Written by Brian Summerall
Summer camp is not the end of your ministry year! It’s actually the starter’s pistol for your fall club start. There is no other place or time in the world where your kids will be more enthusiastic about Young Life and sharing Christ with their friends than during the last days of summer camp. If we don’t take advantage of that fact, momentum and opportunity will be lost and be nearly impossible to get back or recreate six to eight weeks later when school starts again.
Day 7 of the camp experience is one of the most important days. There are plenty of staff folks who believe the area meeting at the end of the camp week to be a pivotal time of vision casting and celebration for kids (and leaders) on a summer camp trip. You might even be a trip leader who would value some direction on how that time can best be utilized.
Some elements that may be of interest to you for that time could include:
- Explaining what’s ahead in the days to come (camp follow-up)
You’ve just eaten 21 meals in a row together. Without proper planning, 24 hours from now, many of those kids will be sitting on the couch at home alone eating something out of a fast food wrapper, wondering if what happened this past week was real.
Who does the lion attack? The sheep in the middle of the pack or the one who is off on their own? Who does Satan attack? The kid who is in the middle of the pack or the one who finds himself suddenly alone?
Within 24 hours of being home, your entire crew should all be at a local burger place swapping stories, breaking bread together, laughing hard, and living life together. For the next two weeks, we need to provide a place daily for kids to gather and learn to spend time with the Lord. (Resources for these camp follow-up weeks can be found below.)
The adventure has just begun! Don’t dare wave at the bus and say we’ll get together in a week. That’s too LATE!
2. Share the story of Jerry Kirk and Cy Burris, the two Silver Cliff work crew boys who “prayed big things.”
You can download the story HERE, about how two sixteen-year-old work crew kids prayed for Frontier Ranch. The idea is to let kids know they can change their school and that God wants to use them!
I always ask my high school friends after telling this story in our day seven meeting at camp, "What are you praying for your friends... safe things, easy things, anything? Or are you praying "big things"" because we have a big God? Two sixteen-year-old kids prayed big things 60 years ago, and many of your lives have been changed. Two sixteen-year-old kids prayed big things and thousands have come to know the Lord at Frontier. You can do the same!!!
3. Vision casting for the upcoming school year with Young Life and how to get their friends (and new freshmen) in on it.
Talk about (with great enthusiasm) what the upcoming school year could look like if “we all” stacked hands on making Young Life great at their schools. What if we dreamed big and prayed big? They could be the difference makers! Give them a vision for a reputation and legacy to grow into! And give them a vision for doing something REALLY different...embracing freshmen and bringing them along for the ride!
4. Have a few kids talk about how this camp week impacted them.
It might be a great thing during your area meeting to hear from two or three kids about how this camp week impacted them in ways they didn’t see coming. Give them 30-60 seconds to give a “quick word” about their week. Or it might be an excellent time for a second timer to share about the importance of sticking together after camp and also being a part of the camp follow up things.
5. Have each kid write to a donor back home on a postcard.
Nothing fires a donor up more than hearing first-hand from a kid! The area meeting is a great time to have each kid on your trip write a postcard or two. Put a template on a screen or flip chart to show the “bones” of what to write. But don’t make your template force words they’re not prepared to write. Give them options of sentences to write.
Take your area picture on Day 2 after the volleyball tournament or rodeo and then use an online company (clubflyers.com or gotprint.net) or the Service Center and have them quick shipped back to you at camp before the area meeting. It may cost a little bit, but it’s worth it!
6. Handing out area t-shirts so everybody can wear them on the last day.
Everybody longs to be a part of a bigger story, to belong. There’s just something about everyone on your trip running around with the same shirt that reminds kids and leaders that we did not experience this week alone. Not only that, we don’t go home alone. We came to camp as individuals, but we leave as a family. Trip t-shirts help create that feeling and serve as a reminder back home of the decisions and relationships that were made at camp.
REMEMBER: The Area Meeting on Day 7 is yours to run with. These are merely some ideas to help get your wheels spinning... not meant to overwhelm you with “have- to’s." The time is yours. Use it well!
For more info/help write to: email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Click HERE to download camp follow-up resources.
Click HERE to download an “End of the Week Area Meeting” guide along with the Jerry Kirk and Cy Burris story.