In a few days we’ll load up a few buses and cross the border into Canada for our High School Houseboat camp. I love camp; it is one of my favorite weeks of the year. I love that we spend almost as much time with our students in this one week as we do in the whole year at our programs. And students are more open than ever to God working in their life.
These past few weeks we’ve been busy prepping and working on last minute details. Lately, I’ve been reflecting on 3 things I think every youth worker should do to prepare for summer camp.
Let’s not forget that the most powerful thing we can actually do is pray. Prayer changes everything. There will be obstacles to camp and there will be roadblocks to transformation in the lives of our students. We can attempt to do a whole bunch of things to overcome these challenges but nothing is greater than prayer.
In the hustle and busyness of camp season, let’s not forget to stay connected to the Divine.
2. Commit to emotionally, mentally and physically leave it all on the table.
Camp is one of those things where it demands all of you. For it to be a camp to remember it will require more than 100% of everything you have to give.
One way that I commit to leaving it all on the table is by preparing for AFTER camp. I need to ask myself, have I created space and time for myself to recover? Have I made time to be with my family and reconnect? If I know that I’ll have time to recharge after camp, I am way more willing to go for it. Likewise, if I haven’t created that space, I may find myself holding back and being reluctant to fully engage. And truthfully, I don’t want that and it isn’t what’s best for camp or my students.
Figure out what it is for you, what needs to happen for you to be willing to leave it all on the table?
3. Surprise your students.
I don’t know if this is true for any of your students but I know for some of my students’ camp is their vacation. They won’t get another experience or trip again until camp comes around again next year. I also know that many of them lack joy in their day-to-day lives. With that in mind, what would it look like if we attempted to find ways to surprise them? What if we created unexpected memorable moments throughout the length of camp? These moments don’t need to be big or cost extra money but simply catch your group off guard and bring them together in these unique and special moment.
My students will always remember the time where we jumped off the houseboats into the water fully clothed. Or the time where we had a spontaneous dance party on the beach lead by all the adult leaders. This may sound silly but I know it to be true these little moments brought us together and built a deeper trust between our students and leaders which ultimately paved the way for them to be more open to how God might work in them.
Surprise them…and you’ll be surprised too.
I am ready to see how God moves in the lives of my students at camp and I hope you are too.
I’ll be praying for all of us as we prepare for our camps, will you join me?