Wednesday, June 19, 2019

The Most Helpful Ways To Prepare for Being a Leader at a Young Life Camp

You are getting ready to take your friends on the trip of their lifetime. You've promised them the best week of their lives. You're praying and fundraising and preparing every way you know how! 

Whether you are a first-time leader going to camp or a seasoned veteran, below are some of our most helpful articles to get you ready for camp!

30 Items Leaders Can Pack for Camp

The Complete Guide to a YL'd Bus Ride

WyldLife Camp Follow-Up

New Leader Survival Guide

Bus Trivia Questions

Table Questions for Meals at Camp

Making the Most of Free Time at Camp

How To Lead Cabin Time 

Camp Follow-Up

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Summer Reading Giveaway: Winners

Thank you to all who entered our Summer Reading Giveaway

Our Grand Prize Winner, who won a copy of each of the ten books, is Derek Walne! Congratulations Derek! 

Our 90 winners are listed below with the book that they won! You should be receiving your new book within the next few weeks to the address you included in your entry!  Thank you again to each of the authors who each graciously donated 10 books for this giveaway! 

Tons of wisdom from a seasoned Young Life veteran. Reading this book will make you want to spend more time with Jesus.

David DeLozier 
Kaylin Mathes
Joel Newbury
Trey Trent
Raygan Hall
McKenna Swindell
Jordan Graydon
Emily Zapata
John Webster
A practically helpful guide for any graduate who is entering the world of adulthood. 

Alex Vasquez
Brad Scandrett
David Wegman
Quinten Ncube
Camden Belinko
Leah Metzger
Jake Schwab
Kevin Dorman
Kim McElreath
A vulnerable look into the world of a Super Bowl Champion and Young Life leader.

Caleb Burchett
Louise Thomas
Patrick Meehan
Tucker Been
Hayden Regitz
Rosalia Jeon
Angie Polejewski
Brody Clarke
Debbi Hobart
A 20-day primer that will lead you deeper in Christ this summer.

Jordan Gilbert
MacLaine Birch
Jackson Ducote
Kahlil Glenn
Mark Kirgis
Brooke Christopherson
Dylan Birkett
Kassi Brown
Rob Johnston
Go through the Gospel of Mark in 30 days. A helpful tool to use with kids after they come home from camp.

Andrew McMillan
Amy Nielson
Jen Payne
Brooke Allen
Rob van Mourik
Erin Buddig
Emma Boardman
Matt Siebert
Jackson Leach
A unique guide to prayer with out-of-the-box suggestions and thought-provoking imagery. 

Alex Medlin
Beeb Gerlicher
Trey Ridge
Rachel Saltarelli
Caleb McCombie
Jeremiah Grooms
Madeleine Williams
Katie Carter
Gerardo Guerra
A true story of hope from a Young Life veteran. Encouragement for any of you who feel like you're facing burnout.

Tabitha Boothe
Amanda Wells
Riley Korf
Nathan Hunt
Bubba Ivey
Cody Sanders
Katie Vahle
Jeremy Engle
Magdalene Jacobs

Teach Us To Pray by Jim Branch
A reflective journey through the Psalms from the author of The Blue Book

Devon Messick
Wyn Pobletts
Terykah Hollis
Sean Raimando
Amy Hurd
Rudy Aleman
Miranda Bilello
Patrick Flint
Liam Lambert

A collection of true stories along with Scripture applications and questions from one of Young Life's best story-tellers.

Stephanie Marquez
Chelsey Gravseth
Justin Friel
Klariza Lynn
Jake Landon
Heather Faulkner
Alejandro Maldonado
Braden Sydor
David Koch

Prayers and journal entries from a Young Life leader who recently passed away. Encouragement for anyone facing suffering or loss.

Erin Long
Hailey Stulp
Jeffrey Chambers
Claire Simon
Andrew Cates
Loma Steele
Megan Kelley
Riese Chatfield
Briana Bourgeois

Sunday, June 16, 2019

Spiritual Disciplines of a Leader: Eliminating Hurry

This is part 2 of our summer series, The Spiritual Disciplines of a Leader. 

Have you ever felt like you keep saying "I don't have enough time?" Me too.

I was reading The Blue Book where Jim Branch records a conversation between Dallas Willard and John Ortberg that rocked me.

“Not long after moving to Chicago, I called a wise friend to ask for some spiritual direction. I described the pace of life in my current ministry. The church where I serve tends to move at a fast clip. I also told him about our rhythms of family life: we are in the van-driving, soccer-league, piano-lesson, school-orientation-night years. I told him about the present condition of my heart, as best I could discern it. What did I need to do, I asked him, to be spiritually healthy?
Long pause.
‘You must ruthlessly eliminate hurry from your life,’ he said at last.
Another long pause.
‘Okay, I've written that one down,’ I told him, a little impatiently. ‘That's a good one. Now, what else is there?’ I had many things to do, and this was a long-distance call, so I was anxious to cram as many units of spiritual wisdom into the least amount of time possible. Another long pause.
‘There is nothing else,’ he said. ‘You must ruthlessly eliminate hurry from your life.’”
The idea of ruthlessly eliminating hurry from my life was more than just a good thought; I wanted to actually try it. So I did.

I cut out “I don’t have time for _____” from my thinking. When it popped up, I would counter with “All I have is time.” Time is the best gift we have, and we can’t take it for granted. Little shifts in our everyday thinking can lead to bigger changes than we expect!

I practiced ruthlessly eliminating hurry, but I still needed more to help me be a healthy person. I needed other spiritual disciplines that could help me stay grounded and hopeful in the highs, lows, and everyday life.

Hurry was eliminated, but I found myself juggling a full-time job, full-time graduate school, and being a Young Life leader. And man, was I exhausted! I could check out and watch a movie or sleep in on weekends, but nothing helped me feel truly rested. I was burned out, emotionally and spiritually.

Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.” - Matthew 11:28-30 (The Message)
Jesus invites us to take time to get away, to recover, to take a real rest. Unforced rhythms of grace? Living freely and lightly? I want that!

If you feel the same way, you’ll want to check back here as we give you a few resources on building a “spiritual toolbox” with different practices to help us connect with God and each other in deeper ways.

Want to put this into practice right away? 
Start noticing when you feel rushed or overwhelmed in life. Eliminate that sense of hurry, and ask God to help you focus on the person or situation in front of you.

What spiritual practices are helping you or healing you right now? Leave a comment below or email us here.

Written by Camber McKenzie.

Camber McKenzie is a volunteer Young Life leader in Steamboat Springs, CO, and has an MBA from Regent University. She gets excited about books, impromptu dance parties, and doing anything outdoors.

Friday, June 14, 2019

How To Do Camp Follow Up by Susan Nixon

If you’ve ever led at a week-long summer camp, you know the exhaustion, both mentally and physically of the ride home. It feels like you’re crossing the finish line of a year investing in students and reveling in what the Lord has done. Not to mention… a long bus ride with kids who are passing their candy wrappers to you and asking when the next bathroom stop is. Leading at camp is truly a labor of love.

Years ago, sitting in a leaders' meeting at camp, I heard a Head Leader share that "the end of camp is just the beginning."

I thought, what?! No way! We’ve been talking about this trip all year, it’s the finish line, right? I was wrong.

A great summer camp trip is just the beginning of the next year of ministry, and when we view it that way, camp follow-up becomes much more valuable and important.

So what does it look like to walk alongside students as you return home from The Best Week of Your Life?

Every area looks different in the summer, but not having a post-camp plan is truly a let down to kids, dare I even say irresponsible.

If your area has mostly college-aged leaders who go home for the summer, and just return for a week of camp, it can be challenging. Could you mentally extend the week of camp by two days and encourage volunteer leaders to stick around, staying with staff or committee families, to meet with kids for a first few days after you've arrived home?

If you do have the leadership available to you as you return home, I would encourage you to simply keep meeting with kids who went to camp.

Here are some ideas:
  • 1-2 days after camp, start meeting in the mornings at the Young Life office, a student’s home, a local coffee shop or a restaurant. Don’t make it so early in the morning that kids miss it by sleeping in, but 9am-11am is a good range for kids in the summer.Meet by cabins, or by schools and huddle around a booth or table and continue to have cabin times.
  • Model what it looks like to spend time alone with the Lord. You could use books like My First 30 Quiet Times (you can buy this at the camp store, or order online when you get home), Mark in a Month, or another devotional that you have personally vetted. The goal is to get kids in the Word daily and meeting together.
  • Meet weekly for summer Campaigners (starting the first week back). Maybe your area needs to do one big Campaigner group post-camp because you don’t have enough leaders, and that’s okay! The kids who just spent a week of their life together at camp will love to be together again. This is a great time to lead a discussion of what it looks like to follow Jesus at home. Help walk kids through scripture, encourage them to bring a Bible and a notebook, to ask questions and to be reading on their own.
  • Host a Post Camp Party/Gathering. Get creative! Do you have access to a neighborhood pool? A community center or clubhouse? Use a neutral location that appeals to every kid on the trip. If the venue space allows it, invite parents and families to join in the fun. We like to show a new video or slideshow that hasn’t been shared on social media yet, to entice families to come and see a part of camp. If you have parents there, have a separate time with them where you share the vision of being involved in YL as an adult (committee, banquet table sponsor, cooking a meal for leaders, etc). It’s a great time to engage with parents because they have just seen their son or daughter have an amazing experience. With high school kids, our aim is to reconnect after camp, relive memories and figure out the next time we will all be together.

In an ideal world, every leader would return home from camp and be able to connect with kids in their cabin daily or a few times a week. But, that’s not always realistic. Leaders leave town, have internships, jobs, not to mention, the kids who have volleyball camps, sports practices, 4th of July trips and on and on. Let’s not let those factors cause us to fail to plan an effective post-camp strategy or simply offering meeting times with kids as they return home. Even if you took 55 of your friends to camp, and 10 show up for morning meetings at Panera, it’s worth it to invest in those students who are hungry to learn more.

Share the Details
Whatever you plan, I'd encourage you to share with your team of leaders, your committee, and most importantly the kids on your trip! During camp, we will mail a postcard to parents with the details of the Post Camp party and follow up plan, so parents know what is to come after camp. As kids walk off the bus, we hand them a paper filled with all the details of our post-camp plans. Make this information easy for kids to obtain. Don’t depend on social media and cabin group texts- make it known even while you’re still at camp in your area meeting.

Whatever you do, just plan to keep meeting with kids after camp. Let us follow the model that Jesus set before to simply spend time with each other.

Here are some Post-Camp Resources you can download and borrow, including graphics, "Camp Follow Up Party" Invite, "Parent Bus Flyer", and Campaigners Invite.

Written by Susan Nixon.

Susan is the Area Director for Young Life in Rowan County, NC. She is a leader at Salisbury High School (Go Hornets!). Susan grew up in Westerville, OH, was a volunteer leader while at Ohio State University, before joining the Young Life staff in Annapolis, MD. She has lived and led in Salisbury for the last nine years. She is married to Kenton, who is a teacher, and they are expecting their first baby, a boy, in August. 

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

An Easy, Fun Game for the Summer

Need an easy, fun game for the summer?

Place three tables with a watermelon on each table along with a couple hundred rubber bands. Place the watermelon in a wide base, like a bowl to keep the watermelon standing securely. 

To play the game, have two lines per table on either side of the table. As a pair or a team of two, they approach the table, grab a rubber band and stretch it out before they got to the watermelon and placed it around the watermelon.  After they did this they peeled to the back of the line kinda like the Virginia real square dance.

Watch it in action here

Written by Robb Schreiber. 

Robb Schreiber, a graduate of the University of Oregon, has lead WyldLife for 20 years. He is currently on WyldLife Staff in San Diego  and is the Southwest divisional WyldLife coordinator.

Tuesday, June 11, 2019

How To Lead Cabin Time

Cabin time is one of the highlights of a week at Young Life camp. If you've never led cabin time before or if you're just feeling nervous as you prepare to do it again, below are some ideas that will help guide you along with some cabin time questions you might ask.


Meet With Your AD
Be intentional about your training. Meet with your Area Director/staff person or another experienced leader and ask them how to lead cabin time. Experience is the best teacher.

Prepare for a Marathon
You wouldn't go into the Olympics without training before you got there. A week at YL camp is going to feel like a marathon, physically and spiritually. Get physical and spiritual rest. Be with Jesus. Cast your cares and fears upon Him.

Earn the Right to be Heard
Once you have spread mulch, washed cars, and sold doughnuts with kids to help them raise $ for camp, they are much more likely to listen to what you have to say. My pre-algebra teacher had a sign on her desk that said, "People don't care what you know, until they know that you care." Spend time BEFORE you get to camp earning the right to be heard.


Connect With A Head Leader
Head leaders serve on the assigned team to help you. If you feel overwhelmed, don't be afraid to ask one of them to come and sit in your cabin time with you.

Set Group Rules With Your Cabin
  1. Everyone sits on the floor in a circle. No one on their bunks. It’s too easy to fall asleep and when folks are on different levels it makes it hard to look one another in the eye.
  2. What's said in cabin time stays in cabin time. We want this to be a safe place and not a starting place for gossip.  Protect kids. Stand up for them. Sharing honestly could leave them vulnerable to laughter, ridicule, and shame.
  3. Respect one another. When someone is talking, don't interrupt. I use a pair of clean, balled up socks. When you're holding the socks, you can talk. When you get done talking, you toss the socks to someone else.
Facilitate Conversation
Our job as leaders isn't to use the cabin time to give another talk. Listen more than you speak. Don't fear the silence. Be patient. Invite everyone into the conversation.Try to open cabin time with a question that everyone can answer. Get folks involved who might otherwise just sit silently.

Take Notes
I have a pocket-sized red notebook I carry with me everywhere at camp. I take notes during the club talk and during cabin time. I tell my cabin on night 1 that I'm taking notes because I want to be able to remember everything.  It's super helpful to write things down that we're said in cabin time so you can follow up later with specific kids. I also use the notebook throughout the following school year to help me pray for kids.

Individually Prep Kids
If there are kids in your cabin who have been to camp before, pull them aside before cabin time and ask them to 'hold back' and not give 'all the answers.'  Ask kids who are following Christ to help you facilitate the time by chiming in appropriately.

Listen to the Holy Spirit
Your camp speaker will likely give you great questions to use in cabin time. Don't feel obligated to use all of them, they are just a guideline. Listen to the Holy Spirit and let Him guide your time. Don't stress if you feel like cabin time isn't what you had hoped. It's not your job to 'manipulate' kids, just create a safe place, set the tone, and trust the Holy Spirit to lead.

Read the Room
Ask the Lord to give you an awareness of what's going on 'behind the scenes' with the kids in your cabin. Some of them are probably dealing with heavy stuff. On Night 1, it's ok to let the cabin time be brief and no super deep. After the cross talk on night 5, there will be some kids who want to have a four-hour cabin time and some that don't want to talk at all. Be aware of how the conversation is going. It is okay to end cabin time and ask a few individual kids if they would like to keep meeting.

The Rephrase Tactic
Often kids will go silent if you ask a direct question about them. Ex: 'What is the biggest temptation you personally face?'  If you simply rephrase the question, for example,  'What do you think are some of the biggest temptations people your age face?' they will be more likely to speak up.

Tell Me More
If a kid cracks open a door to their heart, be sensitive. And when it's appropriate, ask them to tell you more. The simple phrase 'tell me more about that' will give kids permission to go deeper.

The 10 Best Questions

Follow your camp speaker's lead as to when certain questions should be asked. Below are some of the best questions that have led to deep discussions in our cabin times in the past.

  1. What do you do to be noticed?  (Rephrased: What do your friends do to be noticed?)
  2. How would your friends describe you?
  3. What emotions describe you these days? (Frustrated, lonely, confused, etc.)
  4. Describe your best day.
  5. Describe your worst day.
  6. What is your relationship with your parents like?
  7. Finish the sentence, "Jesus, don't you care that..."
  8. What have you done to deserve a relationship with God?
  9. How has your picture of Jesus changed this week?
  10. What is keeping you from believing and following Jesus?