Blastoff 2023

Volleyball Outreach

To what shall I compare the Kent State University student organization fair known as “Blastoff?” A zoo? A hurricane? A mosh pit? An anthill? It is simultaneously exhilarating and exhausting… Weird and wonderful… Strategic and surreal…

H2O at the KSU Blastoff 2023

There’s really nothing quite like Blastoff. Where else would one find one man in a Spider-Man mask interviewing another man in a Spider-Man mask, being filmed by a man in a Spider-Man mask — while almost nobody around them seems to notice?!? Some booths feature puppies… Other organizations give away free T-shirts and stickers… Still others provide a showcase for half a dozen young women dressed like anime characters… It’s pretty amazing. And overwhelming.

H2O at the KSU Blastoff 2023

My daughter Olivia, now a sophomore at Kent State University, made plans to meet up at Blastoff with some of her Kent State friends from last year. But by the time Olivia made her way to the rendezvous point, they were already gone. Subsequent text messaging revealed that they came for about twenty minutes, felt completely overcome by the environment, and then left. And honestly, I understand where they’re coming from. There’s an adrenaline rush that comes with Blastoff, but adrenaline release often comes with a crash once it runs out.

H2O at the KSU Blastoff 2023

And then, of course, there’s H2O Church. We jump into Blastoff with both feet — as we do for most of the week leading up to the first day of classes through the first week of classes. But especially Blastoff. We talk to people when they approach our info table. We collect interest surveys. We have a team to digitize the results of the interest surveys in real time. And we organize a carnival game of our own.

H2O at the KSU Blastoff 2023

I am super-proud of all the work put in by our Staff and student-leaders to make the most of the opportunities presented by Blastoff. Our “ground game” was strong this year! And the new students seemed more responsive than they were last year.

H2O at the KSU Blastoff 2023

Almost all of our metrics are running double the numbers we hit last year. Double the number of surveys filled out, double the number of students expressing interest, double the number at our Welcome Worship Gathering… And for the first time in my eleven years with H2O Kent, we gave away every single H2O Card that we had printed (5000) before the first day of classes!

H2O at the KSU Blastoff 2023

So, we have a lot of reason to rejoice tonight! But also a lot of reason to rest. Hopefully we’ll be able to take things day-by-day and see what God does from this point forward.

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