Another great day at camp! Love summer ministry …
Another great day at camp! Love summer ministry …
I’m away at high school camp this week – here’s the highlight video from Day 1. Off to a strong start … already exhausted from the first 24 hours!
Cabin times: confusing and frustrating youth workers since 1847*. We are told that cabin times are where the “real” ministry happens at camp: the band and the speaker will get students pumped for Jesus, but those late-night group discussions with their counselors will seal the deal.
*This statistic is not supported by science.
This kind of thinking is based in a lot of truth, but it can also create anxiety, undue pressure, and feelings of inadequacy for the counselor when his or her cabin time falls short of powerful expectations.
We just returned from middle school summer camp, where I was reminded again of the challenges of leading a “successful” cabin time. (In a minute I’ll explain why I put successful in quotes.) Thankfully, we brought along some incredible volunteers who were able to share their cabin time experiences and teach me a thing or two about making the most of group discussions at camp.
Here are some of the tips and trips I picked up last week and in previous years while reflecting on my cabin time successes and failures.
Taylor Bird is the Middle School Pastor at Southwest Church in Indian Wells, CA. He has been serving in youth ministry for five years.
This weekend we leave for HSM Summer Camp. It honestly is one of my favorite things we do all year long. The staff is pumped. The students are pumped. Our volunteers are pumped. I think it is easy to say, everyone and their mother is pumped for camp. One thing we have been trying to get pumped up (because we have not really focused on it besides the last few months) is our @SaddlebackHSM twitter. If I’m honest, we have neglected it but that has changed recently.
As I’m sure all of you know, many students are online in some way, shape or form. We have noticed many students have made the transition to Twitter so we want to communicate to them and get our ministry Twitter up on its game. So with camp coming up, I decided to launch a Twitter campaign of “100 Awesome Things About Summer Camp”. The goal was to get students to interact with it and in a way spread the word about HSM twitter to other students and friends while promoting our stuff. So we started to make a list of things about summer camp and used the hashtag “#100AwsomeThingsHSMCamp” and went to town.
I would have to say it was a success. Students “favorited” or “retweeted” many of the tweets and it was a really fun way to get students excited about camp. Go check out the rest of the tweets by clicking HERE.
GAME 5: Pool Relay
GAME 4: Human Battleship
This week I’m posting some of our best games from summer camp – or students are SO into Color Wars / team rec games and it is so much fun. Some of the games I’ll list this week are regulars that are so fun we bring them back every year, and some are brand new … and yet to cause permanent injuries.
GAME 3: Ultimate Food
Directions: Ultimate Frisbee with food instead of a Frisbee
*To score, need to throw it to someone standing inside the end zone
*If someone drops or intercepts, it goes to the other team
We have a fun tradition in our youth ministry – every year we create a music video to help promote the biggest event of summer. This one is so fun – really excited about camp this year – hoping this made people laugh as well as motivate them to sign up with just a couple days left before we close registration!
Derry Prenkert, a new DYM author this week, shares in the YS IDEA LAB how to take summer camp to the next level. Such good stuff, from a really sharp youth pastor in Indiana!
A classic idea revisited! We had some fun years ago at a conference where I shot my buddy Jake with a paintball gun for our announcements. This week, we promoted our upcoming summer camp doing the same. So fun!
It happens in an instant. Your first major incident at summer camp. A collision of egos at midnight during your overnighter.
I remember a couple summers ago we had a summer camp student conflict escalate into a full blown fistfight. At the end of the day, nobody got sent home – because I’m quick to show grace at camp. Now, if there was a black eye, the students weren’t repentant, or it required a trip to the ER – maybe the punishment would be more severe. But two guys losing their tempers and control for a few brief moments isn’t worth sending someone home, not to me at least and in that moment of judgement call.
In the back of my mind I remember hearing about a boy at summer camp some 40 years ago – he was an unchurched, angry young man. He had kicked and punched water pipes in the boys bathroom because he was ticked that chapel time was required and he didn’t want to go. Although he probably deserved to go home for causing such significant damage, but someone showed him grace. A leader believed God was going to do something special with him at camp.
Two nights later, this boy accepted Christ. Years later, he would go on to be a pastor and raise amazing children, one of whom I would be fatally attracted to and have 4 children with. My father-in-law was shown incredible grace at summer camp one year, so my heart always leans that way when I’m at camp, too.
Here’s hoping those two boys walked away from camp changed forever. Be quick to show grace to your students, too!
We spent a ton of time talking about the price of summer camp this year, and thought it might be interesting to take a poll and see what the price of camp is out there. There are a lot of variables to camp, but the price point is a big one!
Fun little video we put together to help promote HSM Summer Camp. Silly!
Remember the post a couple weeks ago about having your senior pastor to help promote summer camp? Well, we just finished ours today! So thankful for Pastor Rick recording this message for us – and getting SO excited about HSM Summer Camp!
LOVE this simple video from Southeast Christian – the senior pastor of the church making the ask of parents to send their kids to camp. We’re taking the simple idea and sending something similar to our parents in 2 weeks. Love it!