Update: The giveaway is over. Congratulations to Keith Chapman and his youth group!
How it all started:
I contacted Xorbee a few weeks ago and asked them if they’d contribute a Xorbee to a Youth Group Collective giveaway. The owners of Xorbee, it turns out, really value the work that youth ministries do. In turn they said, “How about we give you one to test out and review and another one to give away?” I came looking for one Xorbee and they ended up offering two.
So, I’ve had some previous experience with a Xorbees at my previous youth group and I just got to unpack a Xorbee for the very first time – I also got to see what it was like for our youth students and the youth director of my church to see an experience a Xorbee for the very first time.
Xorbees aren’t bean bags. That was something I learned this time around. A lot of bean bags are filled with PVC beads. Xorbees are stuffed with 100% recycled foam. One added benefit of this is that Xorbees will expand after they’ve been sat on. I won’t lie to you, it’s awesome to fluff a Xorbee or turn it over and get to reform it – but it’ll do some of that on its own without needing to be fluffed… not perfectly, but it’ll be more responsive than your traditional PVC beads.
Additionally, Xorbees have removeable, washable covers. Are you kidding me? That’s awesome to know for a youth room! Truthfully, I never bothered to wash my old youth group’s Xorbees – they definitely could’ve used it after a while.
When you remove the washable cover, you don’t all of the sudden have foam pouring out. Instead, there’s an inner liner! This is awesome because it means that you won’t have foam all over the place when you go to wash your Xorbee cover. It gets better though, the liner is water resistant – meaning, don’t throw your Xorbee in a pool but also, don’t be too concerned about spillage. It might be tempting to have your youth group drink out of toddler sippy cups when you introduce brand new furniture but now you can confidently resist that urge.
For me, the main benefit of a Xorbee is the “wow” factor it offers. As a pastor, I know that there’s so much more to ministry than production value but I also realize that production value has its place. If I can use technology and physical goods to further the kingdom, then great! So, I love that Xorbees make new students go, “wow!” They ease the tension. They send the signal – “This place is fun and invests in students.” Think about the message a used couch sends compared to the message that Xorbee sends. To me, I always want students know that the youth room is a place for them. I love reminding them of how our adults invest in them and love them and a Xorbee is a symbol of that.
The Xorbee we checked out what called an Xhilerate. It’s a 7’ lounger. They also come in other sizes and shapes and they have many colors to choose from. They even have a micro suede cover that’s supposed to be a little more durable and stain resistant. Shipping is free and there’s a lifetime guarantee on the seams and zippers. And they don’t make you do weird stuff like ask you to keep it’s original packaging in order for your warranty to be valid.
I thought it would be important to do a Pros and Cons list because it helps me to be honest and challenges me to look at this thing from a critical perspective and not from the perspective of an extremely thankful guy that just got a free Xorbee to review and another free Xorbee to giveaway. So check it:
Xorbees are cool looking. I agree, they don’t fit the “style” of every house/room but they’d probably fit in well with your youth room.
Xorbees are comfortable. My wife and I have slept on them overnight before. I love to sit in them. The youth love to sit in them.
Xorbees are fun. At the end of the day a Xorbee is a seat. At the same time, there’s so much more you can do with a Xorbee that you’d probably get yelled at for if you tried it with a couch or your grandfather’s recliner.
Xorbees really are functional. I’ve seen students play cards on them, sit on them while they listen to messages, nap on them after an all-nighter and more. They do the trick, absolutely.
The covers are machine washable. That’s amazing for us youth pastors.
Water Resistant Inner Liner
Not only are the covers machine washable, but the inner liners are water resistant and they have hidden zippers to keep young children out of.
I don't know much about the recycled foam industry but I'm guessing this means they’re a little “greener” and more environmentally friendly.
Handmade Made in the USA
I can think of a ton of older people at my last church that would’ve been thrilled to hear this.
My wife and I tried to buy a table from West Elm (a fancy furniture company). Not only did they have a delivery fee but they also had a mandatory white glove service fee. All in all, it ended up costing like a hundred dollars more than what was originally advertised. We removed it from our cart and ended up buying a cheaper table.
I dislike hidden fees. I LOVE free shipping.
Xorbee might not call themselves a “Christian company” but I did find out that they are Christian owned. I’m not one of those guys that boycotts Starbucks for having the wrong color cup (or whatever that debacle was about). But I do think it’s cool when Christians partner together and bless each other.
Cheaper than lovesac
Xorbee has competitors and from what I can tell, they’re not that great and some are even more expensive and have awkward names. You don’t really want to invite youth to hangout on your lovesac.
Lifetime warranty on zippers and seams
This lifetime warranty counts for the inner liner and the cover. It doesn’t mean that you won’t ever need to replace your cover due to normal wear and tear – the warranty is just for the zippers and the seams.
Fit through narrow doors!
Because Xorbees are foam filled sacs, they’re pretty easy to get into rooms or vehicles with smaller openings. We’ve loaded two huge Xorbees onto a bus before – something that’s just not possible with a couch. That’s right – you can bring your Xorbees on your youth trips! Woot!
Sorry Xorbee, we gotta be real.
Usually don’t fit in a smaller living room
Okay, Xorbee has smaller options but I really wanted to review my 7ft lounger. We put it in my youth director’s living room and he ended up having to move quite a bit of furniture around. For most of us, a 7ft Xorbee is a pretty big addition to a room. They definitely have their place but a living room on a youth pastor’s budget might not be it.
Fabric will wear and pill eventually
My youth group had Xorbees for a couple of years and they were used and abused and after a while it started to show. Granted, we didn’t clean them (someone else might have though, we inherited our district’s Xorbees).
Not as conducive to learning
At my last youth group, we had couches going all the way around the walls. Students would sit on them during the message and it was a horrible environment for learning. They’d text, joke, lay down, and get easily distracted. You’re kidding yourself if you think Xorbees are more conducive to learning than chairs are. They obviously serve two very different functions. We used our Xorbee for additional seating but place it right in front of the stage and had a half circle of chairs around it to keep the Xorbee sitters accountable.
The replaceable covers are expensive
So, at first I was thinking, “Well, the Xorbee itself is an initial upfront cost investment but afterwards, all you’ll have to do is buy new covers and you’ll have a great looking piece of furniture forever!” The truth is though, the price of the Xhilerate is normally $429.00 (However at the time of writing this, it is on sale). But the cost to replace an Xhilerate cover is $189.00. I’d venture to say that a lot of us have a couple hundred in our budget by the end of our fiscal year, so it’s not a huge deal and it’s certainly easier to replace a cover than a whole Xorbee. Important note: their covers are still cheaper than lovesac’s so maybe it’s par for the course, but I was still surprised.
How You Can Afford a Xorbee:
The more I think about it, the more I realize that Xorbees just aren’t that expensive. Yes, the ones that are as big as a couch cost as much as a couch. The truth is though they’re a lot more versatile and they’ll last you longer than a couch and can easily be updated with new covers for fairly cheap. That’s awesome news – not just for you but also for the youth pastor after you.
Not everyone will have a few hundred dollars in their budget for a Xorbee though. If that’s you, first of all – I’m sorry. One of the reasons Youth Group Collective gives away so much of our resources is because we get it, youth ministry can be expensive and it’s often underfunded. Second of all – here are some ideas on how to afford your Xorbee:
a) Buy one at a conference (floor models are sold at a discounted rate)
I’ve seen floor model Xorbees for as much as 50% off. If you can’t afford to buy a Xorbee online, then hopefully you’ll see them at a conference or youth gathering of some sort. If you’ve never seen them before at a conference, I wouldn’t bank on this. However, I’ve seen them at least twice in my circles. This option also means that you’ll have to be in charge of its transportation and that’s not always going to be an option depending on how big it is, how big your vehicle is, and how many students rode with you.
b) Get your district to invest in them
My district probably had 29 some churches in it and several youth groups. As a result, we had a district youth ministry and a district youth fund. At one of the conferences we attended our district youth bought two Xorbees. We used them for district events – camps, retreats, all nighters, etc. When they weren’t at an event though, they were at my youth room! Partly because they spent two years at another church (so it was our turn now) and partly because we had a fairly sizeable youth room.
c) Buy a more affordable model
The 7 foot lounger is cool! But, Xorbees top selling model is the xplorer (I think). That bad boy is only $160 right now and it’d totally spruce up your small group meeting space or you could even buy a couple and make a VIP seating area.
d) Win the giveaway!
Winning the giveaway is definitely one way that any youth group can afford a Xorbee. We love the idea that we could potentially give this Xorbee to a youth group that many never be able to afford one. Enter the giveaway and then encourage your leaders to enter the giveaway too. If you really love youthgroupcollective and want to share us with the world, then tell your other youth pastors about this cool opportunity. We’d super appreciate it.
Giveaway Ended! Congratulations to Keith Chapman!
Your youth min space just got a whole lot cooler.