It’s that time of year. The time that Senior pastors often refer to as the “slow season” but is anything but for those in ministry to children or youth. If your anything like me you are hip deep in preparing for camp. Whether you are taking a group way to a camp run by someone else, building your own camp, or planning a day camp at your church there are some things that you can do to help your kids get the most out of their camp experience.
I LOVE camp. I’ve been part of camps for children or youth for several years. Seldom have I seen any other thing that can have a much of an impact in such a short time. I have seen kids come out of camp COMPLETELY changed and I have seen that change last. There is something powerful about removing a kid from their normal environment, away from their normal influences, that allows them to connect with God at a level that is difficult to attain a home. This is why I love camp and want to do what I can to help kids make the most of it.
Safety.This may not seem like a logical way to prepare kids for a great spiritual experience, but if you can’t make momma feel comfortable about the safety of their little baby, then that child ain’t goin’. Beyond that, if a child is fearful for their safety, then that fear will distract them from God. So, do all you can to ensure their safety. This can mean picking the right chaperons, picking the right camp, taking the right supplies. Even something as minor as a sun burn can be a major distraction for a kid. Sure, they should bring sun screen, but they are kids and are likely to forget. So, bring some for them.
Prayer. Certainly you need to be praying for your campers. But, you don’t need to be the only one. Consider recruiting prayer warriors within your church. Put together a prayer calendar and ask people to commit to praying for the kids every day for a month prior to leaving for camp. Assign specific adults to pray for specific adults. Consider creating a prayer calendar to help parents pray for their own kids in the month prior to camp. Encourage the kids that are going to pray for their own camp experience. Create a prayer calendar for them as well. Invite kids that are not going to camp to pray for their friends who are going. Make a prayer calendar for them too. I think you get the idea that there are many ways that your church can be praying for the kids you are taking to camp.
Spiritually. I’ve noticed that when you take kids to camp it takes them a couple days before they start “plugging in”. Taking some steps prior to going to camp to prepare the hearts of your kids can help to shorten this time.
- Pre-camp devotions: The camp I’m taking my kids to actually provides some preamp devotions. If you are taking you kids to a camp put on by someone else, check with them and see if they have something similar. If you are building your own camp, then consider writing some devise for the kids for before camp.
- Prayer: I know I already talked about this, but IF your kids will spend some time in prayer they will not be able to help but be in a better place when you get ready to go to camp.
- Discipleship: If you are taking kids to camp then you already have one or two that you praying don’t give you any trouble. There’s that one kids that you are really worried about. There is time to do something about that. Take time now to disciple those kids. Spend some time with them. Build that relationship and encourage them.
- Chaperons: Hopefully you already have your chaperons lined up. I know that situations come up that have you running around at the last minute trying to arrange chaperons, but if you can get them ahead of time then work to connect the kids with the chaperon that will be responsible for them. Create opportunities for your kids to connect with their chaperon. Encourage your chaperons to build those relationships. This will increase their influence with those kids when camp comes.
Excitement: Camp is fun. For this reason you shouldn’t have to work too hard to get your kids excited about going. But, you should also work to get them excited about God working in their lives during that time. Talk about the kinds of things God might do. Tell stories of how you’ve seen God work in kids through camp. Even better, have a kid or youth give testimony to how God worked in them at camp.
Bottom line: At the end of the day we all want to see God work in our kids through camp. If we didn’t then we wouldn’t bother taking them. This being true it is worth the time and effort to make some plans to help your kids prepare for camp.
What are some ways that you help your kids get ready for camp?
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