Natalia has had several home runs over the past few years, but this one takes the cake … her first over-the fence home rune! A 175 bomb over the right center field fence! She narrowly missed her coach’s car, and she told Natalia, “I park over there because I’ve never seen a 14 U player hit one that far.” lol! Way to go Big Squig!
How do you come up with a theme for camp? Through my own experience and observing and interacting with my fellow youth workers, here are the elements that go into deciding on a theme:
Team. Having a leadership team is a great starting point to coming up with a theme for your camp. The next steps of prayer and Scripture can be done in a meeting, during a leadership team retreat, or you can ask each person to spend time in prayer and in the Bible individually and set a date to come together and share what you are sensing.
Prayer. Begin to pray to God for the students He knows will be coming to camp. Ask Him to give you a sense of vision and direction for the camp and what He wants to impart to those who attend.
Scripture. Pay attention to what you are reading in your Bible. Oftentimes God will draw your attention to something. Ask God if He is showing it to you as something He wants to reveal to students at camp. Or, perhaps, as you are praying, the Lord will start dropping a word, phrase, or idea in your mind. Go to the Bible and see what God has to say about that particular topic.
Brainstorming. Come together and share the ideas or Scripture passages God has been speaking to your hearts. Once you are sensing a big idea or a common theme, have your team start throwing out words or phrases that capture what you feel the Lord is speaking.
Decide. Narrow down your list and make a decision about what your theme will be. This may be through a vote, or someone might need to make an executive decision. One thing I heard my friend Doug Fields say years ago has been helpful to me through the years. He said, “If you have a choice between cute and effective, go with effective.”
Below are a few games that are camp favorites as well as some good game idea websites.
Greased Watermelon Football
Football with a greased watermelon in shallow water.
Materials: Swimming area, watermelon, Crisco, two baskets
How To Play:
Take a watermelon and put Crisco on it until it is nice and slippery. In about 4 feet of water, place two buckets 100 feet apart or so. Weight the buckets to the bottom with rocks.
Divide the players into two equal teams. The goal of the game is to get the watermelon into the opposing team’s bucket. Players try to grab it and move through the water with it while other players try to tackle them/rip the watermelon away. The team that scores the most points in the given time period wins.
It can be helpful to have an extra watermelon (or 2 or 3) just in case it breaks.
Some helpful rules are:
- No holding anyone under water (FACILITATORS WATCH TO MAKE SURE NO ONE IS DROWNING OR GETS KNOCKED UNCONSCIOUS IN THE WATER)
- No biting/scratching/kicking
- No going in less than 3 feet of water (watermelon can break easier when out of water)
Kiddie Pool Kickball
Materials and Setup:
- We used 2 boxes of plastic sheeting 6mil 6’X100′ from Home Depot that we bought online for 33 bucks a box.
- Roll out 50′ and fold under pool.
- You never have to cut anything because the pool filled with water weighs it down.
- Pull it tight as you fill the pools and it won’t go anywhere.
- Repeat to each base.
- We use the cheap bouncy balls you always see stacked high at a Walmart or Target.
- Make sure to use tear free soap.
- Use a little league baseball field instead of a lawn if you don’t have enough yard.
How to Play:
- 3-5 innings
- 3 outs per inning.
- Students in the field can have pool noodles to beat the runners as they round the bases.
- To be safe on base you must sit down in pool.
- Can’t run from base until ball is kicked, must slide into home for the run to count.
- No bunting.
- Best scenario is 15 to 20 on each team.
- You will need to continually fill pools during the game.
Important: Lots of slipping and falling involved. Please play safe and at your own risk.
Credits: This video was originally created by Andrew Martin Kolstee for EPIC Student Life a youth ministry in Russell, Pennsylvania and then edited by REMIX Ministries.
Tic Tac Toe Relay Race
Materials: 9 Hula Hoops; 5 bean bags/t-shirts/other objects of one color; 5 bean bags/t-shirts/other objects of a different color
How to Play: See Video
Water Balloon Capture the Flag
Materials: Tons of water balloons; 2 flags (can be bandanas or other); field lining paint; buckets, trash cans; or large coolers 1/4 filled with water to put the balloons into; flag football flags (optional); garbage can lids or the like for shields (optional); referee shirts; whistles; garbage bag for cleanup.
Setup: You will need lots of time to fill up enough water balloons. One idea it to send each student home with a pack of water balloons to fill up and bring to the game with them. You will need to create a mid-field line and end lines using field liner, a long rope, or similar.
How to Play:
Divide into 2 teams. Put a bandana or similar behind each endline. Teams are defending the flag as in Capture the Flag. Each team has some players playing offense and some playing defense. Offensive players are trying to score by running into enemy territory, grabbing the flag and returning to their territory with it. These players are safe when they cross the endline of enemy territory or when they are in their own territory. If using flag football flags, when a player takes a direct hit (not splash) one flag is removed. When they are hit a second time, their second flag is removed. Once both flags have been removed, they are no longer allowed to cross into enemy territory, and must stay on their side and play defense. Repeat game as many times are desired. Referees will have to determine “fresh” hits for ensuing games.
Websites for Great Game Resources
Further the Conversation: Comment …
- What are some unique rules at your camp?
- Which rules do kids give you the hardest time about?
- What do parents think about your camp rules? How do you handle parent push back?
Further the Conversation: Comment …
- What is your camp policy on cell phones and media? Do you agree or disagree? Why?