Summer camp is just around the corner. Are you ready to go?
You read that right. I just asked if you are ready to “go.” While many moms are packing their children’s suitcase for summer camp, a lot of you are packing your own bedroll and preparing to be a sponsor at camp. How can you be prepared?
After working with students as a volunteer for more than 25 years, I spent many weeks at camp. I know what it’s like to comfort the girl who gets sick and rejoice with campers when they make life-long spiritual decisions. Camp can be a life-changing week. But you should always be prepared.
Here are my suggestions to help make your week go smoother.
- Pack extra essentials for those who forget. This might include feminine products, sunscreen, and an extra towel. For many girls, this might be their first time away from home. You can help them avoid an embarrassing moment and be their hero by having extras in your bag.
- Take a package of notecards and pack treats if possible. Write notes of encouragement throughout the week and leave them on the pillows of the girls in your small group. Share a meaningful Bible verse or thank them for what they shared in your group. If there aren’t food restrictions, surprise your group with special treats or purchase something at the camp
- Pack a few fun things like inexpensive make-up, hair accessories, and nail polish. Starting conversations over camp manicures is a good way to win the heart of those in your group.
- Pack your earbuds. If you’re sharing space with lots of girls, you’ll want to listen to their late night conversations. On the other hand, you will also want some sleep.
- Have fun! Don’t just sit on the sidelines and watch your students participate in games. Whether it’s completing a ropes course, swimming in the pool, or playing volleyball, join in. Be all there for your students. They will be much more willing to ask spiritual questions when they know you enjoy being with them.
- Bring a good attitude and learn the art of flexibility. Let’s be honest. Camp can be exhausting, and it’s easy to get frustrated when you’re tired or things don’t go the way you planned. Start your day with God’s Word and ask Him to give you a willing heart to minister.
- Don’t be surprised when God does a special work in your own heart. While you are praying for those who are going to camp with you, be personally open to hearing from the Lord. Don’t skip hearing powerful messages because God may want to speak to you.
- Be available when your students respond to the Lord. If an invitation is given at the end of a message, be alert to those who are in your group. They will not only want a friend but an adult who can help them discover what God is doing in their hearts.
- Most importantly, be prayed up before you go to camp. Start praying for the students who are going to camp with you. Be sensitive to their spiritual needs and pray for the Lord to do a mighty work in their life.
Let us know if you have any other tips for chaperoning church camp or mission trips!
Kelly King is the Women’s Ministry Specialist for LifeWay Women.