When you are taking a group of students to camp, there always seems to be something left undone, some seemingly tiny detail that eludes you until it becomes blazingly unavoidable to recognize that failure to check that box, can have a significantly detrimental impact on the overall quality of your camp experience. Here is to checking all the boxes, and having the best camp experience.

If you haven’t already done so, first take some time to identify your goals for camp.

Taking care of all the details – Planning for Camp

There always seem to be something needing to be done. We’ve broken up your to-do list into 5 simple categories:

Camp Logistics

Camp Logistics

  • When is the last chance to change the number of people coming?
  • When are your payments due?
  • Communicate those last minute number changes.
  • Communicate any food allergies or dietary restrictions.
  • Communicate any Goals/Objectives that you have.  While not every camp will be able to fully customize the design of your camp, they should be able to make small tweaks to better optimize any objectives or goals that you have for your youth.

For Everyone Going to Camp

  • Distribute what to bring lists.  Be sure to clarify any special things they should bring or leave at home.
  • Distribute any paperwork the camp (or your church) requires.
  • Collect back any required paperwork.
  • Collect payments (As we’ve talked about before, if giving scholarships to students or offsetting costs for leaders, we strongly encourage you to never reduce the costs to zero.  Even a small $20 payment can move mountains to reduce last minute no-shows and cancellations.)
  • Do kids need to bring any cash with them?  Food on the way there or back?  Snacks, Gifts, Premium activities at camp?
  • Consider communicating the goals of camp. Maybe you communicate your goals, or you have your group as a whole discuss their reasons for going to camp. Frontload expectations.
  • Consider scheduling an event the week after camp to celebrate and help bring home the growth and experiences of camp. Will this be a kids only, or invite your parents type of event?

For Parents

  • Who should parents contact if there is an emergency at home?
  • Who should parents contact if they miss their kids and want to know that they are ok?
  • Communicate to parents if they should not expect to hear from their kids while at camp.  Will it be, “No news is good news” or “I’ll update ____ site/person with general updates every afternoon”?
  • Where should parents check to see if you will be arriving back at Church earlier or later than originally planned? (You don’t want to be calling each parent while stuck in traffic right?)

Leader Logistics

  • Perform any background checks that your church or the camp requires of any adults on the trip.
  • Communicate to them the goals of the trip.  Is there anything they specifically should do (or avoid doing) to help achieve that goal?
  • Distribute (if needed), directions to camp, and where you plan to stop along the way for food and/or bathroom breaks.  Remember, many camps tend to be located in cellular dead zones, you might not be able to call for directions if your gps misleads you.
  • Here is more advice on helping your leaders to prepare for camp.

Your Personal Logistics

  • You’ll likely be running around like crazy right before you leave.  Schedule a time sometime in the last week, to get away by yourself (or your family) so that you might better prepare yourself emotionally and mentally for camp.
  • Schedule some time for after you return home to not only catch up on the work you missed while at camp, but to also catch up on both your personal life, and your emotional/spiritual well being.

Part of the Preparing for Camp Series