Upward Sports™ Award Night Quick Tip: Response Cards

Time for another Upward Sports™ Award Night quick tip. I highly recommend using response cards. Here’s the procedure I recommend:

Pass out cards to the adults as they arrive, and instruct them to go ahead and fill out the evaluation side before the event starts. After the gospel presentation, give people a moment to fill out the cards.

I don’t know if other performers offer this, but I can take care of this during my portion of the program. After the gospel presentation, I explain the cards and give people a few minutes to fill out the cards. Then I come back on and do one more routine while the cards are collected.  That way, you don’t have to stop and collect cards later.

Finally, use the cards for the door prizes. That will greatly increase the number of cards turned in. You don’t need to give away a lot of prizes. If you take too long giving out an excessive amount of prizes, the program will start to drag. The kids are going to get something anyway. A handful of prizes is all you need.

Of course, there’s no point in taking up the cards if you aren’t going to follow up. Ultimately, the primary purpose of the league is to introduce kids and their families to Christ. Used correctly, the cards can be extremely helpful in reaching families and evaluating the effectiveness of the program.

Of course, I’d love to be a part of your event. You can visit my Upward Sports™ Award Ceremony Speaker page for more information.

(This is the fourth in a series of tips for making the most of your Upward™ Sports Award Night.)

Upward Sports™ Award Night Quick Tip: Face the Music

Kid Applauding

This is the third in my ongoing series of quick tips for your Upward Sports™ Award Ceremony. (If you missed them, you can find them here and here.

Today’s tip, use music. Music is a powerful tool to set the  mood and hold attention.

Use music to build excitement. Have upbeat music playing as the teams are announced. Have music playing in the background during the giveaway.

Use music to calm people down. When you are having a more serious moment, mellow music can help. For example, when you are having the response cards filled out (and you do use the cards, right?) play music in the background. It will help preserve the right mood, and help drown out distracting noises.

Music can fill “dead time.” Of course, the goal is to have something going on all the time. However, if there is a moment when nothing is happening, fill it with music. It will help hold people’s attention.

Background music sounds like a small detail, but it can make a huge difference in your event.

If there is anything I can do to help make your award ceremony a success, please let me know. You can find out more information at my  Upward Sports™ Award Night page.

(This is the third in a series of tips for making the most of your Upward™ Sports Award Night.)

Upward Sports™ Award Night Quick Tip: Remember the Purpose

Unlike my last “quick tip,” this one will actually be quick: Remember the purpose of the event.

The Upward Sports™ Award Night Celebration can be an incredibly crazy and stressful time for the director. It’s easy to get caught up in all the little details and loose sight of what matters. To be successful, the event must make the kids feel valued and loved, and everyone needs to hear the gospel. If your event accomplishes that, then it was a success, no matter how disorganized or “messy” the event seems.

This sounds obvious, but in my experience, its easy to loose sight of. For example, if you’re yelling at the kids because they’re not lined up the way you want, then you’re probably missing the point (Yes, it happens. I’ve seen it.)

In my completely biased opinion, this is why having an experienced performer is such an asset. A good performer who understands his role can make the league director’s job easier, so he or she can focus on the kids. A good performer can also present the gospel in a clear and meaningful way to everyone there, not just the kids.

I’d love to help out as your Upward Sports™ Award Night entertainer. If there is anything I can do for you, please let me know.


(This is the second in a series of tips for making the most of your Upward™ Sports Award Night.)

Upward Sports™ Award Night Quick Tip: Keep It Short

I have been performing at Upward Sports™ Award Night programs for many years now, so I have seen a lot of them–both good and, well, ones with room for improvement. I thought I’d create a few posts of  tips to make your Upward Sports™ Award Ceremony the best it can be.

Here’s a big one: keep it short! I have been to Upward Sports™ events that last for two hours. Everyone will have a better time and have more fun if you don’t tax their attention span. It really is possible to accomplish everything that needs to be accomplished in one hour. Really.

Here are a few thoughts:

Unless you have a very small league, don’t announce the names of each player. If you have hundreds of players, it will take too long and make the event drag. Kids (and parents) will get bored. You can still announce each team and have them run in so they get recognized with a round of applause.

If you use a long video, consider playing it before the event starts, and possibly again afterwards. This will give everyone something to watch while they’re waiting for the event to start, and it will keep the program itself moving.

Don’t spend much time thanking your volunteers. You can have everyone who helped stand up to receive a round of applause, but don’t take time to recognize individuals. This event is about the kids and their families. Honoring the volunteers is important, but don’t negatively impact the award night to do it. Why not have another event to thank your helpers? That way you’ll have a smoother award night and more effectively express your gratitude.

Consider having your award night entertainer manage the comment cards. The speaker can have the cards filled out and collected during their presentation. That way there won’t be a lull afterwards while they’re being collected. (I’ll share more about comment cards in a future post.)

Don’t overdo the door prizes. A handful of prizes is sufficient. (Again, I’ll share more on the topic of door prizes later.)

Unless your league is small, do not give out the awards to the kids during the presentation. If you expect a kid to be given a new toy then set quietly and watch the remainder of the presentation, you’re obviously new to Children’s Ministry. It’s not going to happen. Once a kid has the award, the event is over for them. Have the awards available to the coaches who can give them out to their teams as soon at the event ends. Often, leagues just have them in bags at the end of the row so the coached can hand them out right there. (And if that award is a basketball, you may want to give them away uninflated. It will greatly reduce chaos. You can have some pumps available after the event for kids who can’t wait until they get home, or who don’t have access to a pump.)

Of course, I’d love to be a part of your event. You can visit my Upward Sports™ Award Night Entertainment page for more information.

If you have any thoughts for keeping things moving, please share them in the comments.

(This is the first in a series of tips for making the most of your Upward™ Sports Award Night.)

Upward Basketball Award Night Season

The season for Upward Basketball Award Night events was shorter than usual this year, due to the early Easter holiday. I was still able to do quite a few of them.

I’ve said it before, but I really love Upward. It’s an amazing and effective ministry to kids and families. If you aren’t familiar with it, you owe it to yourself to learn more about it

Here’s some feedback I received from one of them:

 I have been asked by numerous people in attendance that night, “Where did you find this guy, he was great!” 

Brad did an amazing job both in his performance and relating to the kids.  There are a lot of really talented performers out there but it takes a special talent to be able to entertain kids and keep their attention for an hour.  Brad Brown is that kind of talented performer!