Summer Camp: What works.

Yesterday I talked about what doesn’t work for us today I am going to tell you what works for us. Now keep in mind these are the things that work for us. Some of them are universal some are unique to us. So eat the meat and spit out the bones.

Consistency – We basically have the same schedule and do the same games and have done so for the past 14 years this has created a sense of safety security and tradition. We do the same things at the some time and it really helps kids who are away from home for the first time because not only do the councilors know what is coming next the kids who have been at the camp for a few years also know. Consistency is key.

No free time – The kids have no free time. Well maybe a few minutes before and after meals depending on how fast of a eater they are. This is huge in keeping young kids from feeling homesick we have only had a couple of kids who are homesick to the point that they want to go home most kids are so busy they don’t even have time to think about home.

Values and Vision – We speak the same three messages every year to the kids we deliver the content in different ways but we essentially speak about 1. Having a relationship with God  2. How we are called to love people 3. How we need to be empowered by the Holy Spirit.

We make the entire camp a game – Everything is a competition. Kids love it they are all competing for a plunger that I nailed to a wooden box and painted gold many, many years ago. They love competing, we use that time to teach them the bible and serving others outside the context of the meetings. It’s silly. It’s fun and it works for us.

What do you do at your camp that works for you?

8 comments On Summer Camp: What works.

  • our kids min camp runs for 4 days, around a cool theme.
    we have four teams lead by a male and female leader. We pre-film the team leaders using a green screen for things like electronic scoreboards, team winner update clips, wacky things throughout camp. we film camp news throughout camp to cover important events/initiatives happening around camp.

    We give each child a camp devotions book for taking notes, using in cabin morning devotions, writing down what God says to them and to equip them when they return home.

    Thanks for your awesome blog Sam! Great inspiration and resources!!!

    On one of the sessions, kids get a chance to run the entire session. They love it!

  • Hi Sam
    Just wanted to know what ages do you have at your camp? and what is your team structure?
    Thank you so much for all you do for you fellow kidmins!

    • We do our camp for kids going into 5th, 6th, and 7th the following year. Team structure we have a person over worship someone over games and activities, someone who oversees meds, and a 5 to 1 councilor to kid ratio.

  • I'm with you on the entire camp being a game. We had a counselor who loved to fish and had brought his tackle box one year. He had an abundance of fake glitter worms so we started giving them away. Every time one of the kids did something kind or selfless act we would give him/her a worm. The kids loved earning the worms and by the end of the week they were letting other church groups cut in front of them at the mess hall so the whole group could have one.

  • Love the entire camp being a game idea.

    And I just have to shout AMEN to the no free time for kids!!! Way to go!

    Great list Sam.

  • I loved camp and I can't wait for my kids to go – my favorite part of the summer was always swapping custom trading pins at the end of the session – do you do that?

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