Summer is just around the corner, which means that it’s time to plan youth camp. This is where kids create bonds of friendship while learning not only about God, but also about themselves. This puts pressure on planners to try to figure out what attendees will like, while keeping it inspiring and educational.
One of the best ways to make a memorable experience is by using a theme. Tailoring all of the events and messages to one topic helps it make more of an impact on participants. For that reason, the theme should be one of the first decisions made after “We are going on a retreat.” Some tips for picking a theme are:
Make it relatable - Choosing a topic that kids can use in their own lives helps the message resonate with them and keeps them engaged.
Keep it simple – Make the topic something that is easy for them to remember. If you can’t explain the message in a sentence or two, pick a different one.
Repeat it – Use the theme everywhere. Make sure it comes up in each activity, meeting, and marketing material. This will help it stick.
Visualize it – Most kids don’t have a very long attention span. Make sure to have plenty of visual material or activities to keep them engaged. Videos and movement are a lot more interesting than simply listening to someone talk.
Let them help – Sometimes adults forget what it’s like to be a kid and may not be up-to-date on what’s “cool”. Asking attendees what they want will not only make sure they will like it, but also lets them know that they have a voice and can lead to them wanting to become more involved.
I can’t write about how to choose a camp theme without giving at least a few ideas. So, here are two lists with some great topics to help get you started: 15 Epic Youth Camp Themes and 10 Best Summer Youth Camp Themes of 2014.