Camp is a critical part of the year for a youth ministry. Here are some lessons that I learned from being at winter camp this past weekend.
- Volunteers make the best pastors. We brought 15 volunteers to spend time with students, and that 1-to-5 ratio makes all the difference in a student’s life. Our volunteers played hard, slept a little, and personally invested in their kids.
- Take cabin time seriously. I was amazed at the depth of conversation in my 8th grade cabin. If you take it serious, they will too. Model the kind of honesty and thinking that you would like to see.
- Pack extra socks. My feet were wet and cold the entire weekend (which explains the severe cold I am experiencing right now). We had crazy rain the first day and a foot of snow the second. Warm, dry socks would have changed my life.
- Go easy on the camp food. Seconds is typically not a good idea. By Sunday night I saw 3 people puke in the cafeteria…
- Parents love social networking too. We posted photos and videos on our facebook page from our iPhones throughout the weekend. Our parents got to see what their kids were doing, comment, and interact with us. The best part was that no student knew it was happening. The parents were involved and always in the loop.
- Thank You cards are necessary. When you come home print out the camp photo, add some simple text, hand write a note to each volunteer, and drop them in the mail. Honoring your volunteers often goes unnoticed, but it shows you love them and could not do this without them.