Whether you are planning a camp for children or teens, there are a million things to think about! You want to make sure they have a great experience and come away with lasting memories.
Through our 50 years, we’ve seen many camps come and go. Here is our top ten list of things to think about when planning and organizing a church camp.
1. The Theme
This is the most important part of camp! It will set the tone for everything else you do and provide the purpose for your camp. This may come from something you are already talking about in your youth group or it could be a Bible verse that has potential to inspire and rally the kids.
If you are having a t-shirt, think through how many you need to order and what size variation you’ll want, based on the kids attending your camp. You will also want to decide whether this is a free shirt for just showing up to camp or if it is something the campers will have to purchase.
3. Your Attention Please
Attention grabbers are a great way to start a meeting or kick off a large group session. These could be physical (such as a game or dance-off) or visual (like a movie clip). Another great idea is to do something funny that gets their attention by causing them to laugh! Once you have their attention, carry on with the session.
It’s important you know exactly what to expect when you get to camp. Technology can vary from camp to camp, so be sure to get familiar with the technology you will have available. Using it the way it was meant to be used can greatly enhance your campers’ experience. On the contrary, using technology ineffectively could keep your campers from fully experiencing the message.
Playing music throughout the day is a great way to add to, or even create, the atmosphere. Music can bond campers together through a fun upbeat song or create an atmosphere where campers can be introspective and prayerful.
6. Opening Day Fun
Opening day should be electric! You want your campers to arrive excited and ready to participate in the week ahead. This is the perfect time to make your mission or theme come to life. Think through what you want the campers to do when they arrive and how you can carry the excitement of day one through the rest of the week.
7. Lunch Rules
Let’s face it, most kids say their favorite part of the school day is lunch. So why would it be any different for camp? You’ll want to make sure you have a variety of food for your campers. If someone else is preparing it, make sure you get a list of what will be on the menu for the week so your campers and staff can be prepared. Food allergies can cause a lot of stress, especially for kids going to camp for the first time. Make sure to ask on the sign-up form if a child has food allergies and be prepared to accommodate those at each meal.
8. Three Cheers for Cheers
Coming up with cheers, buzz words, chants, or songs campers can do together is a great way to instill your theme and unite the camp. One idea is to assign each cabin or group leader the task of picking a chant their campers use throughout the week. This can also give each cabin a sense of unity through their own unique chant.
What happens if the kids run wild? This isn’t a fun thing to think about, and of course you hope your campers are angels the whole time, but thinking through a plan to reign in the chaos is definitely needed. Make sure you communicate your plan to camp leaders so they are on the same page.
Staff members are the key to the success of any great camp! Especially when dealing with kids or teens, you’ll need counselors that are excited and ready to invest into the lives of the campers. Think through your communication with them and make sure they feel prepared before it begins. Also, remember to plan regular team meetings with your staff to help energize and unite them.
We hope this post helps you feel a bit more prepared as you organize your youth camp. Have more questions about camping? Let us know below!