The YAK Problem

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#429: “The YAK Problem”
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Matthew 6:25-34

25"Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes?

26Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life ? 28"And why do you worry about clothes? See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. 29Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 30If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? 31So do not worry, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?' 32For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.

34Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

John 16:33
33"I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world."

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The YAK Problem

“The YAK Problem” is episode #429 of the Adventures in Odyssey audio series. It was written by Marshal Younger, and originally aired on November 6, 1999.


The Odyssey kids believe a new city council member is planning the Year of Anti-Kids.


At the end of a day at Odyssey Middle School, the principal makes an announcement that there will be an all school assembly the next Thursday afternoon in the cafeteria with city council person Julianne Walker. Sarah Prachett and Nathaniel Graham begin speculating on what the assembly might be about. Nathaniel does some research and finds out that Julianne used to be the principal in Connellsville. He reads that Julianne ended up taking privileges away in order to bring forward good behavior. The two become worried about her since she is now on the city council.

Nathaniel and Sarah decide to go to Whit's End to talk to John Whittaker (Whit) to see if he knows anything. Instead they find Eugene Meltsner behind the counter. They ask him about Whit, but he seems suspicious and doesn't really answer their questions directly. Nathaniel notices that someone is in the kitchen, and despite Eugene's objection darts through the door. In the kitchen they find Whit with a lot of ice cream. They ask what all the ice cream is for, but Whit and Eugene rush them out of the kitchen. They begin wondering why Whit is "stocking up" and decide that Julianne must be planning to take away all the ice cream in town. Nathaniel then states that it won't stop at ice cream, he's convinced that she'll pass a law that will take away everything fun.

Nathaniel writes an article and begins passing it out to students at school. They notice a bull dozer at Odyssey Elementary, which seems to support Nathaniel's theory. Sarah mentions that her dad was talking about a new law called "Y.A.K." Nathaniel decodes it as the "Year of Anti-Kids" program.

Nathaniel begins spreading the word, and pandemonium breaks out. The candy stores begin selling like crazy because all the kids think they need to stock up. Nathaniel spends hours on end playing video games so he can "go as long as he can without them once their gone." Nathaniel starts up a shelter for toys so they can keep them safe once the law is passed. Harlow Doyle approaches Nathaniel wanting to help fight the yak problem. He thinks the town is going to be overrun by yaks, and has come up with a plan to stop them. Nathaniel tries to explain to Harlow that the "Y.A.K." problem is about a law that is going to be passed, but Harlow doesn't seem to understand. He runs off stating that he'll come up with a new plan.

At Whit's End Whit is having trouble handling the shop full of kids hyped up on candy. Mandy is amazed that the kids are actually listening to Nathaniel, and Whit is surprised that Nathaniel started this absurd rumor. Eugene comes down in a panic saying that ten kids have stuffed themselves into the Imagination Station and they're in an adventure about crossing the Delaware and they're sinking the boat. Whit exits to help him handle the situation.

The next day at school, Nathaniel, and Sarah have candy hangovers, and are greeted by Mandy. Nathaniel hears that they've moved the assembly to the next day. They see a sign on the door that says Whit's End will close right before the assembly the next day. They begin offensive strategies such as protesting, chanting, and speeches.

Finally the time for the assembly comes and Julianne Walker announces that the school had designed a new program called the Yearly Advancement of Knowledge Program, or the Y.A.K. program. She then announces that the school had collected enough money to build a new science wing, and to thank the students for all their work, there was a surprise for them. When Whit comes out with a 50-foot banana split, the kids realize that they were completely wrong, and that everything had turned out better than they expected. Whit tells the kids that faith in God is a lot harder when all your friends are putting their faith somewhere else; but if they do it anyway, God can use them in great ways.

Discussion Questions

  1. What did the kids think "Y. A. K." meant?
    • What did it actually mean?
  2. Was it all right for the kids to prepare?
    • Why or why not?
  3. Whit told Mandy that God is ultimately in control. Can you think of any events that you need to let God have control over?


Heard in episode

Role Voice Actor
Candy Store Clerk Will Ryan
Eugene Meltsner Will Ryan
Harlow Doyle Will Ryan
John Whittaker Paul Herlinger
Julianne Walker Unknown
Mandy Straussberg Aria Curzon
Nathaniel Graham Blake Ewing
Pete Alex Keith
Sarah Prachett Scarlett Pomers
Principal Skinner Will Ryan

Mentioned in episode

Character Mentioned By
Jared DeWhite Nathaniel Graham



VERSION DIFFERENCE: [view] The broadcast version of this episode contains an AIO Shorty: What Were They Thinking?: Achan

  • Jared DeWhite, played by Brandon Gilberstadt, was one of the most popular characters on Adventures in Odyssey. This show was originally written starring Jared, but Brandon began working on television program called 100 Deeds for Eddie McDowd and wasn't available for Odyssey at the time. He had to be written out of the show, but there is still a mention of him left behind.
  • The theme for this show is "Panic over uncontrollable circumstances." This was probably done because of the "Y2K/computer" and "end to life as we know it" issue, which was rapidly approaching when this episode aired (and is also what the title is probably referring to).
  • Harlow Doyle's statement of "People and yaks can coexist" is frighteningly similar to President George W. Bush's "I know that the human being and fish can coexist." Harlow proclaimed this more than a year before the former President uttered the similar version.
  • The joke in this episode about too many kids in the Imagination Station crowding a boat and causing it to sink would be reused and memorably dramatized years later in #639: “The Triangled Web, Part 2” with a Lewis and Clark adventure.
  • The two video game characters that Nathaniel mentions in this episode, "Zoltar" and "Mario the Emancipator," are likely parodies of the Zelda and Mario franchises respectively.



Crowd of Children: Y-A-K! Go a-way! We want ice-cream ev-ry day!

Nathaniel Graham: My stomach feels like it wants to play outside for a while.

Sarah Prachett: Go away... we've got candy hangovers.

Harlow Doyle: Wait! I have a solution for both the yak problem and pollution! Two words: rick shaws. The first yak-powered public transportation system! Hey, are you people listening to me? This could be the—ooooh, ice cream!

John Whittaker: Okay! That's it! No more sugar for any of you! I'm closing down the ice cream service. And if any of you breaks anything else, I'm sending you all home!

Eugene Meltsner: About ten kids tried to stuff themselves into the Imagination Station. I can't get them out! They're having an adventure with George Washington crossing the Delaware. And there's so many of them, they're sinking the boat!