7 Undeniable Characteristics Of (Most) Middle Schoolers

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By Ashley Bohinc,  the Director of Middle School Strategy at Orange (The reThink Group, Inc.), and USA Executive Director of Carry 117- Ethiopia.

I have worked with middle school students in educational, athletic, and ministry settings for more than 14 years now. Although each context was uniquely different, there were still a few basic things about (most) middle schoolers that remained the same no matter what.

  1. They will be intensely interested in you. Do you have a boyfriend? Where do you buy your makeup? What are you eating? Where did you get those shoes? What position did you play in soccer? They may not show it at first, but the moment you let them in (even just a little), they want to be in a lot. They are stacking up questions in their minds, and if they aren’t courageous enough to ask, they are waiting for just a hint of permission from you to let them know they can ask. Of course this only counts for some of the time with middle schoolers. Other times, you could walk into the room in a clown suit and they wouldn’t even notice. #middleschool
  2. They exaggerate (and sometimes lie). Something happens at the 8th grade dance, and you find the girls huddled in a circle crying in the bathroom. If it’s trending, they are talking about it… non-stop. Friend drama is basically an all out brawl (with words or rumors). It thunders outside, and they act like they’ve never been in a storm before in their lives. They see a snake outside, and it’s most certainly trying to eat them. Their teacher is obviously the most unfair person on the whole planet. Oh, and they didn’t copy that homework or cheat on that test; they were just scratching their head! You get the point. It’s a phase full of all out exaggeration.
  3. YouTube is Gucci. According to many research studies, 80%-95% of Generation Z seeks advice through YouTube channels and videos. The most searched videos are about real stories, day-in-the-life videos, behind-the-scenes videos, or how-to videos. They want to know about relationships and dating, teen trends, advice on how to do new skills, and more. If they don’t know how, they go to YouTube. If they don’t know what it is, they go to YouTube. If they want to become famous, they go to YouTube. So basically, you should be on YouTube, too.
  4. What their friends think matters more than anything else. This is difficult, because as puberty begins to change them from the inside out, middle schoolers are desperately trying to fit in. Peer approval will always trump advice from adults. They can’t be seen wearing those pants, hanging with those boys, or walking around in public without makeup. The point is, students at this phase care more about what their peers say than anyone else. That’s why finding an influential student to lead the charge on a new initiative or event you are having will give you more success. Because if Sadie thinks it’s cool, everyone will think it’s cool.
  5. They push their parents away. Middle schoolers want freedom. They aren’t kids anymore, and when they are treated that way, they revolt. They pushback on everything from bedtime to chores to going places by themselves to social media. They want to make their own choices. The tricky part about this as a student leader is balancing earning their trust while still being for the parent. It is an art. Youth leaders have the privilege of standing in the gap between the middle schooler and the parent. But no matter what, always remember to let it be known that you are on the parent’s team.
  6. They are incredibly insecure about what is happening to their bodies. They feel like they are the only ones going through this thing called middle school. Normalizing what’s happening to and around them is imperative. If you are trying to get a middle school student to do something in front of their peers and they resist, there is probably a physical explanation for it. Sweat stains. Period leakage. Wrong bra. Gas. Food in their braces. Acne. Though it’s all normal, it feels isolating to them. So don’t push them.
  7. They want to have fun, but they want to be taken seriously. You can’t be boring, or they won’t want to be with you. They don’t want you to just allow them to have fun; they want you to have fun with them. At the same time, they want you to be real with them. They want to be taken seriously. They don’t want surface answers. They want direct, real explanations. When they tell you something that seems silly to you but real to them, you can’t laugh. You can’t dismiss it. You have to engage it with a matched level of seriousness to show them you care.

No matter where you’re working with middle schoolers, I think these seven things will stay true. It’s who they are in this phase, and it’s why they need people like you cheering them on and loving them as they figure it out.

Posted in Ministry Resource

LOVECOLLIDE – Behind the Music

ABOUT THE ARTIST

Who Sounds Like Who
Taylor Swift  Selena Gomez

In today’s culture, to be “basic” is to be someone who is driven by mainstream behaviors and attractions. It’s the essence of fitting in, living from the baseline of acceptability.

Lauren and Brooke DeLeary aren’t having it.

The sisters, known collectively as the faith-forward pop duo LOVECOLLIDE, have spent their young lives bucking trends, shattering expectations, and defying norms – in essence, being anything but basic.

“We like to think outside the box and challenge others not to live the basic life,” Lauren said, “but to step out into the unknown and live out the life that God has called them to.” “That’s the theme, that’s the mission – an extraordinary life,” Brooke added. “Living in a way where you can never be labeled, like Jesus. Starting revival by being the light, being different, showing who Jesus is through us.”

Having started a band together when they were just tweens, Brooke and Lauren have watched God take something that began as a sibling side project and turned it into a poignant ministry. They’ve released several independent recordings together, toured across the U.S., done modeling and film gigs, and have shared the stage with some of Christian music’s biggest names. They’ve also been able to minister in Canada, something that’s particularly meaningful as tribal members of the Chippewas of the Thames First Nation in Muncey, Ontario.

It’s been a solid run so far. But with the release of their first major, nationally distributed album, Tired of Basic (The Fuel Music), LOVECOLLIDE is formally making their introduction to the larger music world and is poised to vastly expand their sphere of influence.

With their 10 new tracks, the DeLearys have crafted a soundtrack for the revolution–a revolution against boredom, mediocrity and status quo living. It’s a message that isn’t just for the band’s audience; it’s for the band, too.

Sonically, Tired of Basic finds LOVECOLLIDE at their musical peak, experimenting with new, cutting edge sounds that stand up to the best Top 40 radio has to offer. Armed with the prowess of new producers Riley Friesen (Family Force 5, Group 1 Crew) and Matt Dally (Superchick, Jamie Grace), LOVECOLLIDE has found its perfect match to achieve the sound they want to accompany their lyrics.

“We’ve always wanted to be current,” Lauren said. “It’s always been a journey for us, and always will be. I think our biggest goal with this new music and this new album was to create something that truly sounded like what we listen to on a daily basis, and what gets us going, and that’s dancy pop.”

Lyrically, the themes of Tired of Basic pull from some seismic ups and downs of the past two years.

Lauren, for one, dealt with the devastation of having to break off an engagement.

“I thought I was supposed to settle for that mediocre love, that my dreams for marrying my best friend and the love of my life were for someone else,” she said. “I’d just given up in a sense, but God radically changed my life when I broke off that relationship. Then God gave me Adam.”

That’s Adam Budnick, LOVECOLLIDE’s drummer, and Lauren’s fiancee.

Meanwhile, as hatred, racism and division have been at the forefront of public consciousness, the negativity took a very personal toll on Brooke, sending her into a suffocating depression.

“I lost myself for a long time,” she recalled. “I lost my connection with the world because I couldn’t handle all the negativity. I spent a lot of time in bed, detached.”

Tired, out of options and feeling the pit of despair getting deeper, Brooke decided to fast for the first time in her life. In that process, God began to speak.

“He said to me, ‘I can’t begin a new thing in your life when you still have old things,’” Brooke remembered. “‘I can’t fill you up when you’re still full with what was left over.’ That kind of turned things around.”

New music emerged. New partners surfaced. A new sound rose up. And the name LOVECOLLIDE took on a whole new dimension.

“We want to unite, love people, love each other, giving without expectation,” Brooke added. “With how we live our life, with our music, with everything–we want to slap people in the face with love!”

And LOVECOLLIDE primarily seeks to do that through their songwriting, which has grown and deepened on TIRED OF BASIC.

Powerhouse album opener “Awake” uses earworm hooks to address the concept that many people are alive in Christ, but are, as the DeLearys say, essentially sleepwalking through life. Fun crowd-pleaser “I Believe In Loud” is a declaration of boldly declaring the hope of Jesus to a hopeless world.

One song, “Breaking My Heart,” is a love song written about humanity from God’s perspective. Lauren and Brooke were able to draw emotions and language from their broken past relationships to bring language to the longing expressed in this downtempo pop jam.

On another, the emotional “I Don’t Want It,” LOVECOLLIDE shares about the things they learned as they questioned the band’s future.

“We were debating, kind of at the point of do or don’t with LOVECOLLIDE,” Brooke said. “We were calling out to God, saying, ‘I don’t want this if it’s without you.’ That song is about holding our dreams up to God.”

And the ethereal and introspective “Maybe” is perhaps the most vulnerable track on the new record, Lauren said, as it presents a raw, yet hopeful cry out to God about difficult times.

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Middle School Mission Trip Details

MS Mission Trip Attendee & Parent,

Click Here for What to bring list

We are getting very close to GO TIME so I wanted to send a few reminder:

  • A few of you have not turned in your Arms of Hope medical release form – please do so ASAP. It is attached – if you signed up online this was a separate form you needed to complete.
  • Balances can be turned in up to the day of departure, but preferably in advance so we can minimize check in time on June 25th. Let me know if you do not know your balance.
  • Attached is a What to Bring list from Arm’s of Hope.
  • MEETING DATES all 12-2pm in the Pavilion
    • June 14 – Student training – THIS THURSDAY – Lunch provided so please let me know if you aren’t able to make it.
    • June 21 – Student training
    • June 24 – Parent/Student meeting
  • The GAME PLAN
    • Leaving the church at 10:30am on June 25 – Lunch on the road
    • Each morning we will have work projects after breakfast then we will have lunch
    • Tuesday and Thursday we are hosting a mini VBS for the residential students after lunch
    • Wednesday after lunch we will go back to our work projects after lunch
    • Wednesday before dinner we will host chapel time with all residents
    • In the evening we will have free time to play games with residents
    • Will arrive back at Oakwood at approximately 3:00pm on June 29 – Lunch on the road

 

Please let me know if you have any questions. 😊

In His service,

Tory Tierney
Administrative Assistant
Oakwood Church
p: 830.625.0267
a: 2154 Loop 337, New Braunfels, TX 78130
w: oakwoodnb.com  e: tory.tierney@oakwoodnb.com

Owl City Summer Tunes

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“One of the most important relationships in my life is the one I have with my dad. I imagine to everyone else, he is just a normal guy: friendly, down-to-earth, patient, laid-back, even-keeled, a man of few words – but to me, he is a hero. I wrote this song as my way of saying, ‘Hey dad, I love ya.’” – Adam Young

No matter where he goes, Owl City mastermind Adam Young is constantly creating music. It doesn’t matter if he’s backstage before a gig or sitting in an airport terminal, the singer, songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist will typically be penning tunes on his laptop. His third full-length album nods to that process with the highly apropos title Mobile Orchestra [Republic Records]. Following up his acclaimed 2012 studio album The Midsummer Station, the record sees Owl City progress once more, veering off the beaten path in the process. “Mobile Orchestra is all about variety,” he asserts. “In the past, I’ve set out to make albums that were designed to be a singular listening experience, flowing from track to track. This time around, the songs are like ten rabbit holes that go off in different directions. I had never approached a record like this. I wanted to clear the slate and forget what I knew in order to create a new experience. I spent two years working on it, and it had the time to grow in between every idea. That’s why there’s so much going on.”There was no rush for Owl City. These songs got the chance to evolve as he built them and then sought out the right co-conspirators. The first single “Verge” merges his bright, buoyant production and shimmering vocals with a booming soulful refrain from Aloe Blacc. It blurs the lines between electro, alternative, pop, and R&B all at once, while remaining perfect for the dance floor. “You’re thinking about those moments in life where you’re on the edge,” explains Adam. “It’s like the last day of your life as you know it, and tomorrow everything is going to change. It could be a college graduation. It could be a new career. It could be your wedding day. You’re not sure how it’s going to go, but you’re confident that you’re going to hit the ground running. We reached out to Aloe out of nowhere, and he was so gracious and kind to lend his incredible talent to the track.”

At the same time, the band steps completely outside the box altogether on “Back Home” with country star Jake Owen. “That’s probably my favorite because it was so fresh for me to try something else,” he admits. “I’ve done acoustic tracks before but never like this. I’ve been a big fan of Jake’s for a couple of years. I listened to a lot of his records, and he was a gateway into the country world. We married this pop sensibility with his voice and told a story about how it feels to come home—especially after a long trip or, in our case, tour.”

Then, there’s the love letter to all things nineties with none other than Hanson’s “Unbelievable.” Wanting to capture a nostalgia for the era, Adam reached out to the pop powerhouse, and they cooked up this jovial anthem. “That one is so much fun,” he says. “It goes through everything we love about that era, and Hanson fit perfectly.” Elsewhere, “Thunderstruck” with UK trance diva Sarah Russell proves utterly propulsive and club-ready. As Adam assembled the music, the entire vision came into focus in late 2014 for Mobile Orchestra. “What each of these collaborators does is so different from what I do,” he continues. “It felt so right and natural to reach outside of my comfort zone and join forces with artists away from my world. That process was awesome. Once these people got on board, it really gave the project steam. The train was finally moving.”

The train really never stopped though. The Owatonna, Minnesota native remains an avant garde hitmaker in his own right. With total album sales over 2.5 million and single sales surpassing 18 million globally, his smash “Fireflies” from 2009’s Ocean Eyes received a five-times RIAA platinum certification in addition to going #1 in 26 countries. “Good Time” featuring Carly Rae Jepsen went Top 4 in the U.S. and racked up sales of close to three million. He composed the theme song for filmmaker Zack Snyder’s Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga’Hoole and an original tune for Disney’s Academy Award winner Wreck-It Ralph, while Owl City’s music has seen placements everywhere from The Croods and Veggietales to Smurfs 2.
Even with all of the collaborations on Mobile Orchestra, everything still stems from Adam’s vision in the end. “I’ve always got that laptop out,” he remarks. “You can do so much with layering, tones, and sounds. It’s literally like an orchestra in a box. If you just take the time to breathe life into it, it can be beautiful.”

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