Tuesday, June 26, 2012

RETHINKING camp for high school students

Our team here at Relevant Student Ministry is rethinking lots of different aspects of student ministry and one of those issues revolve around camp during the summer. Reaching teens in high school has become more and more difficult for us. Jobs, athletics, academic camps, family vacations, and band pull on so many of the high school students we reach during the year. It's not that they don't want to go to camp it's that they can't get away or choose not leave their summer commitments. Many times they have coaches, bosses, and family pushing them not to go to camp for many different reasons. Our middle school camp continues to grow while our high school camp has remained flat for three years even thought we are reaching more high school students during the school year than we ever have. We have finally realized we have to reformat what we do for high school students during the summer and we are ready to mix things up this coming summer. We are ready to do our own high school camp but give it a different spin with different goals. We are going to reformat our camp experience for high school students so we can...
  • Take every small group leader with us to camp >> By doing our own camp for high school students we will now be able to bring every high school small group leader. Small group leaders will get to work toward camp all year and we love that idea of ending the year with groups at camp!
  • Make space for true small group time >> We have not found a camp that allows to block the proper time and have the proper space for small groups...now we will make it happen every day of camp. Small group is the main thing in our ministry and camp needs to continue that push.
  • Control content >> When you control content on stage and in small groups you have a better shot at communicating a specific message to your teens. We are ready to take on this aspect of camp. We already do this in middle school and we are ready to hit a different audience with high school students.
  • Move the focus to mission work during the afternoons >> We are not taking camp to the mountains or the beach, we are taking camp to a city so we can serve the needs of the city and make an impact. Mission work transforms all of us from the inside out. We are changing the focus from entertainment to service.
  • Control the date >> We think this may be the most needed change. We have to control the week in order to reach the teens we want to reach. Doing our own camp will help us make that happen.
  • Maximize the budget >> We have found that we can better control the cost of our camps when we do our own camp. Sure we add more work but we also have less overhead than many camps across the country doing amazing things. Our camp does not have to make any profit, just break even!
  • Define the win >> If we are going to do camp in the summer we want to make sure we aim for a specific target so we can all understand what a win is for high school camp week. When we control the schedule, content, and focus we can work toward a set target every year!


  1. Great thoughts. I've been trying to think of how to make camp happen for our high school students and this will be s great starting point.

  2. Ray, glad it helped!! Thanks for serving teens!