Converge Church in Moorestown will host Shocker Ball this fall at Jeff Young Memorial Park to kick off the new school year.
The Sept. 2 event is open to kids in grades seven through 12, local college-age students and adult chaperones.
“It’s really cool to bring a large group of students together who don’t normally interact necessarily and let them form those connections and build that community,” said church Youth Director Tim McHale.
McHale explained what Shocker Ball is all about.
“Typically, we try to put it on that weekend, just before school starts,” he said of the event, which will include a cookout and guest speaker. “We have a massive, 8-foot soccer ball and it’s a lot of fun …
“Whether you’re in a church or not, it doesn’t matter, we just try to get kids from the community to come out and we just play a big game.”
According to McHale, the church has been hosting Shocker Ball for 20 years.
“It started small, but it’s grown throughout the years and we try to do a better job in recent years with getting the word out so more people know that we do it.”
Converge Church kept the event going through the pandemic.
“We’ve been able to do it, I think, because it falls in September,” McHale explained. “It’s always kind of been in those moments where the big spikes of COVID have been actually low …
“We’re hoping this time around, because COVID is a little more under control than it has been, that we’ll have a good turnout.”
McHale reflected on Shocker Ball 2021.
“It’s been really nice, particularly last year, because there’s been so little opportunity for people to get together for good reason,” he noted. “When we have been able to get so many people together and have a good time and it’s outside and we feel safe …
“It’s been really sweet. I think people crave it and miss it.”
McHale shared a project he started with the church before the pandemic and what he hopes kids take away from participating in Converge Church events.
“Something that I started to initiate with our students right before the pandemic, that since the pandemic, we haven’t really been able to get back to is actually what I was calling ‘giveback nights,’” he said. “ … I wanted to start pushing our students to really start serving the community better …
“One of the biggest things is we just want a safe place for students to go and enjoy themselves, be with other kids their age (and) have a good time,” McHale added.
“ … We try to keep everything fun and just enjoyable for everyone so everyone can have a good time.”
A registration link for Shocker Ball can be found on Converge Church’s Facebook page.