Keep the Campfires Burning

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Prepare Campers

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Experienced camp counselors know most kids aren’t freely willing
to jump into camp services or programs on the first day of camp.
Most kids need to warm up to the idea of camp itself and the array
of new faces. But you can prepare kids’ hearts by gradually
“warming them up”-long before they arrive at camp.

Awaken kids’ desire for God. Intentionally
prepare kids spiritually for their camp experience, say leaders who
are committed to camp. Build kids’ anticipation by training them to
think about what God has planned for their lives. Pump them up for
the camp’s theme. Encourage kids to talk about their hopes and
dreams. Use lessons that focus on God’s plan for us and on
unforgettable Bible heroes who did amazing things and that tie into
the camp’s theme. Invite guest speakers whose lives have been
changed because of camp experiences.

Prep kids’ suitcases. Before you meet kids’
spiritual needs, it may be necessary to meet their physical needs.
Practically speaking, if kids aren’t prepared with the appropriate
supplies for camp, they’ll be miserable, embarrassed, frustrated,
and inhibited in their openness when it comes to God experiences.
Don’t stop at providing a recommended supplies list, check with all
parents-especially those struggling with the financial costs of
camp-to ensure their kids will have everything they need. Help
those who need it.

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Get spirit. Many camps have a theme and are
team-oriented. Stoke your campers’ excitement about the fun to come
by encouraging them to dress in their team colors on certain days
and by advertising the camp’s theme in your ministry. Play
team-oriented games and encourage kids to cheer for each other.

Prepare kids for worship. Kids will most
likely have many hands-on experiences, which lead to experiential
learning and worship. If the camp your kids attend has prolonged
times of worship and prayer, prepare your kids to engage in worship
and prayer so they won’t be disoriented or disengaged.

Participation-Gradually lengthen and emphasize worship and
prayer times in your children’s services as camp approaches. Talk
to kids in sermons or small group lessons about what worship looks,
sounds, and feels like.

P.B.J.S.-One pastor says he did a series on “P.B.J.S.” to help
his kids prepare for camp. The spiritual focus was to remind kids
to have daily “Prayer, Bible reading, Journaling, and Solitude with
God.” He used this approach to stir kids’ hearts for what God would
do at camp. During each installment of the series, the pastor had
kids eat a peanut-butter-and-jelly sandwich as a physical reminder
of what they committed to do spiritually.

     

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