Take Camp On The Road

It is a Sunday afternoon in July. Members of the church await the arrival of the day-camp team. Together, they will prepare the church space for the campers who will arrive Monday morning.

Craft time

Long before this afternoon, the camp and the congregational members worked together to recruit campers, train leaders, and develop a meaningful program.

By the end of the week, when parents attend a closing program, the 20 day campers will have cooked s’mores, made bird feeders, learned Bible stories, sung “Baby Shark” more times than they can count, played games, and made friends.

This traveling program offers to a church-related camp an opportunity to partner with congregations to bring a day-camp experience to local children. Both the camp and the congregation make a contribution to the partnership and share a sense of success at the end of the week.

With this partnership, the camp provides staff members, all program materials and risk-management plans; the church provides an outdoor location with access to shelter, bathrooms, water and a telephone. The congregation agrees to designate a coordinator and/or planning committee to work with camp staff in the months prior to day camp. Designated people within the congregation also agree to be present during camp to support the staff. The church provides hospitality for staff by making lunch and arranging housing if the church is more than 60 miles from camp.

Marketing And Sponsorship

This day-camp program is among many offered by the camp, and is therefore subject to the same operation guidelines defining any other camp program.

The planning for day camp begins in the fall with an invitation for churches to participate the following summer. A camp representative arranges to meet with the church’s day-camp committee. At that meeting, the representative describes the program and the responsibilities of the congregation. Congregations can provide input about the ages the day camp will serve based on their demographics, and decide whether they want to contribute a portion of the camper fee.

Based on that information, the camp develops marketing brochures, public-relations strategies, flyers, etc.. for the congregations to use to recruit campers. Registration, however, is handled by the camp registrar who responds directly to the campers, but keeps congregations aware who has registered. The fees are paid into the camp account.

During the spring months, in addition to registration, the camp develops the program elements, hires and trains a day-camp director and counselors, updates the risk-management plan, and purchases supplies. The day-camp director arranges for transportation, keeps track of paperwork, and stays in contact with the congregational coordinator.

Program

The program provides a unique opportunity for camps to interpret the camp experience to churches. For many in congregations, the first thing that comes to mind when someone mentions day camp is vacation Bible school. Churches often misunderstand the intent of day camp and its difference from vacation Bible school. Since one of the goals of traveling day camp is to offer an experience to campers at a church setting, it is important to distinguish these two programs.

On the road to camp

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