Using Your Super Hero Powers to Wipe Out Dead Air At Your Family Reunion

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How to Destroy Boring Family Reunion
“Dead Air”

Back in my 20’s I worked as a disc jockey at a radio station.  About the worst thing a deejay could do back then and I’m  pretty sure now, is to have “dead air”.  Dead air is an unintended period of silence during a radio broadcast.  I have been unfortunate enough to experience some  periods of dead air when I worked as a disc jockey, usually because I was unprepared, unorganized or because there was an equipment mal-function.  I have also experienced “dead air” at a family reunion.

It is most common to experience reunion or party dead air between the time when family or guests are arriving and the time when the planned activities are scheduled to begin.  I know you’ve experienced it- people just standing around in awkward silence not sure what they’re supposed to be doing and wishing that they had someone to talk to.

There is a solution to doing away with reunion dead air- be prepared, be organized and PLAN an activity that doesn’t have to be supervised.

A few of our favorite dead air busters are:

Sugar Cookie Decorating

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When we arrived at Aunt Karen’s dinosaur reunion twenty or so years ago, we found plastic wrapped dinosaurs shaped sugar cookies tied to trees and fences all around the park where the reunion was held.  After checking in, everyone went on a dinosaur hunt to find the perfect sugar cookie and then on  to the decorating station where we found frosting, sprinkles and candies to decorate our cookies.

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As we frosted and decorated our cookies, other family members arrived and we laughed, talked and ate our dinosaur masterpieces and Bam- dead air destroyed!

DIY Tee Shirts

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The Brown family used a creative idea to not only take care of dead air but to also personalize their reunion t-shirts.

Instead of doing a generic design on their shirts they did stick figures of a family and when family members arrived at the reunion  they painted their own shirt using fabric paints and markers.  Everyone was so busy and excited about their shirts they chatted and shared ideas and Pow- dead air busted!

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Boondoggle

Boondoggle will keep most kids, 10 and over occupied for any dead air during your reunion.  By taking two strings of boondoggle, you can weave, braid, or otherwise knot it to create some fun projects.

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Set out a few spools of boondoggle and a few clips or key chains and before   you know it, young and old will be making new boondoggle creations.

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You will need someone to man the boondoggle station that knows how to start boondoggle.  If someone in your family has been to a girl or boy scout camp they probably already know how to do boondoggle.  A good resource for learning boondoggle basics is Boondoggle Man- and Splash- dead air busted!

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NOTE: If using an activity for the older children, like boondoggle, don’t forget to set out something for the younger ones such as coloring pages, a kiddy pool  filled with sand or a few soft balls.

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Stating the Obvious

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Here’s the obvious boredom busters- set up volleyball, badminton, croquet, horseshoes or any activity that  will get your family interacting with each other. 

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I have a giant Checkers game that I set out at every reunion (it’s tradition) and before too  long one of the cousins will challenge an uncle to a game and a crowd will  gather around to watch. 

It doesn’t take a lot of effort to set these games up but it sure adds to the reunion fun.

When most of your family has arrived at the reunion it’s time to move on to your planned activities, usually ice breaker games, but with some extra planning and effort on your part their won’t be much ice to break- families members will feel right at home because you’ve used your super hero powers to destroy reunion dead air.

Holiday Trivia Party Game

Do you know the original name of “Memorial Day”?  Do you know the names of the three US presidents that died on Independence Day?

Find out how well you know your Holiday facts by playing the Holiday Trivia game at your next reunion or party. 

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Holiday Trivia

We played the Holiday Trivia game at a  “Holiday and Seasons” couples wedding shower .  Each guest was assigned a holiday or a season and they brought a gift that kept with that holiday theme. 

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Holiday Shower Gift Ideas

Some examples of gifts are:

Winter- crockpot and soup bowl
Spring- Sandwich maker (because it warms up)
St Patricks Day- Smoothie maker with green smoothie mix and green cups to drink it in all wrapped in green.
Halloween- a broom as in”witches”
Valentines Day- everything you need for a romantic dinner for two
Independence Day- a Flag
And the list goes on.

Holiday and Seasons Newlywed Game

We also played a variation of the “Newlywed/Oldywed game which included lots of holiday questions such as:

What’s your favorite holiday?

Does your spouse wear green on St Patrick’s Day?

What is your spouse’s favorite Thanksgiving food?

Does your spouse prefer a real or artificial Christmas tree?

But you don’t have to have wedding on your calendar to celebrate the holidays and seasons- try a holiday and seasons theme for your family reunion. It’s especially appropriate if you have a family member such as a serviceman or missionary that has been away from the family for awhile.  Celebrate the birthdays they have missed, have a big Thanksgiving dinner and exchange Christmas gifts.

And if you’re wondering what the original name  of Memorial Day was…

Holiday Trivia Answers

1. Cupid is the symbol of Valentine’s Day because he is the son of whom?

a. Venus
b. Vesuvius
c. Aphrodite

2. On Christmas Eve 1923, which US president began the country’s celebration of Christmas by lighting the National Christmas Tree with 3,000 electric lights on the Ellipse located south of the White House.

a. President Calvin Coolidge
b. President Abraham Lincoln
c. President Warren G. Hardy

3. What is the name of the famous Christmas play written by Charles Dickens ?

a. "A Christmas Carol”
b. “The Nutcracker”
c. “How the Grinch Stole Christmas”

4. What is the number one non-chocolate candy consumed on Easter?

a. Peeps
b. Brachs Marshmallow Eggs
c. Jelly Beans

5. What is the name of the Jewish New Year?

a. Ramadan
b. Rosh Hashanah
c. Yom Kippur

6. Memorial Day, the day to remember those who have died in service, was given a different name in the beginning. What was it?

a. Day of Remembering
b. Remembrance Day
c. Decoration Day

7. If the ground hog sees his shadow on Ground Hog Day, legend says we get how many more weeks of winter?

A. 4 weeks
B. 6 weeks
C. 2 months

8. John Adams and Thomas Jefferson, both of whom had not only signed the Declaration of Independence but went on to serve as Presidents of the United States, died on July 4th, 1826. Another Founding Father who became President, died on July 4, 1831 becoming the third President in a row to die on Independence Day. Who was it?

a. James Monroe
b. James Madison
c. James A. Garfield

9. Jack o’ Lanterns originated in Ireland where people placed candles in hollowed-out __________ to keep away spirits and ghosts on the holiday.

a. Turnips
b. Pumpkins
c. Watermelons

10. Chocolate candy bars top the list as the most popular candy for trick-or-treaters. Which candy bar is the number one favorite?

a. Snickers
b. M & Ms
c. Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups

11. If you don’t wear the color Green on St. Patrick’s Day you may get __________.

a. Punched
b. Pinched
c. Tickled

12. Just as Santa Claus is the mascot of Christmas, who is the mascot of New Year’s Eve?

a. Father Time
b. New Year’s Ghost
c. Dick Clark

Fun Party Games for Your Family Reunion

Are you looking for a fun game for your family party or reunion? Here’s a few fun  party games that also work well for  family reunions.  These games  work well for most ages  and abilities.

Paddle Ball Contest

I bought a dozen paddle balls, for under $10.00) from Oriental Trading (http://www.orientaltrading.com) so that we could have 12 people compete at a time. Everyone needs a partner so count off in twos. One person will compete, the other will count. I suggest coming up with some rules, for example, competitors must hit the ball down not up, they must not touch the elastic or the ball.

Give everyone a 1 minute “warm up” to practice and develop their technique. Time for 1 minute and award medals to those that hit the ball the most times.  Then reverse and let the counter have a chance with the paddle.

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Feeding Frenzy Pudding Game

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You will need one single serving of pudding for each participant. Teams of two sit one behind each other. The person behind puts their arms underneath the person in front. (See pictures) The person behind must feed the person in front the pudding. First team done is the winner of that round. Teams then reverse and the person that was in front now sits behind and its their turn to “get even”!

Spray Bottle Relay

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Set a garbage can 12′ from the foul line and place container of balloons behind the foul line. When the clock starts, player may toss balloon in the air from behind the foul line and attempt to direct it into the trash can using only the spray bottle. If the balloon hits the ground, the spray bottle, or any part of the player’s body, it’s void. A player may reuse an old balloon or use a new balloon to make a new attempt from behind the foul line. To complete the game, player must move 1 balloon through the air and into the trash can using only the water from the spray bottle within the 60-second time limit.

Pool-ategories!

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This game is as fun to watch as it is to play. First, chose a leader to be the “caller”. After you have chosen the caller, they will think of a category (colors, animals, ice cream flavors, etc).  People will line up at the diving board. One person will jump off the diving board and the caller will say a category as soon as they leave the diving board. The person who jumps off has to name something in the category before they hit the water. If he or she does, they return to the line. If they do not, they are out. Then the next person in line goes.  The last person in the game is the caller for the next round.

Balloon Stomp

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I think this is Uncle Scott’s favorite party game and it really does work well with a large group of people.

An area of your family reunion site is cordoned off or you could use an inside area. Participants tie a balloon to each ankle. On a whistle all the contestants have to try to stomp on each other’s balloons and pop them. If both of your balloons are popped you are out. The winner is the last one with a un-popped balloon on their leg.

Sardines a Silly Hide and Seek Game

 

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Sardines, a fun game for large groups

This is fun hide and seek game for large groups so it’s perfect for family reunion.  Just think of “Sardines” as the opposite of “Hide and Seek”.The object of the game is to find the person hiding and hide with them.  “Sardines” is best played in a large area with many hiding places such as a campground, large yard, field, or park.

How to Play Sardines

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First choose someone to be “it”.  “It” hides while everyone counts slowly to 20. When they’re done counting everyone hunts for the “it”. When they find “it” they hide with him/her until the last person finds the hiding group. This person now becomes “it” and hides.

Sardines is especially fun with big families and groups.  It is a fun game to play in the dark. There is no advance preparation needed. Sardines is a good game to keep in your game repertoire to play when  you need a filler or when you need a game for the kids in the family so the adults can get a little down time- just don’t forget to “seek” for the kids after they “hide”.

5 Dollars Off Any $19.95 Reunion Theme Package

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Had the pleasure of stopping by the Mower family reunion today. It was so fun to see everyone visiting, enjoying yummy food and kids playing on the toys. Seeing them having such a good time made me excited for family reunion season. Can’t wait to get together with our extended family!

To get the reunion season started off right, family reunion helper is offering 5.00 off any of their $19.95 reunion theme packages. Circus, Caveman, Heritage, All-sport, Western or any of our fun reunion themes.

Just enter the code "reunion2013" at check out. This offer expires at midnight, May 27th 2013, Memorial Day- the start of family reunion season!

Have a Circus and Carnival Family Reunion

 

Ladies & Gentlemen,
Children of all Ages…
Family Reunion Helper
is proud to present…
A Circus and Carnival family reunion!

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No need to run off and join the circus- you’re family will have more fun than they ever imagined when you create a Circus-themed family reunion!

Circus Parade

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Begin your family reunion with a circus parade. Ask everyone to dress up as clowns, wild animals, popcorn venders or circus performers. Decorate bikes, strollers and wheelchairs and give prizes for the most creative and unusual costumes. You might want to have a few extra crazy wigs, wacky bow ties and plastic noses for those that forget their costume.

Carnival Booths

My favorite thing about a circus themed family reunion is that it is so easy to make assignments.  Assign individual families a game booth for your carnival. They can be responsible for the game and prizes for their booth.

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Circus Acts

Assign family members a circus act (silly and creative acts are the best) and don’t forget a ringmaster to keep things lively.

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Face Painting

Get the teenagers in your family involved by asking them to be in charge of a face painting booth.  Kids love to have fun with their favorite animated characters and cartoon idols. Face painting is popular but you will need more than one painter to accommodate all the children that want their faces painted at your circus reunion.

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Circus Party Games and Activities

You can find lots of fun circus party and and game activities in familyreunionhelper.com’s reunion theme package.  Consider a game of “Clown Softball”.  It’s a mixed up and silly way to play softball that will get team members and spectators laughing.

Or how about a “Big Top” parachute?  Parachutes are so fun and can add to your circus theme if you call it the “Circus Big Top”. The best thing about a parachute is that up to 25-30 people can be kept busy and that there are no actual winners and losers in the games.

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It’s important to include activities for family members that don’t want to be as physical as the younger set. Pass out copies of the “How Well Do You Know the Circus?” Quiz and give a box of animal crackers to the person that gets the highest score.  Test your circus knowledge with this sample question  from the quiz.

1. About how long is the RINGLING BROS. AND BARNUM & BAILEY train?

a. 1 mile

b. 21 cars

c. 1.5 miles

The answer- A, 1 mile.

You can find a copy of the quiz as well as lots of fun activities at familyreunionhelper.com. They are included in the Circus themed reunion.

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If you’re looking for a family reunion that gives your family a chance to clown around then a “Circus” theme is the one for you.

Thanks to the Banner family for many of the photos posted in this blog.  You can certainly tell that they are a supportive and fun family.  Organizer of the Banner reunion was the Ric and Jill Crowther family.

New and Improved Circus Family Reunion or Party

Ladies & Gentlemen,
Children of all Ages…
Family Reunion Helper
is proud to present…
A Circus and Carnival family reunion!

Not everything is new about familyreunionhelper’s “Circus” reunion but we’ve made some changes that we think you’ll love. 

Circus Invitations

Our new fill in the blank Circus invitations are so fun.  Just print on cardstock, fill in the blanks and mail to family and friends. There are two styles to choose from and a “save the date” card.

Circus Water Bottle Labels

The Circus family now includes circus themed water bottle labels that come in three fun styles and circus bag toppers that can be stapled to bags of popcorn, animal crackers or cotton candy.

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Although we’ve included some fun circus printables to our circus theme we’ve kept the tried and true games and activities that we know your family will love.

If you’re looking for a family reunion that gives your family a chance to clown around then a “Circus” theme is the one for you.

Circus Family Reunion

Circus Reunion

New and Improved Campfire Songbook

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Campfire Songbook

After months of hard work the familyreunionhelper.com new and improved "Campfire Songbook" revision is ready to go! The book is FREE to familyreunionhelper.com subscribers. FREE Campfire Songbook link

The revised addition is in landscape format and includes cute graphics from scrappindoodles.com.

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HINT: Give family members a link to the songbook and ask them to print their own songbook to bring to your family reunion or sing a long.

HINT: Set your printer to print – front to back.

HINT: Laminate the outside cover of your songbooks so they can be used for many sing a longs to  come.

Guitar Tabs for Traditional Songs

Also included in this new songbook are a few pages of songs with guitar chords.  Experienced guitar players can easily pick out  the chording to a song but for me, having the chords written down is huge help.

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Already a subscriber but would like a copy of the new Campfire Songbook? Send Aunt Mo an email and she’ll make sure you get a copy of the updated songbook. Email Aunt MO

Skijoring- Winter Family Fun

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What do you do when you have an old snowboard in your shed, six horses on winter vacation and five acres of snow in your pasture- you go skijoring!

Skijoring is a winter sport that originated in Scandinavia. It involves towing a skier behind horses or dogs.  Having to choose between horse  power and dog power- we choose the horses. 

Horse skijoring usually takes two people and one horse. One person rides the horse while the skier is towed behind on skis or a snowboard.

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The rider determines how fast you go and the route, while the skier holds on and tries to maintain enough control to maneuver around obstacles or perhaps towards obstacles such as a jump.

Skijoring How To

We saw a demonstration of horse skijoring at Ogden City’s Winter Fest a couple of years ago and have talked about giving it a try ever since, but this is the year we made it happen.

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We began slowly, beginning first with an inner tube.  Our horse, Raleigh, wasn’t very excited about a black donut following behind him, but with some patience and encouragement he soon caught on so we took the next step- we added a live  person!

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That didn’t seem to bother Raleigh so we strapped on the snowboard and that’s when the real skijoring began.

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Skijoring Tips

We used a light, nylon rope for our skijoring which worked fine but hope to snag a waterskiing rope before we go skijoring again- the handle would be much more comfortable.

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One thing we did discover was that when the  horse made a turn the skier would be whipped around and would come right up to the side of the horse, very much like coming out of the wake when you are water skiing only a little more extreme.

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Skijoring Jumps

Our first attempt at Skijoring was so much fun we couldn’t wait to go at it again and this time we decided to add a jump.

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Even though it was a relatively small jump we did manage to get some air.

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Raleigh- the Skijoring Hero

Although the humans did a great job at skijoring the true hero was Raleigh, our 8 year old bay Quarter horse who was thoroughly dried off and given an extra measure of oats at the end of the day.

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Because there were a lot of people that wanted to get into the action we kept the four-wheeler running with inner tubes in tow.

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When I do my family fun presentations I encourage families to “make the ordinary- extraordinary” and skijoring is a perfect example of that.  All we did was took a look at what we had available to us and turned it into some extreme family fun.

One last thing- “LIKE” us on Facebook to be eligible to win a FREE family reunion theme package!  Like us HERE.

Four of Our Favorite Team Building Activities

There’s nothing like some good team building activities to get your family, friends or youth group working together and learning to depend on each other.  Here’s a few of our favorites.

Helium Stick

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Helium Stick is a team building game that will get your whole group laughing.

You play Helium Stick by lining up in two rows which face each other.  Give them the Helium Stick- a long, thin, lightweight rod such as PVC pipe.

Ask the players to point their index fingers and hold their arms out. Lay the Helium Stick down on their fingers. Get the group to adjust their finger heights until the Helium Stick is horizontal and everyone’s index fingers are touching the stick. The challenge is to lower the Helium Stick to the ground.

NOTE: Each person’s fingers must be in touching the Helium Stick at all times. Pinching or grabbing the pole in not allowed – it must rest on top of fingers. Everyone’s fingers MUST be touching the Helium Stick!

It sounds easy but the stick seems to float to the top until the group works diligently to lower it to the ground. The trick is that the collective upwards pressure created by everyone’s fingers tends to be greater than the weight of the stick. As a result, the more a group tries, the more the stick tends to ‘float’ upwards.

I like this team building activity because it doesn’t require a lot of equipment or advance preparation. Hope it’s fun for your family.

Shark Island

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Object: The entire group of 12- 20 people must board a 2-foot-square
Platform without anyone touching the ground around it.

Rules:
Everyone must remain on the platform for at least 10 seconds.
Everyone must have both feet off the ground.
Don’t put people more than two high.

Outcome:
Talk with the participants about teamwork, leadership and problem
solving skills. Emphasize that when someone feels that they have a
problem that is impossible to solve, that we can work together as a
family to help them find a solution.  The most difficult part of this team building activity is getting the platform.  If you are not able to get a platform you can tape your square on the floor and use a piece of carpet.  It’s not quite as "thrilling" as a raised platform but can still be  learning experience for your group.

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The Couch Game

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To play this game you need equal numbers of guys and girls, and form a team of each. You can ask girls to join the guys team if required and vice versa. You will also need a couch, which can be a real couch (which would replace four seats) or four adjacent seats or lawn chairs.

Write all of the players’ names onto pieces of paper and give one slip to each players. You become whoever your piece of paper says you are – don’t tell anyone whose name you have.

Everyone sits in a circle, alternate guy, girl, with four people on the couch and the rest on chairs. Have one extra, empty chair.

The object of the game is to get all your gender onto the couch. The person who is sitting with the empty chair to their left calls out a name, trying to get the opposite gender off the couch. The person with that piece of paper must stand up and move to the empty chair. They then swap their piece of paper with the caller. The next person to call is the one with now empty space to their left.

For example, say that Megan calls out "Jack". Grandpa has the name "Jack" on his paper so he moves to the empty chair and exchanges papers with Megan. So Megan now becomes "Jack". The person who was next to Grandpa now has an empty space on the left and is the next caller.

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This goes on until one team has 4 of their own players on the couch.

This game starts off slowly and the games don’t last long but as the players catch on they will really start paying attention and memorizing the names people are exchanging.

Human Ladder

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Object: The group lines up in two rows with each row facing the other. Each pair of persons (one from each row) facing each other will hold a dowel. (One 3′ x 1½’ dowel per person or a 3’ x 2×2 stick.) The object is to have one person standing at the end who will crawl across the horizontal ladder formed by the dowels. Caution: Make sure the dowels you have will support your group member’s weight! A volunteer starts at one end of the human ladder and climbs (horizontally) along the rungs of the ladder. After the climber passes over a rung of the ladder, team members "leap frog" to the front of the ladder, allowing the climber to continue climbing indefinitely. 

Rules:
The climber must touch every rung of the ladder.
The group can hold the dowels in any manner desired— high, low, or forming a turn.
Do not hold the rungs above shoulder height.