This hilarious & meaningful Campaigners tradition is shared by Tom O'Neill, a volunteer leader in Sammamish, WA.
For any fan of the TV show "The Office" you'll recognize this Campaigners tradition as inspired by Michael Scott's shenanigans. I was recently watching an episode of "The Dundies," an annual office award show. Michael Scott hosts the show and gives out awkward/hilarious awards while wearing a tuxedo.
That immediately made me think "this is pretty much a Young Life camp last dinner award show." With that "light bulb" moment, "The Campies" were born, a fusion of “The Dundies” and a camp program awards show. It’s a great way to cap off the school year with your Campaigners.
I invited all of my campaigner guys to attend the 1st Annual Campies and instructed them that the dress code was "unnecessarily formal." My co-leader, Warren, and I spent the morning of The Campies writing awards for each of our Campaigner guys. Many of them were inside jokes that had been developed over the years or happened in Campaigners that year (ex. “Better Late Than Never”, “Last Man Standing”, or “I’m a Lover not a Fighter.”)
Others were more serious, such as the coveted "Ironman Award" for the most YL events attended that year. I also always give the "Rookie of the Year" to someone who was new that year and became an integral part of the group. We make toasts (sparkling cider), take pictures looking quite dapper, and laugh a lot. We then talk about some of our favorite moments in Campaigners and what God had taught each of us that year.
This has now become a favorite tradition and something the boys look forward to each May. One of them was crushed when he was beat out for "Ironman" because he had sports conflicts.
A couple tips if you're considering doing something similar:
- Hammer home the dress code and do it big yourself. It makes things more ridiculous and makes the pictures stand out on social media. Kids' friends always wonder what went down at "The Campies" and start asking about it.
- Invite an amateur photographer or just someone with a nice camera to come shoot photos. Go paparazzi with photos as they enter and of course some posed shots.
- Spend a good amount of time writing the awards. Think camp-style: Presented by Inside Joke, Reverse Inside Joke, Program Character #1, Program Character #2 etc. Maybe even get some help from another leader, two minds are often funnier than one.
- Be sensitive to what is funny and what is offensive. An extra laugh is not worth a hurt kid. Err on the safe side and consider the relationship you have with each kid. Find ways to celebrate kids while making light of something ridiculous.
- Get RSVPs ahead of time, so you know who you need to write an award for. I always print a few blank ones in case I need to hand write one last minute too.
Good luck, and go celebrate your Campaigner kids!
Thanks for sharing this great idea Tom! If you have any YL traditions you'd like to pass along, here's how you submit a guest post.