The Hardest Part Of Camp

The hardest part of a marathon is training for the marathon.  It’s not the 20th mile or getting to the start line on time, it’s the mornings when you get up to do a training run and you tell yourself, “Maybe I’ll run tomorrow.”  When it comes to camps, trips or events the hardest part is the prep leading up to the big week.  There are emails, forms, lists, supplies and phone calls that come in waves and punches in the face.  It can be overwhelming and tiring to the point where you question, “Is this worth it?”  I can’t answer that question for you, but what I can share are the four steps one should take in preparing for camp:

  • Set A Schedule: Deadlines for forms, calling vendors and buying supplies, mark it all down.  Pacing yourself before the big week wil leave you more at ease the night before it begins.
  • Recruit A Team: Don’t just look for volunteers that will help out the week of, look for a team who will carry you through the entire preparation.  Delegate anything from spreadsheets to hot dog buns, but get the things off your plate will wear you down.
  • Get Plenty Of Rest: Seriously, go to bed early and take care of yourself so you aren’t crashing after the first day.
  • Treat It Like Vacation: The temptation is to focus on other work obligations while at camp.  As you prepare for the week set-up your away email and voicemail so that you can solely focus on the campers and connecting them to an incredible experience.

This week camp starts for me, and I would like to say that I performed all these steps perfectly, but I got overwhelmed and preoccupied.  Again, the hardest part of camp or an event is the preparation.  Once you get there it’s all about relying on God’s grace and allowing Him to lead you forward.  What I wanted to share with you is what I’ve learned to do for next time.  
For those of you who are pros at this what advice would you give other youth workers preparing for camps?