One of the coolest things about student ministry is YOUTH CAMP! I love youth camp! Youth Camp is one of the weeks that the students, leaders, and especially the youth pastor looks forward too. Camp week could very well be one of the most important weeks of the entire year for your student ministry. While attending basketball or band camp, you would expect for the attendees to return with a greater knowledge of basketball or band. When finding a good camp, you should expect your students to come back with a greater knowledge of God and His will. I had the privilege of directing a youth camp for several years so I have some experience with directing camp. I also have had the privilege of taking my students to camp so I know what it is like on that end. I also have had experience with just being a counselor at a camp. If you are not taking your students to a good youth camp, I strongly urge you to do so.
- Biblical & Energetic Services- The most important thing in youth camp are the services. If you go for anything else, it will not be near as worth it as if you went specifically for the services. When searching for the right youth camp, check out their services. Attend a service ahead of time at the camp. Ask the director what is their purpose in the services. I have seen camps who schedule their services around the activities, but I believe the activity time should be scheduled around the services. Make sure the service contains Biblical content. Don’t take the students for fluff. Make sure the Biblical content is practical as well. The students need to learn how to apply what the speaker talked about. Don’t forget the music is VERY important as well. It is extremely important to the students. Sometimes the music speaks to the students as much as the preaching.
- Organization- I am pretty OCD about things, but lack of organization kills me. I cannot stand to take my students to something that is not planned out well. When someone comes to camp, they should feel like it is organized, and that they are properly informed about the schedule, etc. Schedules for leaders and students are important. By the way, students today care for organization. They want to know what is next on the agenda.
- Current Dramas- I did not think this was too important, but from what I have learned dramas speak to the students as well as anything. They want to see what they should do acted out. Make sure they are current though, because many camps are outdated with dramas and such.
- Free Time- I used to think we had to entertain students the entire time, but they live in a pretty chill society. Some are completely cool with just doing whatever they want to do.
- Fun Activities- Activities are not the most important, but they are indeed important. Make sure they are organized, fun, crazy, and short. Make sure they do not last too long, because the attention span of students is not too long. Also, when they see an end in sight, they do not want to see that to get there is going to take a couple of hours. Just a note: the game leader is very important. He must be loud, to the point, and extremely energetic!