You’ve prayed, raised money, talked to parents, sent packing lists and soon you’re headed to WyldLife camp with your middle school friends. Camp – the place where God can and does “immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine.” (Ephesians 3:20) But what happens when you get home from camp? Kids need to see that you didn’t just love and pursue them to get them to camp. Whether your kids decide to follow Jesus at camp or not, they need to know you still love them and want to spend time with them.
We asked some of our WyldLife experts what camp follow-up looks like with middle school kids:
Host a camp reunion within a day or two of coming home.
Set the dates and locations for the reunion and other follow-ups before you go to camp. Give parents a flier with the details when they drop their kids off and pick them up. Send a reminder email to parents and post the reunion on Instagram for kids. It is important that both parents and kids have the information.
Don’t forget cabin time.
Serve pizza, watch camp videos, jump in the pool and play games at the reunion, but set aside 20 minutes for cabin time. Share a short lesson and then split into groups to talk about it. Or consider giving kids 10 minutes alone to read a Scripture passage before meeting with their cabins to discuss.
Get together once a week.
Transportation and schedules can make daily camp follow-up difficult. Instead, gather weekly with your campers. The time can include snacks and an activity before a short lesson and cabin time. Middle school kids have short attention spans so the games and activities are a must.
Spend time with kids.
If a weekly gathering isn’t a good option, find other ways to continue building relationships with kids from your cabin. Schedule time with kids to grab lunch, play Frisbee or sit by the pool.
Invite kids to church.
If kids don’t already attend church, invite them to come with you. Be sensitive to middle school kids who already go to church with their families. Encourage them to go and hear things differently.
Spend time with new believers.
Middle school kids can and will make decisions to follow Christ, and they need your help as they start that journey at home. Because they are concrete thinkers, a “quiet time” may be difficult to grasp. Give kids an age-appropriate devotional book with Scripture to read and questions to answer.
Get parents involved.
Ask parents to find locations for your camp follow-up, bring snacks or drive carpool. If their kids had a great week at camp, parents may be excited about making sure WyldLife happens in the summer and next fall.
There may be no time of year when kids are more excited about WyldLife and Jesus. Don’t miss the opportunity to help them experience the community and life they found at camp back at home. Good camp follow-up can lead to great ministry in the fall.
Written by Julie Clapp.