Reminders and Tips for your next Camp trip

Camp trips and retreats are vital for student ministries. In a weekend trip or a week away there is so much good that can come from it. In particular it can create momentum for your ministry that wasn’t there beforehand.
I’ve been doing student ministry trips for over 20 years now. However, the funny thing is, no matter how many trips you have been on, you can still learn something each and every time you go on a camping trip with students. Here’s a list of things that I was reminded of it and learned from my most recent camping experience in Harrisburg, PA for PCTC:
  1. Pre-camp Leaders Meeting is a must. Have a pre-camp meeting with your leaders before you go outlining expectations for them and the students. This way you get everyone on the same page and praying for the trip BEFORE the trip.
  2. Be Assessable. Make sure you have all your leaders cell phone number so you can reach them at any time and even send group text messages. And, make sure parents know how to contact you if there is an issue at home or if they need to contact you about something concerning their child.
  3. Minister to your leaders just as much is your ministering the students. By that I mean them make sure that you’re checking in with your leaders to make sure they’re comfortable and they’re handling situations good. But this is also letting them know how much you appreciate all the work they’re doing during the trip. They are boots on the ground for God using them to impact the students. They need your support.
  4. campDon’t forget your medical forms. Make sure you have all the medical forms with you at all times. We had a situation where we had to go to the ER and thank God we had the medical forms and the release form for the student is it made things so much easier.
  5. Provide opportunities for conversations to happen. Life change happpens when people talk. We know this because we talk about this in small groups at home groups. However at camp it’s just as important to provide opportunities for people to talk and process the messages that they’re hearing.
  6. Expect the unexpected. No matter how well planned you guys are and no matter what you’re doing to stay on top of things, they’re always going to be unexpected things that happen. So go into your camp trip knowing that and expect things will happen so that when I do you’re not thrown off course in given to the chaos of the situation.
  7. Be flexible. This goes with expecting the unexpected but the more flexible you are the better your camp trip is going to be. God has great plans for your weekend or week long trip and sometimes his plan different from ours. Be flexible and in tune with what gods doing so that you can have the best experience.

Whether you have been on hundreds of trips or just a few, there are always great reminders and tips you can be learning when you are doing ministry. The key is be constantly learning and using each camp trip as a learning experiencing.

These are seven things that I was reminded of and/or learned from this recent camp trip I took with students. But I’m sure they’re not the only seven things to be remembering to do before during and after camp so I would love to hear your thoughts.

What do you think you’re some big tips for going camping with students?¬†Share below or on social media adding #ymsidekick to it.

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Tom Pounder

A father of 4, Tom is the Online Campus Pastor as well as Social Media Director at New Life Christian Church in Chantilly, VA. He blogs, vlogs, periscopes and podcasts regularly about student and online ministry stuff. Check out his work at YMSidekick.com and on iTunes (search YMSidekick).

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