How to Survive a Week of Summer Camp

Senior Week '15

My daughter is attending her first week of church camp this summer. My wife and I are so excited for her! We attended camp every summer as kids, so we know how important it is. She will grow closer to God, make new friends, and have a lot of fun. (Not to mention we get a break from her for a few days!)

Students from your church will likely spend time at camp as well. This is usually the best week of their summer. Students from our church look forward to camp more than anything else. Besides being a camper during their week, some of them stay and serve during other weeks. They spend almost an entire month at camp!

Students love being at camp. It’s a special place for them. More than anywhere or anything else, it produces a sense of closeness and connection with God. And it strengthens their friendships with each other.

But church camp doesn’t happen on its own. It happens because adults like us volunteer to teach, lead discussions, plan games, and just be with students. It takes a lot of time and energy, but it has the potential to be the most meaningful week of your summer.

It also has the potential to be the most exhausting week of your summer! Students have more energy than we do, and are less dependent on a normal routine. If you are spending time with students at camp this summer, here are a few survival tips:

Spend Time Alone
Solitude is essential. Make time to be alone during the week. Read the Bible, pray, or just be still. Whatever you do, enjoy time to yourself when students aren’t around. My best advice is to wake up early. Students never get up earlier than they have to, so use that to your advantage. Spend time alone for the sake of your sanity.

Bring Your Family
If it’s possible, bring your family to camp with you. Students love kids and won’t mind having yours around. Check with the dean or camp manager ahead of time to make sure the camp can accommodate them. If it can’t, call home while you’re away. Nobody expects you to not talk to your family for a week.

Enjoy the Perks
As a counselor, you have privileges that students don’t. My advice is to enjoy every one of them. Deans and camp managers understand the sacrifice you’re making, so they usually provide a few perks. But please be considerate to the students. They hate “unfairness,” so enjoy the perks without rubbing it in their face.

Lighten Up
Probably the best thing you can do to make sure your students have a great week is lighten up. Nothing is worse than a boring adult who refuses to have fun. Games will be played; some of them will be messy! Pranks will be pulled; some of them will be on you!

So stop taking yourself so seriously. Relax, smile, and have fun. Be willing to laugh at yourself. Get messy, ride the broom around the room, and do whatever your students ask (within reason!). Camp isn’t about you maintaining your dignity; it’s about students having a life-changing experience. And fun goes a long way toward accomplishing that.

Are you spending time with students at camp this summer? How do you plan to survive it? Leave your thoughts with a comment below!

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