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Taking it to the Edge

Chambersburg First Church of God holds annual summer block party

Chambersburg First Church of God holds annual summer block party

September 01, 2009|BY KRISTYN PANKIW / Pulse correspondent

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. -- Amid the pounding of drums from The Mooring band, you can hear teens laughing, parents shouting and the ever-present thwacking of flip-flops as kids run from one end of the parking lot to the other.

The smell of popcorn and sweet cotton candy hangs heavily in the air like perfume, weaving in and out of the hundreds of people, many of whom are at the base of the makeshift stage, singing along to their favorite songs.

Every once in awhile, you hear a loud splash as another victim falls prey to the water in the dunking booth.

But what, you may be asking, is this? This is The Edge Block Party, held at the end of the summer (this year, Aug. 26) at Chambersburg First Church of God (CFCOG).

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Reaching out

Gene Reineman, youth pastor at CFCOG and director of The Edge, created the block party last summer and has now turned it into an annual affair.

The block party was created as an outreach project for Chambersburg and the surrounding area. Church members hope the block party will encourage teens to get involved in youth groups and become interested in learning more about church. It also serves as a chance for the youth groups around Chambersburg to come together as one and get to know each other.

The Edge has a menagerie of activities -- from a water-balloon slingshot game to the inflatable tug and twist. This year, two bands performed: The Mooring and Stereoreel, both Christian bands from the area. In addition, there was food, drinks, games, a dunking booth and a speaker, Brad Varner.

Be the change

Brad Varner, the area director of Young Life in Chambersburg, was invited to speak at The Edge. He speaks at Young Life regularly and organizes it weekly. For the event, Brad focused his speech on the mark teens should be making on their high schools.

"How do you want to be remembered?" Brad asked the crowd. "What will make you stand out? What kind of mark should you leave behind (in your high school, junior high, or middle school)? You decide."

Brad went on to discuss how teens can make a positive impact on their schools.

"It all comes down to your relationship with God," he said.

Ryan Ching, 14, from Chambersburg, said he really liked the speaker.

"He was inspiring," he said. "He made me want to be the change (in my school)."

A night of fun

While many of the older teens hung out near the band, the younger teens huddled around the water-balloon slingshot game and the dunking booth, as well as the tug and twister.

Devon Cubeta, 12, from Fayetteville, Pa., said this was his first time at the block party.

"I heard about it from my friend," he said.

Devon said he had a lot of fun. His favorite part was "the water balloons."

Garrett Mixell, 12, also from Fayetteville, said this was his first time at The Edge.

"I heard about it from my youth group," he said.

Garrett said he really liked the water balloon game. He plans to attend The Edge next year, too.

Stereoreel

The older teens seemed to enjoy the bands the most. Stereoreel, a local band that came together in 2008, performed near the end of the event. Stereoreel has four members. Caleb Nei, 33, is the lead singer and plays piano for the band; Dustin Martin, 24, plays the drums; Seth Dean, 23, plays the guitar; and his younger brother, Ethan Dean, 20, plays the bass.

Stereoreel was started because the four friends have always had a passion for making music, especially music that "sounds awesome and honors God," Caleb said. "We honor God in what we do."

The band leads worship for several churches in the area.

"Every Sunday night we are at Grace Community Church in Winchester, Va.," Caleb explained. "On most Tuesday evenings, we play for the Cadence young adult service at Otterbein Church in Waynesboro, Pennsylvania."

The band has also had gigs at C & C Coffee in Chambersburg, West Point, Cove Valley, and other churches, block parties, and youth events or worship nights. They even had the chance to play at the 40th anniversary of the Woodstock Music Festival in Five Forks, Pa.

Caleb said he would classify the band's music as Christian rock.

"We're Christians, and we play rock!" he joked.

Caleb said, "Our favorite song is always the most recent (one)." Right now, that means the band loves their new single, 'Lord, Help Me.' The song is available for download on iTunes and Amazon.

Prizes, prizes, prizes!

As the block party began to wind down, everyone got ready for the prize giveaway. Every year, The Edge gives away tons of small prizes, ranging from T-shirts to gift cards. At the end of the event, the grand prizes are awarded. This year, they included a $100 shopping spree and an iPod Touch.

When teens arrive at the block party, they are given information cards to fill out, which automatically enter them into the prize drawings. Near 9, Gene drew cards out of a bowl for the two grand prizes.

Brianna Bowen, 15, from Newburg,Pa., won the $100 shopping spree to Kohl's. She said she was very excited to win.

"I'll probably buy a ton of clothes," she said.

Zach Lundy, 13, from Chambersburg, won the iPod Touch. He said he already has an iPod, but he was glad to win the new version.

"I don't know (what song I'll download first) because I already have an account. I'll just put them all on!" he said.

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