Form a youth camp planning committee
- Who needs to be involved in the planning for the youth camp? (i.e. parents, youth workers, youth, pastoral staff, others?)
- What are the roles in the planning and preparation for the youth camp and who will be responsible for each role?
Decide your Goals for the Youth Camp
- What is the purpose for the youth camp.
- Who is the Target group? Who do you want to attend the youth camp? (age group, Christians / seekers, friends of youth, etc.)
- Write a clear description of the youth camp and its goals.
Plan the Details for the Youth Camp
- What is the official name of the youth camp? Does the camp name clearly communicate the purpose and content?
- What is the theme of the youth camp? How can the theme be incorporated into all aspects of the youth camp?
- Do you need a youth camp curriculum?
- When is the date and Time of the youth camp?
- Where is the venue for the youth camp? (Camp Facility, church, community center, camp center, multiple locations?) What are the directions to the venue? Is there a map available? About how long will it take travel there? Is it difficult to find?
Tentative Youth Camp Schedule / Program
- What activities will fill the time during the youth camp? OVER PLAN and have ALTERNATIVES.
(e.g. Icebreakers, Bible study, Recreation, Outdoor games, Indoor games, Movies, Large Group Games, Sports, Discussions, Community Service, etc.) If you are using an outside venue, doing an on site inspection in advance will help you better prepare for youth camp games and activities.
- Set a bed-time and a wake-up time. Don’t expect the teens to actually sleep when they are supposed to during a camp, but do have have a time when everyone will wind down with quiet activities and an opportunity with lights-out and no loud talking for those to sleep who might wish to do so. Also set a wake-up time, especially if you’ll be serving breakfast in the morning. Many teens usually won’t sleep the first and the last nights of a youth camp.
Youth Camp Finances
- What is the budget for the youth camp?
- What’s the expected actual cost of the youth camp and activities?
- Camp Speaker Costs (Transport, Honorarium, Accommodation, Food)
- Camp Facility Costs (Accomodation, Meeting Rooms, Equipment)
- Camp Staffing Costs (Volunteer accomodation and food, transport, etc)
- Transportation of youth to the camp facility
- Curriculum, handouts, t-shirts and other items for youth camp participants
- Camp Craft supplies
- Special Equipment / Recreation Equipment
- Are there sponsors / sources of supplies or food for the youth camp?
- What is the actual cost to of the youth camp to participants? Subsidized cost?
- Are there scholarships available?
- Does the cost change for early or late sign-ups?
- Does the cost go down if youth get their friends to sign up for the camp? Are there multiple levels of discounts tied to the number of friends who sign up for the youth camp?
- When is the first deposit due for the youth camp?
- When is the final payment due for the youth camp?
- Is there a cancellation Fee?
Youth Camp Arrangements
- Reservation of Venue?
- Recruit Adult chaperons / volunteers for the youth camp – A good rule of thumb is to have one chaperon (parent/youth pastor/leader) for every eight youth that attend the camp. (Some groups may require more or less supervision)
- Are there to be Special speakers / special items or programs utilizing outside people? Select and invite guest speakers in advance.
- Do you have someone trained in first aid or medicine on site in case of an injury.
- What food will be available at the youth camp? Dinner? Snacks? Breakfast? Quantity? Meals and snacks should be designed to meet the needs of all attendees. Are there any special dietary requirements or restrictions? Snacks?
- Transportation requirements for the youth camp?
- What do participants need to bring to the youth camp? (sleeping bag, pillow, snacks, games, swim suit, towel, toothbrush and toothpaste, comfortable clothing and shoes?)
- What contact information is available for parents of youth attending the youth camp?
- Have you created a list of contact information for those responsible for major roles and duties at the youth camp?
- Do you have the address and contact of nearest medical emergency aid?
- Sleeping Arrangements for the youth camp – Provide separate rooms for guys and gals sleeping arrangements. Rooms need to have someone as a monitor.
- What time should youth arrive at the camp or church and be picked up? Where do parents drop their kids off and pick them up?
- What rules will be enforced at the youth camp?
- Create an ‘Incident Report’ form for any injuries, accidents or security breaches that occur during the youth camp?
Youth Camp Publicity
- Verbal Announcements
- Announcements during services
- Pre-camp Meetings
- Phone Calls
- Printed Publicity
- Promotional fliers
- Church Bulletin
- Church / youth Calendar or events
- Sign-up form / Permission slips
- Postcards to invite friends
- Posters / Bulletin Boards
- Website / emails / Text Messages
- Local newspaper
Equipment and Resources Needed for the Youth Camp
- Are the tables and chairs available in the meeting rooms sufficient?
- What is the capacity of the sleeping area(s)?
- Sound system? Music?
- Special lighting?
- Special equipment?
- Board games, sports equipment, materials for games?
- Parking space? Drop off and pick-up point for parents?
- Requisition forms for supplies, Checkout / return out form for any equipment or supplies that are borrowed?
Final Youth Camp Preparations
- Finalise Program schedule for the camp
- Create Camp Attendee list – Permission slips must be signed by parents / guardians before teens are allowed to attend the camp. Keep the contact information together in a folder and available at all times in case of an emergency. Make a master copy and a standby copy.
- Create Staff / Volunteer list
- Create a list of Emergency contacts (Fire, medical, and police department numbers)
- What is the name, address and phone number of the nearest hospital or urgent care facility? (This information should be included on your health form/parent release.). What is the most direct route from the camp venue?
- What are the venue management contacts?
- Prepare a Parent’s contact list.
- Prepare a Volunteer list with assigned roles and contact numbers?
- What transportation arrangements are required. Contact numbers?
Youth Camp Volunteer Training
- Screen Volunteers
- Meet with volunteers as a group before the youth camp.
- List responsibilities and contact numbers for each youth camp volunteer including a ‘Chain of Command’ – who reports to whom, who makes final decisions?
- Make sure youth camp volunteers are clear on the rules.
- Familiarize youth camp volunteers with the layout of the venue – especially exits, potential problem areas or hazards.
- Assign people in your team to be responsible for cleaning up any spills/ broken glass as soon as it happens?
- Trouble shoot with youth camp volunteers. What things could happen during the youth camp and how should the volunteers respond?
- Have people and vehicles on standby to travel with youth in case of emergency.
- Instruct youth camp volunteers in how to complete the ‘Incident Report’ form for any injuries, accidents or security breaches that occur during the youth camp and what information is needed. They need to get signatures of any eyewitnesses.
- Go through the entire youth camp schedule. What resources are needed for each item on the schedule and who is responsible to make sure they are ready?
- Remind Youth Camp Volunteers that they must be flexible and ready to help out as needed.
Youth Camp Setup
- Have people available to arrive early and stay a little longer after the camp ends.
- Make a list of things need to be set up in advance before the campers arrive.
- Make a list of things need to be done after the campers leave.
First Day of the Youth Camp
- Set up for games / activities
- Delivery and storage of food and supplies if you ar epreparing your own meals.
- Post the rules in the venue where you’re hosting the youth camp. Go over the camp rules as soon as the teens arrive. Make your expectations clear. This will help reduce conflicts that might arise during the youth camp.
- Identify key volunteers to participants, especially the medical person.
- Are all areas of your venue (including outdoor areas) adequately lit – especially for night time events?
- Are floor surfaces clear of trip hazards and electrical cords?
- Are all security, staff and volunteers easily identified with either a uniform, t-shirt, ID badge or cap?
- Are Emergency/Fire exits clear of any obstructions and will they have adults monitoring them?
- Are there first-aid supplies, fire extinguishers? If so, where are they located?
- Are all exits monitored?
- Prepare a secure area to store any valuables until they are collected at the end of the youth camp.
- Clean up – It’s important to leave the camp facility in the same shape as you found it. Involve everyone in this process on a daily basis.
After the Youth Camp
- Return rental or borrowed items
- Thank everyone who made the youth camp possible
- Meet with the youth camp planning committee and evaluate. Ask: What worked well? What could we have done differently? What did we learn from this process?
- Review any incident reports completed and see what steps can be taken to prevent similar incidents happening at the next youth camp.
- Complete and file a written event summary including any resources and suggestions for future planning of youth camps.
Special Cautions for a Youth Camp
- Over-plan your activities so the teens won’t get bored during the youth camp.
- Plan Bibles studies and spiritual discussions at the beginning of the day when people are most alert and decisions are not clouded by lack of sleep or sugar highs! Early evenings, before gets too late, are also prime time for worship and meetings.
- Schedule recreation and fun activities during mid-day when attention is waining and people are easily distracted.
- Be sure to have some high energy activities to help youth expend any pent up energy as well as rest times for them to relax and wind down.
- If youth are of driving age it is recommended they not be allowed to drive home from the youth camp as they might not get enough sleep to take care on the roads.
This document is a guide only. It contains general information and is not intended to represent a comprehensive checklist.
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