Tag Archives: YSA

Capture the Flag Redux Kit: Lighting Up New Options for Single Adult Activities

Capture the Flag has long been a popular outdoor game because of its emphasis on teamwork, strategy, and quick-paced action. It’s hard to imagine how you could make a timeless classic even better, but the new Capture the Flag Redux kit does so marvelously. This kit has all of the necessary equipment that allows for a nighttime variation of Capture the Flag, which opens up new strategic options and makes the game more fun to play.  

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From the first moment the kit arrived, it made a strong impression. The box the kit arrives in is sleek and compact, with a logo reminiscent of the Tron franchise. The equipment includes everything you need to play Capture the Flag at night: seven territory lights to mark the dividing boundaries, eight jail lights, 40 glow wrist bands (20 blue and 20 green for opposing teams), and two glowing orbs that act as the flags for evening play. 

The orbs are able to cycle through different colors at the push of a button. There’s even a feature that has the orb permanently cycle through the different colors, which makes the orb easily stand out at night. It’s ideal for teams to have a flag that matches the team color for their wristbands, so it’s nice to have something that’s compatible with nearly any color of wrist bands you decide to purchase. The orbs are the most striking part of the kit – when I brought the kit to different single adult events, the orbs definitely attracted the most amount of attention. 

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Aside from the equipment, the kit also includes a short guidebook and 12 game variation cards. The guidebook is laid out like a comic book, making it fun and easy to read.  Game variation cards are fully illustrated and contain instructions on how to modify the game. For example, one variation of the game, “President,” designates one person to act as the orb holder and the game is over when that person is tagged. This is ideal for playing the game in open arenas with little hiding. Including these game variation cards gives the kit a lot of replay value and adds to the flavor of the game.  

After unpacking the equipment, it was time to test the game. We started off with a crew of 30 young single adults and quickly grew to over 40 people after the first game. We decided to play on Boise State’s campus after nightfall, on the grassy area of the student quad. I’ve played Capture the Flag during the day before, but this was my first time playing an evening game, which opened up a few new strategic elements:

  • Easy to identify players. The glowing wristbands made it easy to quickly identify teammates and opponents, which is a particularly useful feature in a large game.
  • Established boundaries. The jail markers and dividing lines made it easy to quickly see the boundaries, which meant we didn’t have to waste any time having to referee a close play.
  • Stealth. With the cover of darkness, it helped players approach the flag before making their move.

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There was also a few unique dynamics that made it fun to play on a college campus. First, we were able to recruit a few students into our game as they walked by on campus. Second, the low lighting around the quad helped make the game a little safer to play without completely taking away from the lights from our kit. Finally, we also had a few clever players who used “Assassin’s Creed” style tactics, which was blending in with groups of walking students to get within striking distance of the flag.

Campus security might have been an issue, but we were prepared to move to a different location on campus if necessary. Luckily, we were able to play without interruption from law enforcement – the only jail that players spent time in were the ones in our playing area! 

We played four games and chose to play the “President” variation for the last two games.  I spoke with several of the players afterwards and they enjoyed playing the nighttime version and felt the equipment created a fun dynamic. Everyone who attended that I spoke with gave positive feedback and showed interest in playing the game again in the future.

There are just two minor issues that the creator might want to consider for the next version of the kit: 1) The blue wristbands aren’t quite as bright as the green wristbands, giving the blue team a slight advantage. 2) The orbs are powered on by a button underneath that’s easily triggered. If you aren’t careful, it might go off and drain your batteries after they’re put into storage, which happened to me once between games. (An easy workaround is to remove the batteries after each game, which is simple to do).

Overall, I feel this kit is masterfully designed and is an excellent investment for any youth or single adult group that likes to organize large group activities. This kit makes it easy to quickly set up and play an epic game that will create hours of fun for groups large and small. If you’re looking for a fun evening activity to entertain a group, this kit offers the complete package.

Singled Out: How the Mormon YSA Blog Spot Is Spotlighting LDS Singles

Although single adults make up a growing number of members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormon), their contributions to the blogosphere are often underrepresented and overlooked. Although Mormons are well known for blogging, generally speaking, the most prominent LDS blogs are from “Mormon mommy bloggers.” Alex Hicken, founder of the Mormon YSA Blog Spot, hopes to change this through putting Mormon single adult bloggers in the spotlight through his website and Facebook Page.

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Alex’s project, started in January this year, is entitled the Mormon YSA Blog Spot, which aggregates content from all LDS single adult bloggers across the entire world.  Akin to how the popular Mormon Mommy Blog site serves as an aggregate for Mormon mommy blogs across the world, the Mormon YSA Blog Spot seeks to help connect its readers with Mormon single adult blogs worldwide. When he first started, there was only a handful of blogs that he followed. Now, Alex follows over 100 RSS feeds from Mormon single adult bloggers and has enough content to schedule a new post to run nearly every hour. Through a partnership with LDS Single Friends, the largest Facebook Page for LDS Single Adults, Alex also shares the best blog content on that Facebook Page each week. The Mormon YSA Blog Spot is also active on social media, using Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ to share content.

Although the Mormon YSA Blog Spot now shares a wide variety of content from many LDS single adults, it started from humble beginnings. The blog was started through its founder acting on a vision he had after completing his journal. He decided to publish his journal digitally through blogging, and in the process, he wondered what would happen if other LDS single adults also published their content with him. Launching such an ambitious project would be daunting for most, but Alex’s personal experiences well prepared him for this role.

Prior to launching his blog, Alex gained valuable experience promoting many fellow LDS single adults through online media. He ran a blog dedicated to publicizing letters from his brother who was serving a mission and also managed blog for a sister missionary from his home stake. Alex was not originally the promoter of the blog for the sister missionary and he realized that the blog was not effectively reaching out to its target audience.

He reached out to this sister missionary and with her consent, implemented online tactics to make the blog more effective in reaching out to the sister missionary’s friends, the stake, and their single’s branch. Alex was eventually given responsibility to format the blog posts and advertising for the blog. These experiences of managing a blog, promoting online content, and targeting specific audiences were skill sets that served Alex well when launching the Mormon YSA Blog Spot.

Alex’s passion for the Mormon YSA Blog Spot comes from his belief that content from blogs creates a stronger online community. Looking back on his own personal experience managing social media pages for LDS stakes and branches, Alex noted that these pages started to thrive after he posted blog content from fellow LDS single adults. After Alex posted content to these pages, other members also started to add content, creating more engagement and a spirit of unity among the group members.  

Alexander Hickens, founder of the Mormon YSA Blog Spot

Alexander Hickens, founder of the Mormon YSA Blog Spot

Alex also asserted that blogging among LDS single adults is important because they bring a unique perspective to the Mormon blogosphere. LDS single adults are individuals with powerful testimonies, who can deliver a refreshing viewpoint that stands out among the more typical Mormon blogs. Alex explained that through blogging, LDS single adults have the opportunity to testify of the truthfulness of the gospel and share the impact it has made in their personal lives. He explained:

“A blog is the person’s personal ministry and life. Their example should not be preachy. A Brigham Young University – Idaho graduation speech by Elder M. Russell Ballard called “Making Your Influence Felt” taught that we should let our true selves be expressed…Our passions, no matter what they are, will be a great witness that the Gospel has been restored. Don’t hide your testimony.

Although many LDS single adults may feel that they need to be a good writer to blog and be an example of the gospel through the written word, Alex disagrees with this perception. He explained, “Your example is not about the words that you say, but how you live the Gospel. You don’t even need to be good at writing. People will see your effort and example, and they will bear with you.” 

Alex collaborates with LDS single adults around the world and cited an example of working with a LDS single adult, Lesego Mholo, from South Africa. Her English skills were limited and it was difficult to understand the first draft of an article she submitted. However, Alex took the time to go through each sentence in the first draft with her and create a readable article about love. Through their joint efforts, they were able to create a faithful representation of her experiences and give her the opportunity to share her testimony with a worldwide audience outside South Africa.

Ultimately, blogging is important because communication is an important part of building Zion in these latter-days. It’s important to share testimonies and personal experiences that can uplift others. Open communication among like-minded people can strengthen relationships, but in contrast, closed communication fosters a sense of isolation that can destroy entire communities. Alex asserted:

“Blogging and journal writing can be a tool of expression, developing integrity, and winning trust because people feel like they need to live up to their word. Being unknown to your peers, family, and friends can let mysterious hidden things happen, if we are not open enough to communicate. Closing off yourself destroys families, friendships, and communities. Let us work together in unity and humility to employ all effective means of communication to coordinating Zion, the pure in heart.” 

If you’re interested in helping coordinate a Zion-like online community for LDS singles, you may contact Alex at alexnhicken@gmail.com to have your blog posts featured at the Mormon YSA Blog Spot. If you don’t have your own blog, but would like to contribute content, Alex will post your articles directly on his blog spot. Even if you don’t fall into the Mormon YSA age bracket (18 – 30), Alex will still allow you to submit your content.  

Your contributions can help Alex make an impact in sharing the testimonies of Mormon single adults across the world. You don’t have to be a master writer to represent your faith and share your story with others. Although the Prophet Ether in the Book of Mormon viewed himself weak in writing, the Lord was able to use him as an instrument in sharing gospel principles with future generations. In a like manner, regardless of our perceived inadequacies, we can make a positive impact through sharing our testimonies and personal experiences online.  

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