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.”