Preparing Your Teen for Camp

camp theme

We leave for teen camp in just two weeks. Some teens are already packing, others will wait the night before to pack– either way we leave June 21 after the morning service. I’m so excited about this year’s teen camp! We’re taking almost the entire youth group (104 to be exact). As you make your list to prepare for teen camp, no doubt, you’ll write down toothpaste, toothbrush, towels, sleeping bag, Bible, youth group t-shirt, candy and many other things to make it the perfect week, but may I suggest one other way to help you prepare?

This week is a huge investment in the life of your teenager. It’s a tremendous way to kick off the summer. In fact, as youth pastor, I believe it really can be the spiritual culmination to your teenager’s year. I’d like to encourage you to talk to your teenager about goals for their week of camp!

Goal 1: Have Fun. Dare them to get involved in as much as they possibly can during their five days at camp. The teenagers that love camp are…not the ones that get a “girlfriend or boyfriend,” but are the ones who become fanatically involved in every aspect of camp life. The Giant Swing, mini-golf, floating on a tube down the creek, a Cool Beans drink, 4th Falls, craft shop, bookstore and the climbing wall. There is more to do in one week at the Wilds’ than a camper could ever possibly accomplish. Encourage them to become a fanatic for their team, if their team color is red, challenge them to paint their face red for the big game of the day. As a “secret” between you and me – the more they get involved in the games, activities and competitions the more involved they’ll be during the preaching (but don’t tell that to your teen).

Goal 2: Develop Friendships. One of the greatest benefits of going to camp with your youth group is the developing of friendships. Encourage your teen to develop godly friendships with friends within the youth group and other teenagers in their cabin and on their team. Warn them of teens that are “too cool” to participate in the games, listen to preaching and participate in God & I time. It’s natural for a guy to like a girl and vice-versa, but a tremendous hindrance to a teenager progressing spiritually is their focus on a person and not God. Remind your teen that the focus of the week is his/her drawing closer to Christ.

Goal 3: Grow Spiritually. This goal is the one that we first think about, but talking through this one with your teen will reap some of the greatest benefits. Goals could be:

  • going out the week after camp to hear about how God worked
  • taking notes during the preaching services
  • becoming more faithful in devotions
  • taking the next step spiritually – whatever that may be for him/her

A couple of last minute reminders about conversing with your teen:

  • keep it conversational (it’s not a lecture or a one-sided conversation)
  • questions keep the conversation flowing (don’t accuse, such as, “Last year you liked that one girl…”)
  • go somewhere: Starbucks, breakfast at a diner, a Coke at McDonalds
  • surprise him with additional $ (I know, you’re probably footing the entire bill already, but a $5 bill will break the ice in any conversation)

Last of all, PRAY for your child every day and multiple times throughout the day!

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