious in the first game.

Murtaza takes aim at the little black ball his team needs to knock-in to win...don't miss, don't miss, DON'T MISS!!!

Apples-to-Apples anyone?

As the games of pool and ping-pong wrapped-up, our youth turned their attention to two games: Charades and Apples-to-Apples. In Charades, youth were split into teams of two (4-5 guys per team). One member of the team would be given the title of a book, movie, or television show. Without using words (i.e. only hand and facial gestures), the individual would have to act out the words contained in the title until one member of his team correctly guessed the full name of the title. In Apples-to-Apples, youth once again were pitted into teams (four teams of two people). Each person was given five cards. The judge would then throw out a card (with a noun, verb, adjective on it) on the center of the table. From their set of cards, the youth would have to choose one card that most closely matched the statement/phrase contained in the judge’s card. The team with the closest match would win a point. The team which captured 4 points won the game (and a prize!).

The ghost pinata...seriously where did Salah find this guy?

The final event of the evening was the much-anticipated, potentially never to be duplicated again pinata activity. Usually when you attend enough Eid parties, the common gift young people are given is a bag of candy. Instead of giving our guys a bag of candy, we switched things up and gave them an empty bag (no we’re not joking). They were to then to stuff their bags with candy they wanted from the soon-to-be crushed pinata. Salah was somehow able to find a ghost-themed pinata in the aisles of Walmart which we stuffed with candy (seriously this thing felt like a brick if you touched it). Using a cricket bat (we’re not joking), youth took turns (while wearing a blind-fold) trying to break-open the pinata to release the hidden gems it contained (candy).

Sadly nobody was able to muster enough juice (energy) to un-earth the contents of the pinata while it was dangling mischievously from the ceiling. After the pinata fell to the floor, Omar was able to smash a nice-size hole in the pinata with the cricket bat. Soon after, well, this happened:

Bodies fly everywhere as the mad scramble for candy begins...oooh look a piece of candy. Too late, someone took it!

The night concluded with everyone getting gifts for their hard-earned efforts before we headed back to the masjid.

ISGL Youth Group...a place where you come with one friend and leave with many more!

A few of our guys posing with their gifts...why is Mohamed apologizing?

Jazakum Allahu Khairan to all the volunteers (Salah, Lama, Abish, El-kindi, Ihsan, and many more) who helped make this event a success! We would also like to take a moment to specially thank the Khadra family for generously opening their home to us for the Eid Bash. May Allah, azza wa jal, accept from us our efforts, forgive us for our shortcomings, and grant us the ability to conduct future successful youth activities for the community. Ameen.

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