I was hanging with my pastor one day and we started talking about momentum. He said something that made so much sense. He said, “AC, most leaders want the momentum and think that’s the best and most important part. But the best and most important part is the opportunities the momentum creates after it’s gone.”
I may not surf, but I do know that the fun and excitement in surfing is not just in catching the wave but in what you do after you catch it. The objective of surfing is getting the most out of every wave you catch…unless there’s a shark in the wave, then it may do just the opposite and get the most out of you!
My point is that camp may be the most-attended event you do all summer. Most of us will focus on making it as great as possible, which you should. But you need to remember that camp is not the most important part. It’s the wave that camp creates.
I just got back from hanging with my friends at CIY (Christ in Youth) who put on one of the best summer camps around. I’ve experienced it firsthand because they’ve put on our high school summer camp for the last five years. I’m not getting paid to say this. It’s the truth. They care about putting on a killer program, but most importantly they understand the waves it creates weeks and months after camp. So, they set you up to win.
Whether you do camp yourself or use CIY or another youth camp organization, you must also view the week after camp just as important as the actual week of camp. If you really want to capitalize on the wave it has the potential to create, you will put the same amount of attention on both. If you’re going to take advantage of the waves summer camp creates, here are some questions to ask yourself and your team:
- How prepared are we to help students capitalize on the experience they had weeks or months after camp?
- What’s the plan to get first time campers connected and involved?
- What are next steps for students who make decisions at summer camp like…
(Pro tip: Check out Scott Rubin’s new book The Essential Guide for My New Life With Jesus as a follow-up gift for students who make faith decisions this summer.)
- How are we getting the kids at camp excited about coming back next year and bringing a friend?
- What are some next steps for leaders who may want to continue volunteering in your ministry?
(Pro tip: I wouldn’t let them leave without presenting them with other opportunities for them to serve. Even if you get 30% to commit to something else, it’s a great start.)
The worst thing you can do is have a great summer camp and not be prepared to help students and volunteers capitalize on the wave of excitement and life change weeks after. Don’t miss the wave.
Hope it helps,