10 More DOs & DONTs of Camp

A few weeks ago I did a post on 15 DOs and DONTs of Summer Camp. Since coming back from our camp I realized a few things I forgot (by a few, I mean a lot). So here’s 10 more DOs and DONTs of Summer Camp:

16. DON’T evaluate in a vacuum
Get input from key kids, parents, and counselors. Here are the questions my team and I work through after each event:

  • What went right? (things we liked that we want to repeat for next year)
  • What went wrong? (things we want to prevent or not do next year)
  • What was missing? (things we didn’t do that would be good to try next year)

17. DO post video and pictures online
DVDs are great. But only the people who went to camp get to view them. Post video and pictures on Facebook, your church website, Flickr, YouTube, etc. These days it can be a little sketchy but if you make it part of your release forms you should be fine.

18. DON’T sign next year’s contract right away
Reflect on your camp experience. Did this camp help you fulfill why your church goes to camp? Is there another camp that might need your church’s needs better? Do we even need/want to go to any camp next year? Investigate all your alternatives before signing on for another year.

19. DO balance the books
Have all your receipts been turned in to whoever handles the finances for your ministry? Did camp land you in the red or are you still in the black? Finding the answers to these questions is always tedious and boring (to me) but will help you plan better for next year’s camp experience.

20. DON’T neglect the camp staff
We do pretty good at thanking our leaders. But what about the staff at the camp you went to? Before you get carpal tunnel from all the follow-up from camp be sure to write a quick thank you to key staff at camp. You do camp for a week. They do it all summer. Showing your appreciation will make their summer.

21. DO let your church know how God showed up
Each month our church staff gets together for breakfast where we share some of our ministry wins. Not every church has that kind of forum but it’s still good to let your congregation know what happened at camp. That could be through a newsletter, blog, email, etc. However you do it make sure your church knows how God moved in kids’ lives at camp.

22. DON’T let the lost and found pile up
Don’t save camp leftovers till the rapture. Give people 30 days to come to you about any lost and found issues. After that throw/give the leftovers away. That may sound cold, but if you save everything your space will be overrun with dirty clothes that will eventually mutate, raise an army, and overthrow mankind. True story.

23. DO follow-up with families
Have a system in place to see where kids are at with the decisions they made at camp a month or two later. Shoot parents a quick note to let them know where they can get video, pictures, and additional help to nurture what God did in their kids at camp.

24. DON’T let complaints get you down
No matter how awesome your camp experience was there’s always someone who didn’t like it. Do your best to steer clear of camp complaints for at least a full 24 hours. And when you do get to them don’t respond immediately. You’re tired in every way possible. Let prayer and time temper your responses to disgruntled parents, kids, and leaders.

25. DO take time to recharge
Before leaving for camp plan when you’re going to take some time off after camp. We all need a break, especially after an event as all-consuming as camp. Planning that time beforehand will help you get the rest you need .

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