3 Tips for Doing Your Own Summer Camp

HAU Summer Camp 2001

As a pastor there is a lot that I love about being in ministry.  But what I have the most fun doing is big events.  For youth, that means CAMP!!!  I love every part of it!  The sudden inspiration for a camp theme based on commercial from 10 years ago that your remembered when you hit your head getting into your car; the crazy skits that make no sense, but for 1 week in the summer that super hero with no real powers will mean everything; the creation of games that no one has ever done before and that no one will ever do again (ask me about “The Mousetrap”); the writing of quiet times; the study and writing of small groups and training small group leaders; having great conversations with speakers and bands; sweating so much you don’t know how you can sweat anymore; sweating when you go to sleep and then waking up at 3 in the morning freezing only to wake up at 6:30 in the morning sweating; there is just so much that goes into doing your own camp, but I love every part of it!  We do all of this and more all for those moments that change us and our students forever.

Summer camp means sweating when you go to sleep and then waking up at 3 in the morning freezing only to wake up at 6:30 in the morning sweating!

That student who realizes for the first time who Jesus is; the student who in conversation during small groups gets so excited because the truth of Christ comes alive; the small group leader who God uses to lead a student to Jesus, or uses their shoulder to cry on.  We do it all for those moments.  For those that are just starting out and doing their own camp for the first time or for the vet who has put on so many they can’t even tell you what last years theme was, here are 3 tips to remember when developing camps.

3 Tips for Summer Camp

Go All Out for the Big Things, So Students will Remember the Important Things

The ultimate goal of any church summer camp is to lead students to Christ.  Lost students need Jesus and the christian students need Jesus.  That’s important!  If you fail here the camp is a failure, you haven’t done anything but have a fun camp.  Without life change it’s just another camp.  However, if there is great material but camp isn’t fun, you should have just stayed home because that information isn’t going to stick.  So go all out on your theme!  Go all out on games!  Go all out on training leaders.  These are the big things that will make the important things have greater impact.

Make Memories

5 of us got into a nasty lake and waited until our skin shriveled,  leeches attached to our legs, and we got tired of treading water.  But what happened next, people still talk about.  “Hey, you remember that time you made Jesus walked on water?”  Yeah, we do.  What the 5 of us remember most is that on a perfectly clear night with a full moon, at just the perfect time, God put a cloud over the moon to hide us so that He was glorified.  You want to make moments that students will remember forever.  You want to create memories, so that when life gets in the way a memory sends them right back to camp and Christ.  See, what you want for your students is 20 years from now, you want them to say…

“Remember when?”

“No one has ever done that before!”

“How did we ever get away with that!”

“I’ve never seen anything like that, ever!”

“I can’t believer we did that!”

Pray, Pray, Pray

This seems a bit obvious, however, sometimes it’s so obvious we forget.  So much of camp needs prayer.  There is too much that we want God to do and so much that can go wrong.  Please – DO NOT FORGET TO PRAY!

One more thing.  PRAY!

P.S.  I would love to help you with your events, please contact me, even if it’s just to bounce ideas off someone.

4 thoughts on “3 Tips for Doing Your Own Summer Camp

  • May 17, 2014 at 2:52 am

    So great to see the wonderful things you are doing!! My husband and I have been helping with a Bible camp at our church now for several years. I have been praying for some new ideas for this year and I seen this post on your mom’s Facebook. We do a 2 night 3 day camp. Our schedule usually consists of games, pool time, skits, lessons and assemblies. Just looking for some fresh new ideas and some ways to change up the schedule a bit this year. Any suggestions??

    • May 19, 2014 at 2:14 pm

      Great to hear from you. There are so many ideas that to learn and adapt to your camp. I know that you are already doing some wonderful things with the students. I would love to hear more about your plans for this summer camp and see if I can help spur on some more ways to engage students in camp. If I have to give one fresh thought (though probably not a fresh thought, maybe more of just advice from experience) it would be, when you plan activities for the students whether games, pool time, skits lessons or general gatherings, make sure what you do is so big, loud, fun, and so exciting that the students have no choice but to be engaged in it. Even if that means more free time. If what you plan is the “greatest thing on the planet next to slice bread and selfies”, you will earn their attention and trust which leads to greater life change.

      Again, let me know some details about your camp – theme, skit ideas, game ideas, ect. – I would love to pray and think through them with you.

      Serving Beside You,

  • May 17, 2014 at 2:59 am

    Hope my comment went through earlier.

  • May 22, 2014 at 3:28 am

    I will say that as being a participant in that particular camp the walking on water and crucifixion scenes were very emotional and moving. Also I looked just as awesome in ’01 as I do now. Lol (very bottom short blonde hair blue shirt) thanks for making those camps amazing!


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