Spectacular Saturday Community Carnival & Top Chef Bake-off – Saturday, April 21, 2012

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

Sadly this post marks the official end of our Spring 2012 ISGL Youth Group Program. What better way to end than with a CARNIVAL!!!

In collaboration with ICAN Youth Foundation (our sisters youth group) along with support from the ISGL, our volunteers, and our generous community members and donors, alhamdulillah we were blessed by Allah, azza wa jal, to conclude the semester with an amazing event.

Below you can view our youth and community members taking part in many fun games. In addition to the games, we held our first-ever ISGL Top Chef Bake-off. Community members registered to make a dish they are famous for (sweets, snacks, or baked good). From chocolate nut biscotti to heavenly chocolate mania to warbaat, there were many incredibly delicious dishes produced for the competition. Our panel of culinary experts (moms and dads in the community) then ranked the dishes from top to bottom in terms of taste and overall appearance. The competition was narrowed down to the top three winners. First-place took home an engraved spatula, a gift card, and –  most importantly – bragging rights as the best chef in our community. Second-place and third-place dishes earned a beautiful plaque for the winners to place on a wall at home.

Without further ado – PICTURES!!!

Shujath puts some gusto in his throw in "Go Long." Nabeel hugs a football in the background.

Mujtaba and Amr take notes along the Relay Race course - "so if we drop the egg we lose five seconds...got it!"

Hasan powers the ball through the net in "Hat Trick." Meanwhile Azat and Mustafa look on in amazement.

"How hard can this really be?" Abdelrahman tries his hand at juggling tennis balls in "Juggle Struggle."

Turns out juggling is much harder than you think

Malik attempts a game we like to call "Fuel Up" - will he win a Gatorade?

Malik WINS!!!

"Ball Toss" meet "Nothing But Net." Omar tries to knock the wooden bottles down with a basketball; Mahmood denies the move!

This is MY basketball and I'M taking it home!

Our young ones dig away excitedly in "Dino Dig" - how many eggs did you find?

Cedar, our amazing balloon artist, twists and turns a balloon into a fun design.

Our mini-men look on mesmerized by the skill of Cedar's balloon concoctions. What will he make next?

Look! It is a FLOWER! - NO WAY!

Our judges, under the watchful eye of Ihsan, rank the delicious culinary items prepared by our community members for the Top Chef Bake-off

The final tally for the Top Chef Bake-off; who would emerge victorious?

The snack line opens up - naturally, everyone makes a beeline straight for the ice cream

We would like to conclude this blog post with a quick jazakum Allahu khairan to all of our donors, volunteers, and community members who came out today to join us and to the families who made beautiful dishes for our Top Chef Bake-off. Congratulations to the Siddiqui family for earning the honors of ISGL Top Chef 2012 for their amazing dish entitled – “Rapturous Rashmi Kabobs.” Congratulations to the Sarfraz (Heavenly Homemade Chocolate Mania) an Khalil (Warbaat) families for earning second-place and third-place respectively.

As our youth anxiously finish up their classes and exams for the semester, our mentors will be tirelessly working to design our Camp Tecumseh and Halalapalooza 2012 Program in shaa Allah.

Until we meet again, we bid you assalamu-alaikum!

End-of-Semester Party – Friday, April 20, 2012

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

It has been awhile since we last met – our mentors felt it was time to break out a new blog post so here y’all go! Tonight marked our second-to-last event of the semester. Alhamdulillah (all praise and thanks belong to Allah, azza wa jal) we have been blessed to once again have an active semester jam-packed with fun, educational, and (we hope) life-changing activities. From learning about the art of perseverance in the story of Po the panda bear (in Kung Fu Panda), to learning how to make homemade fried chicken and mashed potatoes, providing thoughtful gifts to children dealing with illness in a local hospital, to learning valuable self-defense techniques under the watchful eye of Mufti Kamani, to our Indy Zoo Trip, we have enjoyed a wonderful semester. We are grateful for all of the support from our families, donors, volunteers, and most importantly our youth.

Tonight our youth event started out with a quick survey where our young men gave our mentors feedback on what they thought of our super-duper, uber-cool youth program this semester. The tables were turned and our young men were allowed to voice their joy and displeasure for this semester’s activities. They also let the mentors know what events they wanted to see on the schedule for future youth group programs (did I hear basketball?).

After the survey was done, the fun began; our young and mini-men enjoyed homemade (FRIED & TANDOORI!!!) chicken, pasta, and fries. After dessert, our young men enjoyed playing a game of Pictionary while our mini-men had the chance to color-in one more fun lesson before the semester came to a close. We hope you enjoy the pictures below from tonight’s event!

"Give us FOOD!" our impatient lads scream. Murtaza stealthily hides his plate of food from the group.

A nice line forming behind Ihsan. What will they choose - tandoori or fried chicken? Way too many options!!!

A french fry for a Frenchmen? Oui, oui!

CHICKEN...Y...U...M...M...Y C-H-I-C-K-E-N!!!

"Excuse me Br. Ihsan - can I have some ketchup please?"

From dinner we move to...DESSERT!

Ahmed points out an oddity - why is this specific lid sitting on top of an ice cream cup? Isn't ice cream supposed to be cold?

Fahad breaking down the rules for a game they call "Pictionary"

Our mini-men carefully color in their drawings. The sun is yellow, the tree is green, the water is blue, oh how do you do?

Amr leaves our party with a happy smile!

Indianapolis Zoo Trip – Saturday, April 14, 2012

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Assalamu-alaikum (peace be upon you) parents, young men, mini-men, and fellow bloggers,

Earlier today, a select group of our young men enjoyed a well-deserved trip to the Indianapolis Zoo. These young men earned the right to join the caravan to the zoo due to their display of outstanding character, timeliness in showing up to youth group activities, maintaining a positive attitude throughout this semester’s program, and respecting and observing our youth group rules.

The day began with a short discussion on the topic of reflecting upon the beautiful creation of animals by our Creator, Allah, subhanahu wa ta’ala. After reading over different verses in the Qur’an which mention specific categories of animals – a calf/cow, spider, camel, birds, and so forth – the discussion turned to…ants. Yes you read correctly – ants. Did you know that ants are not all the same? We have worker ants, army ants, and fire ants to name a few. Each species of ants plays a role in their community which helps them live in their environment. By reviewing and reflecting over the different categories/species of animals present both in a zoo and around us everyday (the different shapes, sizes, colors, type of food eaten, speed of movement, environment lived in, etc.) and their individual roles we hoped to open our young men’s eyes to truly appreciating the animals they would get to view later at the Indianapolis Zoo.

Salah leads our discussion on...ants. Mujtaba listens attentively to every single word.

There were lots of pictures taken at the zoo today. Unfortunately we can’t post all of the photos but we hope you enjoy viewing a few of the friendly creatures we befriended earlier today at the zoo.

A second-floor view of the beautiful garden next to the zoo. Wait a minute, who puts a garden in a zoo? Well, apparently Indianapolis does.

Our young men view a real life sundial; we hope you enjoy the new fashion trend for a zoo trip - the rain parka!

"This...is...so...HEAVY!" Danyal returns to his childhood days as he plays in the sand.

This tiger seemed to be looking for the emergency exit - time to move on.

Interesting fact about bats - this raised the hair on our skin just a wee bit.

Group meeting of the penguins - hey no fighting folks!

Ali leans in closely to pet the shark in the petting pool.

The giant indoor pool for the much-anticipated dolphin show. The show was one of the highlights of the trip for our young men - especially the Splash Zone!

Okay whatever you do, do NOT anger the snake - time to move on to the next exhibit.

Is it just us or is that not one colorful looking zebra?

If giraffes could speak this one would say, "Excuse me Mr. Cameraman, have you seen my dinner - I seem to have misplaced it somewhere below?"

Our youth were excited to race a cheetah; sadly the cheetah didn't seem up for racing today.

Traffic jam at the turtle pen - "if you're not going to speed up, move to the right lane buddy!"

Danyal doing his best meerkat impersonation - hey he's looking pretty good wouldn't you agree?

Dodgeball – Friday, March 9, 2012

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

Alhamdulillah, we have been blessed with several days of beautiful, spring-like weather in the Lafayette-West Lafayette area. Birds have been chirping happily, flowers appear to be blooming whimsically, and the rays of sunshine have provided a nice bump in our temperatures. As Purdue students escaped campus on Spring Break this weekend, our young men descended on the masjid for one final youth activity before break.

The nervous anticipation builds - "whose team will I get drafted to join?"

After praying Maghrib prayer, our youth eagerly raced to the small prayer hall to listen to the rules for our weekly activity (an exhilartiing, heart-pounding, non-stop, 60 minutes of physical activity in a game known around these parts as…DODGEBALL) and find out which team (either Team Adil or Team Salah) they would get selected to join in the 2012 Dodgeball Draft.  Dodgeball is a pretty simple game involving the following basic rules:

  • There are two teams – each team is given half of a basketball court from which to operate.
  • The object of the game is to get out each member of the opposing team by hitting them (below the shoulders) with a dodgeball.
  • If you get hit by a dodgeball, you must leave the court and move to a designated zone. To get back in the game, one of your teammates must catch a dodgeball thrown by a member of the opposing team before the ball hits the ground.
  • In an alternative version of dodgeball, called medic (which we played one game of on Friday night), one person on each team is designated to be a “medic.” If a teammate gets hit with a dodgeball thrown by the other team, the teammate must sit down where he was hit. The medic must then run and touch the teammate thus allowing the person to get back into the game and resume playing.
  • We added one twist to our game of dodgeball. If a person was able to make a half-court basketball shot, their entire team (who was knocked out) would get back into the game.

After dividing up into teams, we drove to the Purdue Recreational Sports Center (Co-Rec) and (good) chaos ensued. We hope you enjoy watching our young men in action below:

Team Flame Throwers (a.k.a Team Salah) about to break their huddle. We love the smile on Murtaza's face!

Adil warns his team, "gentlemen have fun but if we lose this game there will be consequences..."

...and Adil meant business. Team Adil warming up for an exciting game of dodgeball.

All the pretty dodgeballs lined up nicely in a row. In the background Salah discusses some last minute strategy with his teammates - "when the official says go, RUN!"

I-N-T-E-N-S-I-T-Y! Let's GO!

The mass charge of bodies towards the dodgeballs - quick grab me one!

"1...2...3...4," Ahmed takes time to count the members of the opposing team. "Hey everyone, they have 11 guys!"

Omar takes aim at his target; look at his eyes zeroing in. Nice arm extension!

"AHHHHHH don't hit me!" Adil with some nice dodging moves. Hamzeh on his back crawling away from the action.

Rehman getting ready to throw - wait a second, where did Malik's shoes go?

Adil doubled over in laughter. What is so funny ya Adil?

"Hey look at us, we're out!" Yes we see you Malik; you can stop waving now.

Danyal gets ready to throw his dodgeball - is it just us or is Danyal about to get hit?

Poor Hazem is all by his lonesome. Quick, somebody jump in to help!

Shujath frantically running side-to-side - "why does this always happen to me?"

Ali lobs a ball towards the other team; why is everyone on Ali's team out?

Adil leads his troops towards victory, one footstep at a time; all that stands in their way...

 

...Murtaza and Rehman (gulp) - let the game begin!

 

Murtaza receives a nice round of high fives and chest bumps from his teammates for sticking it out until the very end.

Psst Salah, Assim has a secret to share with you - HE'S THE MEDIC!!!

Something is terribly wrong with this picture - it is Team Adil versus one poor basketball.

Malik and Ali exchange some verbal pleasantries. "Hey get back here!" says Salah.

Omar stealthily sneaks up behind Salah - "Psst Salah why are you sitting down? It is not time for the halaqah yet!"

Yes sensei teach me this game they call dodgeball.

 

We have a happy customer!

Alhamdulillah our youth and mentors enjoyed a wonderful, intense game of dodgeball without anybody getting hurt. As we break for a few days of vacation, we hope everyone is able to enjoy a few moments of relaxation. In shaa Allah we’ll meet again in a few weeks!

Updated Points Total – Who Is Leading the Race?

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Assalamu-alaikum (peace be upon you),

Below is an updated table containing the total number of points each young man (age 8-18) has earned thus far in the Spring 2012 Program. Remember, youth ages 10 and above must earn at least 130 points to be eligible to join us for the Indianapolis Zoo Trip!!!  For youth ages 8 and 9 years old, we’ll award a special gift at the end of the semester for youth who earn at least 130 points.

How do you increase your point total? For every positive action our youth display, they earn 3 points. Positive acts include:

– Verbal praise or encouragement to a teammate during a group project or sporting activity

– Gently reminding others about not using foul language if someone messes up

– Showing up on time to an activity

– Answering questions during our weekly youth discussions

– Putting into practice a lesson learned during our youth discussion (for example showing good sportsmanship, listening to teammates in a group project, showing compassion to the sick, etc.)

However, youth can also lose 3 points for negative actions including:

– Verbal abuse, mocking someone, or use of curse words

– Physical abuse towards a volunteer or member of youth group

– Showing up late to an activity

– Horsing around or creating a disturbance during youth activity

How have our young men been doing since the last posting of the points totals? Check out the table below to find out!

Drastic changes have emerged from the last posting of the points totals. Ma shaa Allah Assim and Murtaza are ahead of the pack!

“Gifts for Patients” Community Service Project: The Drop-off – Saturday, March 3, 2012

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Assalamu-alaikum (peace be upon you) parents, youth, and online community members,

Winter seems to have returned to parts of the Greater Lafayette area. We were greeted this morning with a steady stream of snowflakes and breezy winds (direction unknown but our faces were turning red). Though the snowflakes could have posed an obstacle for some, our youth were not deterred by their presence.

Earlier this afternoon, our young men finished their community service project for this semester by dropping off gifts and get well soon cards (with short handwritten personalized messages) they had purchased for patients in the Pediatrics ward of IU-Arnett Hospital in Lafayette. The goal of this project was to instill in our youth the concept of having compassion for those who are sick/ill and encouraging them to put into practice the sunnah of visiting our fellow Muslim who is sick.The pictures below will take you through our journey after Dhuhr prayer from the ISGL to the hospital to our top secret location to reward our youth for their efforts on this service project.Enjoy!

Hamzeh proudly displays his team's written "get well soon" message; sharp penmanship on display!

Our beautifully packaged gifts await to be transported to a loving child...time to hit the road!

Loading up the vehicles with our youth on the road to our destination

We're here! "Excuse me sir but that is my bag!" Did we miss something - why is everyone looking to the left?

"This place is HUGE," remarks Danyal. He politely asked to move to the hospital but the nursing staff said no.

Mujtaba hands over the bag of goodies to a member of the nursing staff. In the background Ahmed looks stunned at the size of the bag.

Hamzeh hands over the bag of gifts from his team. Amine looks lost in deep thought - "I wonder who will get our toys?"

Folks meet our guest speaker Dr Chester Ho! We dig his Purdue colored IU-Health t-shirt. Dr Ho is a Purdue grad after all - way to represent!

Intensity and focus on the faces of our young men as they listen to Dr. Ho speak about living a healthy, nutritious lifestyle.

How do we stay healthy again? Oh yeah exercise, diet, vaccinations...

Our guest speaker imparts a few parting words of advice to our youth...

...and then the questions began.

Dr. Ho leads our young men through a grueling post-talk workout - walking, climbing stairs, and a little more cardio...it took three minutes total. 57 more minutes of exercise to go!

Ihsan graciously poses with gifts provided to our youth from the hospital staff - look it is a frisbee!

To reward our youth for their hard work, we stopped by for a sweet treat from one of our FAVORITE local dessert joints - Coldstone Creamery. "There are so many ice cream flavors to choose from," yelps Muhammad.

Muhammad makes his choice to the delight of all of our youth

The chocolate brigade - Murtaza begs to be left alone to quietly eat his reward in peace. Okay we're leaving now...

The circle of joy - ice cream is the ultimate pacifier for rambunctious youth.

Youth Lunch Sale for Islamic Relief – Friday, March 2, 2012

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

Friday afternoon after jumm’ah prayer, the ISGL Youth Group combined efforts with our sisters youth group (ICAN Youth) to co-sponsor a joint lunch sale to raise funds for Islamic Relief’s emergency humanitarian aid campaigns for Syrian refugees in Jordan and Afghan civilians suffering through a brutal winter season in Kabul. The menu consisted of Afghan-style rice, kebab-e-kofta, and rayta (yogurt). Within 10-15 minutes we were completely sold out. Alhamdulillah due to the generosity of members of our community, we were able to raise over $600 from the joint lunch sale.

May Allah, azza wa jal, reward the volunteers and donors for their generosity and support of this event. Ameen.

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