"We learned a long time ago that (competition) absolutely attracts that age," said Patrick Snow, CIY's senior director of weekend events. "We've done all sorts of competitions and let them attach themselves to a team, but any time we do guys against girls it gets crazy. There's something about that rivalry that is so interesting and fun, but it's for the engagement."
This year's SuperStart audiences enjoy getting to know stage actors Korey Klein, Sammy Snow and Mel McCray. Klein takes on the role of the team captain for the boys, and Snow rallies the girls for her team. Many teaching moments happen along the way through the program - some relating to the desire to win.
"It's hard sometimes with preteen boys - and even later in life - because there's a thick blood of wanting to win," Klein said. "What I love about what we do is the back-and-forth with Sammy. It's fun! But then we get to wrap it up with fairness, congratulations and encouraging one another. We can share it's fun to win, but it's more fun and important the way you win."
This is Klein's third SuperStart tour, and Sammy Snow's 13th year on the stage. The actors said they love the excitement of fourth-sixth graders, but even more the fun they have bringing the love of Jesus to students.
"It's such a blessing to be a part of it - to be able to use the gifts God has given me to reach these kids in this zany, crazy age," Sammy Snow said. "It's just a matter of having fun. You have to not take yourself too seriously, and just enjoy the game."
The last stops on the "Power Up" tour are: March 9-10 in Bloomington, Illinois; March 16-17 in Cincinnati, Ohio; and April 13-14 in Chicago, Illinois. Please visit ciy.com/superstart to see the dates and locations for the 2018/2019 tour.