Getting Camp Ready!
Michelle Garland currently serves as the North Texas District Kids Director. Before relocating to the Dallas area, she previously served in Kids/Family Ministry for over 12 years in AZ. Michelle’s passionate about the next generation, and about equipping, challenging, and growing the leaders called to serve them.
If you’re anything like me, you’re counting down the days to sunshine and warmer weather! It’s fun to think that in just 5 months the summer will be here, and with summer comes one of my favorite things all year long: Kids Camp! It can be hard, especially coming out of the busy holiday season, to think about camp this time of year. Camp seems so far away but you know it will be here before you can even blink your eyes. That means NOW is the BEST time to start putting your plan into place!
Here are a few things to think about to help make your camp preparation for 2019 as seamless as possible!
1. Set a goal! How many kids and leaders do you want to attend camp this year? If you have a goal to work towards you are more likely to work hard to achieve it!
2. Gather details! Make sure you know when the registrations and deposits are due. These pieces will help you know when you need to collect all the information from your campers and leaders! It will also help you set your budget!
3. Start promoting now! Pick your camp, pick your week, and start promoting. Parents know camp happens in the summer, the sooner you can start promoting the easier time they will have planning. This communicates to your parents that you value their time because it helps them prioritize camp around their busy summer schedules. Show a promo video in your services, utilize social media, handout a flier to your parents/kids, whatever the most effective method is for you start utilizing it now!
4. Recruit your team! You already know there will be a required ratio of leaders, per number of kids. Create a process now for the proper screening and training of your camp volunteers. This process will be necessary. Begin the conversations so they can prepare, take the time off work, and get excited about camp. Recruit a few people that don’t normally serve. Who knows you may just gain yourself a great volunteer once they see how incredible kidmin can be!
5. Solidify your budget! What is the cost for camp? What about transportation to get kids there? Leader gifts, Starbucks runs, sunscreen, etc. Calculate your budget and start to execute a plan of action. Do you need to do a fundraiser to help offset the costs? Do you need to allow parents to participate in payment plans? What does this piece need to look like for you to avoid last minute stress.
One of the ways in North Texas that we try to prepare for camp early is by offering a program for our Kids Pastors called, “Camp for Christmas.” Many parents are going to pay full price for their kids to attend summer camp, so why not allow them to do it early and then offer it to their kids as one of the presents under the tree? We also offer our lowest prices of the camp season for any kids/leaders that register by December 31st! It’s a win for us as the district to have churches register that early, it’s a win for Kids Pastors to lock in low rates, and it’s a win for parents to be able to give camp as a gift! If we can have Christmas in July, why shouldn’t we encourage Camp for Christmas!
You could absolutely take this same concept and just translate it for parents to utilize on a different holiday, or special day. They could provide their child with camp for their birthday, the day they get baptized, Easter, graduation, etc. There are so many ways to do this! Get creative!
Bottom line is this - don’t wait for April to roll around to think about Kids Camp. Camp is such an important piece in a kid’s spiritual journey. Many of us learned to hear the voice of God at camp, we were called into the ministry at camp, and we were filled with the Holy Spirit at camp. Let’s make getting kids to camp a priority for us, for their parents, and for them!