This past weekend I posted up a shot of our Maze from the “Half-Niter.” I got a few questions about the half-niter so I thought I would throw the details out for you to think about. Some of you have already been doing this so understand that this is for those who are not.

Somewhere along the way of fifteen plus years of youth work I began to grow tired of the “overnighter.” I found hardship over the following issues year in and year out.

Increasingly active schedules of leaders and families made it difficult to ask parents to compromise and volunteers to coordinate.

Event organization for ten to twelve hours of activity usually consisted of downtime where a frequency of behavioral or coincidental negative experiences would unfold.

The following day, usually a “family day” would be a zombie-esque wash of groggy effort.

So, I just decided to do away with the all-niter in exchange for a half-niter. With the half-niter we rented busses and coordinated multiple events at different venues where we would never stay in a spot for more than an hour and a half. Kids moved from one stop to the next for a layer of adventure.

So far it’s become way easier to recruit volunteers, create an experience that leaves kids wanting more, and be a better person the next day. The downside is that you have to charge more. You also need a critical mass where you can secure group sales at every venue. You can get creative or partner with other churches to get the per person costs down. In the schedule below to keep costs down we created two experiences that cost less than $.50 per kid to execute.

6:00 Check in & Go into Box Maze
6:30 Maze & Outside Hang-out
7:30 Gather for “Strong Suggestions” (rules) & Walk On Skit
7:45 Depart
8::00 Main Event (an entertainment venue bowling/mini golf/ laser tag)
9:15 Depart
9:30 – Crosspointe Club (met at a community center for club; music, games, short talk, raffle)
10:15 Dodgeball at YMCA
10:45 Depart
11:00 Jump Street (a trampoline parkour venue)
12:45 Depart
1:00 Pick Up Fire Station (a community center where we office)

If you have questions about this let me know. Here’s a shot of my box maze cause it’s rad.


6 Responses to “WHAT IS A HALF NITER?”

  1. chad mcdaniel March 12, 2012 at 10:07 am #

    glad to see someone else feels the same way about “all-niters”. you are so right when you say that things usually get bad in that 1 or 2 hours of down time that is impossible to predict or over program. great post!

  2. Chad August 13, 2012 at 7:58 am #

    Do you find that parents don’t really want to pick their kids up at 1:00 in the morning?

  3. chadswanzy August 15, 2012 at 8:53 pm #

    not really.

  4. Ben October 19, 2012 at 12:34 pm #

    We did away with all nighters for the same reasons.
    Honestly my kids get picked up better at 1 than they did at 7 or 8 on a Saturday. Most parents just stay up an extra hour or are just awake.

    Another benefit is that it is just healthier for kids, many of my kids who play sports or watch younger siblings were sacrificing way to much sleep. Or getting sick by Sunday because they couldn’t handle the stress not sleeping puts on their body.

    So Glad to see other people doing this.

  5. Luke September 30, 2013 at 6:19 pm #

    First time youth leader thinking about doing a box maze for the first time. Where do you get that many boxes? How long does it take to build? Any helpful hints?
    Thanks a heap!

  6. chadswanzy October 2, 2013 at 1:30 pm #

    Check out my post here.


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