So stinkin’ fun!
Highlight video from Day 1 and 2 here at HSM Summer Camp. Off to a great start!
Thought this note I wrote to our high school team might be a good read and/or something you would want to copy/edit/make better for your own summer camp adventures, too!
Just wanted to shared a few words with you tonight on HSM Summer Camp Eve! Tomorrow we’re going to take close to 750 people on a 5-day journey where along the way God will chang lives forever. We are going to witness this up close and personal. What a journey to this point: so much heart, so much hard work. So many God moments. So many students!
This week we get the priviledge to be a part of something where:
… will trust Christ for the 1st time
… laugh, play and love
… will be baptized to show their faith
… will be insipred to serve the community and reach their friends
… will grow in their faith
… deal with the darkness of their heart/life/experiences
… freshman get their initiation of HSM
… graduates who get their last hurrah
… all who will be challenged in so many ways
… find a calling to full-time ministry
… will be stretched and challenged beyond themselves
… took time off from work to serve the church
… hearts will grow immensely
… maybe discover a life-long call to youth ministry
… will be challenged to capacity
… will make memories that will last forever
… get to have a front row seat to God showing up big
You are incredible. This week is going to be life-changing. For you. For all of us.
Here we go! JG
I’m sorry, I just love these so much (from Southeast Christian Church in KY) … had to post the other two. Got a great summer camp promo video, too? Leave a link in the comments!
One of my favorite things we started to do a few years ago was add brand new songs for our youth group at Summer Camp. Our student ministry worship leader Taffy came up with the idea to help get them in the culture right away and then use them all year long. I remember even months later then the first few notes of the song played everyone cheered with the thought of great camp memories and decisions.
Here are a couple of the new songs we’re adding at camp this summer – both happen to be by Matt Redman – We Are the Free and We Could Change the World. So I’m not sure what songs you are going to pick up this summer at camp – but bring them back all year long!
Really enjoyed watching Southeast Christian’s ulra-creative promotion for their summer camp (called Bible and Beach – you can get much more from their website here). Love the simplicity and awkwardness of the above video, and here’s a music video they made to celebrate their new mascot as well. Really, inventive stuff:
Fun video from this weekend (in the same vein as Parker’s Life Group promo video) to help encourage students to register for camp. Fun!
I was born in the eighties. As a result, I grew up playing the original nintendo entertainment system. Shout out to that orange duck hunt zapper. Well, as any good eighties kid knows, there was a secret code that worked on many games that could, if inputed correctly, help you get a leg up on your game completion.
“Up, up, down, down, b, a, b, a, select, start” was known as the “Konami code”. It could grant everything from extra lives to extra energy to extra power ups. But, no matter what this cheat code gave you, there was one thing you always gained: progress.
One of the things that I love so much about taking students to summer camp (or any other kind of extended retreat) is that it allows you to leap ahead in your relationships with students. Lots of time spent together + fun + late night talks = earned trust. Earned trust = relational progress. Relational progress = the ability to speak into a teenager’s life.
I’ve been taking students to camp since 1999. Holy cow! 13 years! I’m old! Here are a few “cheat codes” that I’ve discovered along the way to help you leap forward in your relational progress.
One Hour- As human beings, we naturally gravitate toward certain people. In ministry, this usually works itself out as spending more time with a few select people than with others. And there’s nothing wrong with that. But youth ministry has the deck stacked against this natural behavior. Lots of teenagers are already fighting a battle against a world that wants them to think that nobody likes them. The last thing that we want, is for them to go through camp (or any ministry activity) feeling invisible or unloved. At the beginning of your time together, figure out with each student in your cabin or group a time during the week that you can spend one hour together. Of course this is only appropriate for same gender pairings and in public places. Above reproach! You’d be surprised what one hour of your focused attention can give a student.
Shuffle Meals- This goes along with the same principle as the hour. Students will congregate with the same people all week during meals. Don’t allow yourself to follow that pattern! Mix it up! Sit at a different table of students at each meal! Start conversations with students that you wouldn’t normally. Believe me, they won’t run away while they’re stuffing their faces with corn dogs and tater tots.
Use more question marks than periods- As my former boss used to say, “Camp is for the camper.” This applies to priorities in conversations as well as activities. Ask questions to your students and then listen! Get to know them and show them you care by using your ears!
Create snapshots- I had a volunteer leader who once told me that a certain student would always “talk about the same thing” to her: a time that they had raced against each other at one of our park days. I told her that he just wanted to talk to her, but only had one thing that he could use to relate. That race! Spend your week at camp doing fun things, having late night conversations about the message, racing through the grass, and jumping from the high dive! The more memories you help create, the deeper your relationship with your students will be and the more they’ll allow you to guide them to the cross!