Was talking with AC from our team about summer camp training the week after next, and he showed me some cool stuff he’s been working on to give our cabin counselors and volunteers. Here’s some of what we’ll be training our volunteers on soon, maybe it will be useful to your leaders, too! Most of it is original stuff, except for the crisis part at the end which he adapted from something online.
Cabin Time — Be Intentional
We want the students to feel a sense of community within this group. Going to a camp with so many students can feel super intimidating. So making your group a camp within summer camp creates a great feeling of community and togetherness amongst the students in your group. The more time your group can send time doing things together the better.
Here are some ways to create community within your small group:
- Eating meals together
- Doing a few, fun free time activities as a group
- Doing one or two breakout sessions together, and debriefing at lunch or dinner about it.
Debrief –Be Intentional
Debriefs are a must. Each night your group will be asked to go and talk about the message after each general session. You will also be given a handout that will help you guide debrief. To enrich debrief even more take notes so you can really dig into what the message was about and how they can apply it to their lives.
Your group will be made up of different students at different stages in their faith and some with no faith. The message needs to be unpacked and discussed. This is a time where the message can get super practical and unpacked for each student. This is a time where they will share their thoughts about the message and how they feel it actually applies to them. So this time is very important time for your students in the overall camp experience.
Feel free to create rules for your cabin time. Especially rules during discussion time. Making sure your students are being respectful to one another is huge in creating a safe environment. Students need to be able to share what’s on their hearts without fear of judgment.
Student in Crisis – Be Intentional
There is a chance out of all the students that are going to camp that there will be some students going through a crisis. So here is some info for you in the event you are approached from a student in crisis. A crisis for them could be anything from a bad break up to thoughts of suicide.
You may be the first or last person to whom the student will tell their problems too. Accept the opportunity to be there for that student as a privilege and honor. Give your full attention to the conversation, say a quick prayer for guidance, and refer when necessary to Phil. Accept the opportunity to be there for that student as a privilege and honor. Ministering to that student during a time of crisis will make a life changing difference.
- Listen– Listen to students’ pain, hurt, confusion, words, and non-verbal expressions of loss or agony. When we listen, we are more able to learn about what is really going on.
- Talk-When a student shares a problem with you or sits (or stands) in front of you, they are probably waiting for a response. Avoid clich