Church camps are places of faith where children and young adults can enjoy the fellowship of their peers and participate in traditional camp games. Typical church camps encourage the study of religion and community while promoting responsibility and teamwork through workshops or activities. Church camps are usually held under a central theme or idea; this can be as simple as basing the camp around a Biblical book or as complex as basing the camp around an ideal or activity.
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Bible Book Theme
Decide on a book of the Bible and use it to theme the church camp. For example, you might consider calling the camp Mark Week or Jude Weekend. Of course, studying an entire book of the Bible along with activities and games is difficult to fit in for just a week or weekend. However, if you take a few chapters that carry a significant moral or religious message, you can use them daily or twice-daily as a 40 minute Bible lesson. Buy a set of small notebooks and pens / pencils to give to the camp goers for their church camp experience. Ask them to carry it with them for the week or weekend and instruct them to write into the notebook whenever something they have seen, heard or experienced relates to the book of the Bible being highlighted. This involves the campers directly with the theme, while making them think about the religious and moral implications of the Biblical book. Use the Tyndale University links in the Resources section for some further information on the books of the Bible.
Rather than focusing entirely on the religious aspects of a church camp, you could base the camp around an activity and keep the moral and ethical lessons as an aside or afterthought. For example, you might consider basing the camp on an activity like singing, something that Crusader Youth Camp tried in 2006. Singing brings the group of children and young adults together in a communal activity and offers organisers the opportunity to integrate the religious themes of the camp by using hymns and psalms. Another activity to consider is a sport. For instance, a church camp based near a lake use a weeklong them of water sports. Similarly, if the camp is located at the base of a mountain, you might consider the theme of the week to be exploration, mountain climbing or orienteering.
Back to Nature Theme
If the church camp children are from the city, ensure that the camp's theme makes the most out of their time with nature and the countryside. The Youth Worker's Station suggests a Back to Nature theme that involves traditional camp and survival activities. This could be anything from building camp fires and erecting tents to chopping wood or singing camp songs. Also, the website suggests choosing a theme that involves enough activities to prevent the camp goers becoming bored or being spectators. Involve the campers. Remember, you can always integrate the religious and moral ideas of the camp with the nature theme.
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