Posted by: slow study | September 30, 2010

Corn Maze with the Youth Group

I thought I had everything covered when I listed the rules about going through the nighttime corn maze.

I guess I was wrong.

Sigh.

Eh, what can you do?  After each new youth event, I seem to add another don’t to the list. (A recently added rule:  Don’t open the doors of the vehicle while it is moving.)

They were just so excited to go through the maze.  And the handout at the apple orchard promised that there would be lurking monsters.

My emphasis to our group had been DO NOT TOUCH THE MONSTERS IN THE MAZE.  They are REAL PEOPLE, hired for a job.  Don’t touch them, hit them, or abuse them in any way.

Kid:  Can we yell at them?

Janet:  It is understandable if you yell because you get scared.  But there is no need to verbally abuse a monster, threaten his family with harm, etc.

Kid:  So I can yell at him as long as I don’t say anything about his mom?

Janet:  Sigh.

The kids were initially hesitant when we were herded off the wagon ride, in the dark, by a gravelly-voiced monster.

Mildly cocky when a grunting, gory mask-wearing monster asked us for our admission tokens.

And thoroughly wound up/freaked out by the time we actually entered the maze.

I was told to lead our group of five.  I could feel someone’s head pressed into my back.  I’m not sure any of the kids had their eyes open as we began stumbling along in our awkward conga line.

I kept my flashlight fixed on the ground ahead of me.  My biggest concern was my knee.  The knee that had gone through surgery exactly one year earlier.  The knee that was covered with a large protective wrap that I had just purchased from Dick’s Sporting Goods earlier that day (because I had lost my other one).  Thankfully, the path was worn smooth from all the corn maze walkers from previous weeks.  The major obstacles were fallen stalks and the occasional ear of corn on the ground.

Up ahead, we could hear screams from the group that had gone into the maze before us.  It took away some of the tension because at least we knew to expect something.  And by the time we caught up to that frozen group, the monster had quieted down from his initial outburst.

We didn’t always have warnings, though, and some of the kids panicked when a stalker appeared.  Amy’s group of five splintered into three parts when scared – a screaming pair of kids ran in one direction, another pair went a different direction, and Amy was left standing alone.

Amy:  Thanks a lot.

Janet, to the group of five when they got back together:  Don’t abandon your group.  You have to be like the Marines. 

Rachael (other adult chaperone): Don’t leave a man behind.

Sometimes we would hear sounds on the path, only to find that it was a wooden crate covering a speaker that was piping eerie music.

“That’s dumb,” a relieved kid said, upon discovering it wasn’t a monster.

I was unable to determine how many monsters in the maze had chainsaws.  Three?  There may have been two Jasons (hockey mask-wearing monsters) or maybe just one who moved around a lot.  At one point, Jason caught a group of us in a part of the maze where the paths met at a “T.”  The walkers stood motionless while Jason wielded his running chainsaw, the pinnacle of which was his dragging the chainsaw blade in the dirt right in front of our feet.  No one moved.  No one screamed.  We just stood there.  Finally, Jason left, possibly out of sheer frustration (?)  After the initial scare, a lot of us weren’t reacting to the monsters.  For me, the worst part of Jason’s appearance was dealing with the gas fumes.  I could taste the gasoline.

Although we were in different groups when we started the maze, the other adult chaperone and I found ourselves together almost right away.  We chatted nonchalantly as monsters appeared and disappeared around us.  One followed me for awhile. No problem. At least I wasn’t first in line any more.  Or last.

Janet:  We must be near the end of the maze.  There’s Jason again.

I personally thought the scarecrow was the most unsettling of all the corn stalkers.

The burlap sack over his head had a face painted on it, and the mouth was just three vertical, parallel black stitches. 

Kid, in the dark:  Where’s Amy?

Scarecrow, in a low, hair-raising voice:  Amy isn’t here anymore.

We kept walking, but in the dark, even a few rows over, we could hear the scarecrow continue on:  Amy.   Amy.  Amy.

Amy:  Thanks, Bridget.

A monster jumped out at our group, but by this time we were all calm and it rattled no one.

Kid in a disdainful voice to the monster as we walked past:  Try a little harder next time.

I cringed. 

I’m just grateful that the monster didn’t throttle her or hit her with a running elbow drop to the throat.  It was the first night of the haunted maze, and the monsters were doing a great job, no matter what surly teens said.  We were fortunate that the monsters weren’t allowed to touch the walkers.

It was unclear whether or not Bridget had been asked to leave the maze.  The stories varied.

Kid calling me on my cell phone:  BRIDGET GOT KICKED OUT OF THE CORN MAZE.

Janet:  But I can see her walking right in front of me.  Unless there is someone else in this maze wearing shorts and black tights.

Another youth reported that one of the monsters had pulled out his cell phone, and in a non-monster voice, had called the manager of the apple orchard.  The monster was overheard saying “there are three girls and one of them is named Cody.” 

Also noteworthy:  one of the monsters yelled GET OUT OF MY CORN at everyone who walked by.  Someone couldn’t have possibly interpreted that as an order to leave the maze…(?)

Kid:  Bridget said something to the monster about his mom.

Janet, tiredly:  What?

Kid:  When the monster said, ‘Get out of my corn,’ Bridget said, ‘Get your MOM out of my corn.’

Regardless, someone in my group trampled down a section of corn stalks, creating a new path.  With all my talk about not harming the monsters, I hadn’t even thought about mentioning not damaging the maze.  Oy.  To me, property damage results in a kid being promptly removed from the event and sent home.  But how do you follow through with that when you are lost in a maze, in the dark, you don’t know exactly what happened, you are in charge of 13 kids, you don’t know who was responsible, and there is no way of possibly repairing the damage?  I mean, it took all summer to grow that corn.

Another report had one of our guests, not one of our church kids, trampling down the corn.

Sigh.

At least no one got hurt, monsters or kids.

And only one kid threw up.  And not in the maze, thank goodness.  Encountering someone vomiting in the maze would be more horrifying than any monster.

I recounted this story to a friend of mine, who is a youth pastor.

His response?  Welcome to youth ministry.

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Responses

  1. I am laughing so hard over this! Remember when we were the monsters? I got hit several times by screaming guys. I’d see strobes for hours after getting out of that room. Eh, you probably don’t remember the strobes, since I don’t recall you in that room. You were probably with Jason.

  2. I have to say this is FUNNY! I can hear Bridget talking away while walking thru.
    You are doing a great job with them


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