(Part 1 of the Summer Camp posts here)
It’s good to change things up every now and then. Our student ministries can get in a rut. Ever notice your camp attendance drop? Perhaps it’s time to mix it up and throw in something new and different.
When I look for a summer camp experience I look for:
Good facilities - students today need air conditioning. It’s hard to get a good night’s sleep if you are dripping in sweat. (unless you are doing an adventure camp in tents which is a totally different approach and strategy/purpose to the camp trip) I remember speaking at a camp the first night I preached we were in a room with the windows open and ceiling fans on and it was still in the 90 something degree range. It’s hard for students to focus on God’s word and the message if they are melting away. I let the camp director know that I couldn’t continue to teach that week if the AC wasn’t turned on. They had air conditioning they just weren’t running it “to save money”.
Doctrinally Sound - I want my students to learn the Bible and the truth. I don’t want them misled. I certainly wouldn’t take my students to any camp or event that didn’t line up with my church’s doctrinal statement.
Excellent recreation opportunities - games, organized rec, climbing walls, ropes courses, etc. The camp we been attending for a few years now has added a gaga ball pit. That thing is always full during free time, the students love it. I loved it until I broke my big toe.
Friendly staff - I’m a huge fan of good customer service. I look for a camp administration and staff treats your students in a way that shows they want the students there at camp and enjoys having them there.
Good food - Camp can be miserable if the food isn’t good. Students are expending lots of energy at camp and they need to be refueled. I also look for a camp that feeds them until they are full. Some students eat like a bird, other students need a little more fuel in their tanks. Good camps know what students like to eat.
Special moments - Camps that create in their schedule special moments that build great memories. Things like: campfires, messy games, hiking, concert, etc. Fun can help bring down barriers.
Close to home - I have done the ten hour drive to camp in van rentals. I don’t want to go through that again. Do you know how many times you will hear “are we there yet?” in ten hours? I like finding a camp that you can drive to in a matter of minutes to 6 hours (that’s my max travel time in my old age) I don’t want to waste 2 days of camp on the road. Close to home saves money in gas. Perhaps you can get volunteers from the church to shuttle your students if the camp isn’t real far and that saves money in renting vans which in turn allows you to sink that money into your youth budget. Win Win!
So are you already planning for camp next summer?