Archive for November, 2012

Nov

30

2012

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Sticky Vocabulary: How to Lead with your Language

As a leader, your vocabulary will quickly become sticky. Often, you don’t even realize you are leading with your language. However, our words become the words of those we lead. Here in the CentriKid office, we have picked up quite a bit of vocabulary from one another!

How does this happen?
You’ve heard it said that the people you lead will find important the things you find important. The same goes for vocabulary. These people will use the words you use, even when you don’t necessarily make an effort to use particular words. Try it out. Listen to the talk of those you lead, and see how many words came from your own vocabulary.

What are the benefits?
People you lead will soon begin talking the things you find important. It’s incredibly rewarding to look around and hear your vision being cast by others and hear individuals picking up on your organization’s values. Keep speaking the language you want others to hear, know, and speak themselves.

What are the drawbacks?
Watch what you say. Sticky vocabulary can be not only positive, but negative as well. Listen to yourself as you criticize, tell inside jokes, put others down, or use inappropriate humor. Each word you say is heard by someone, and that someone might just pick up their leader’s vocabulary.

What now?
Keep your mission and values in front of you. Remind yourself what you want to say often, and then start saying those things. Listen to your followers. When you hear vocabulary you don’t like or you don’t believe matches up with the vision, change it. Call it out. Start encouraging a different kind of vocabulary. Remember that sticky doesn’t just go away either, it’s here to stay!

Meredith Teasley

Meredith studied at Samford University and Beeson Divinity School. She worked camp for 8 years, then served in full-time children's ministry in Virginia before joining our team in January 2009.

Nov

29

2012

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Christmas Game – Play OMC Christmas Edition

LifeWay Kids has a blog dedicated to helping children’s workers, and yesterday on the Kids Ministry 101 blog, Meredith wrote about the special edition Christmas tasks to add to the Official OMC Game!

 

Get your Official OMC game kit if you don’t have one, and download the FREE Christmas tasks from centrikid.com/omc.

 

We love to hear how it works at your church, and if you have pictures, please post them on the CentriKid Facebook wall.

Jeremy Echols

JE leads the camp team, finds new camp locations, plans training, and lots of other projects. He loves spending family time with his wife Emily and their daughter Madison.

Nov

28

2012

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3 Games to Help Kids Work Together

#1.  “I’m Puzzled”  Requires partners or groups of 3.  One partner is blindfolded and will be completing a task, while the other can see and give instructions, but may not touch any of the puzzle pieces.

Goal: Partners to work cooperatively to complete a puzzle.  They take turns working – one blindfolded and one not.  You can determine when the partners will alternate- every 60 seconds, after successfully connecting 4 pieces, etc.

Variations: This game could be used with separate tasks or as stations in a rotation. Try having blindfolded partners coloring in the lines, cutting simple shapes from poster board, tying a shoe, moving an item from one place to the other, etc.  You could even try asking one partner to lead the blindfolded partner to a certain location!

#2  “Three-Legged Sports”  A variety of “normal” games can be modified using connecting partners by their legs.

Goal: Participants are challenged to communicate and coordinate their movements together. This reinforces teamwork, listening, and communication.  Being connected will require practice in order to field a ball, catch, throw, and score.  Try games like kickball, volleyball, basketball, and Frisbee games.

Connecting players is important to the game, but help keep kids safe.  Players will likely fall at times, so a loose bandana tied around their legs should suffice. Be sure not to cut off circulation and make sure the playing field is relatively level!

#3  “Circular Logic” All members of the group are connected by holding hands or by holding the edges of a bandana.

Goal: Complete tasks while connected as a group.  Some tasks are more physically challenging than others, but all require the group to communicate and work together.

To begin, have everyone remove their shoes and place them in a pile before joining hands.  They must stay connected and work to put on and tie their shoes.  When they finish, have them try a few of the following.  You can arrange tasks in any order depending on space.

  • navigate up & down stairs
  • go through doors
  • have each team member get a drink of water from the fountain
  • go over/around certain objects  (low-level playground equipment, table, benches, etc.)
  • accumulate objects (collect 6 basketballs, etc. and continue the initiative while maintaining control of them)

After playing these games, groups will be able to discuss the challenges they encountered and how they worked together.

Jeremy Echols

JE leads the camp team, finds new camp locations, plans training, and lots of other projects. He loves spending family time with his wife Emily and their daughter Madison.

Second Graders are Coming to CentriKid

 


Second graders are now invited to join the Yellow Team at CentriKid weekend camps in 2013!

Over the years, we’ve had several churches request to bring second graders to camp, and we think it’s a great idea.

As we considered the possibilities of second graders coming to camp, we consulted our staff that have taught yellow team and occasionally had a second grader on their teams. The insight we got from them was encouraging and made us eager to try this out! Check out these quotes from staff about second graders at camp:

“I can’t imagine a swarm of second graders playing OMC. It will be quite entertaining but good because when they return, the third graders will be seasoned veterans!” –Carson Albritton

“…They become acclimated to camp as quickly as the third graders and provide innocent insight into Bible study.” –Samantha Allen

“All the second graders I’ve led at CentriKid have come during weekend camps. I think it’s the perfect taste of camp for them!” –Garrett Carter

“The second grader on my team was one of the most excited campers of the week and allowed my whole Bible study to have more energy.” –Jennifer Hatley

“This summer, we had a precious yellow teamer named Kate that was actually a second grader. Kate was obviously a lot smaller than the other kids, but she had a big heart. She loved camp, did really well, and was a huge blessing to our entire staff that week. We all still remember Kate.” –Will Ward

For 2013, we are asking that second graders only come to weekend camp. The three-day, two-night structure will give them an awesome camp experience without overwhelming them. There will now be a “2nd grade” option to select on participant lists, so be sure to make note of each second grader when you turn those in this summer.

We are excited about this change and want you all to get excited as well! We hope that you will partner with us as we seek to offer a life-changing camp experience to even wider range of campers in 2013.



Nov

23

2012

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10 Ways to Appreciate Volunteers

Words can never quite explain the importance of volunteers, but we must never become complacent in trying to show them just how thankful we are.

Here are the 10 ways we can show volunteers our appreciation throughout the year:

1. Keep them in the loop! Give them frequent updates on new events or activities you are planning. When they see that you are including them in even the small details of your ministry, they will get excited about working toward the same goal as you.

2. Ask for feedback. Brainstorm with them to come up with solutions to problems and creative ways to become a more effective ministry.

3. Write thank-you notes. This is a simple task that can really impact the person receiving the note. Point out specific reasons you’re thankful for them and something you saw them do exceptionally well. They’ll be encouraged and ready to continue serving.

4. Have informal get-togethers! Invite them to your house for dinner or ask them to lunch. Don’t settle for a work-only relationship but get to know them personally.

5. Recognize birthdays and special events!

6. Surprise them with their favorite snack on random days to show your appreciation goes beyond special events.

7. Let them design a volunteer t-shirt. This gives them a sense of ownership in the ministry, and let’s them feel like they are part of something bigger than themselves.

8. Recognize them in front of the church. Let everyone know just how much the volunteers do and just how important they are.

9. Have a Christmas party and give them gifts of appreciation. Personalize the gifts—don’t give every volunteer the exact same thing.

10. Take photographs of them volunteering. Post the pictures on Facebook or a bulletin board at church. Let them and others see the impact they are making in your ministry and the lives of kids.



How to Teach Kids to be Thankful All Year

Thanksgiving is a wonderful time to focus on things we are thankful for and a great way to get kids sharing about what they appreciate.  As I’ve wondered how to teach my own daughter an attitude of gratefulness, I’ve begun asking people how to instill this value.

I asked several mothers, grandmothers, and teachers how they encourage their kids to be grateful, and the stories they shared were heart-warming.  The bottom line is that they did more than just tell their kids to be thankful…

1 – Prompt & repeat. Teach your kids to say “thank you” at an early age, and be diligent to remind them when they forget.  Spending time with kids gives adults the opportunity to guide their behavior and attitudes.

2 – Model the way. Children notice the example set for them by the influences in their lives.  Kids benefit when they see a parent express thanks or write a note of appreciation.

3 – Encourage them to serve. One mom shares that by getting her kids into opportunities to serve others, they learned how it felt to serve ungrateful people and how it felt when people were grateful for what they did.

4 – Don’t give everything they want.  When kids have to earn things, they are more likely to be grateful and appreciative.

5 – Celebrate the special occasions.  If going out to eat is a special occurrence, then make a point to talk about how special it is.  When cooking a favorite meal, make a point to discuss how it is done with love and care. By drawing attention to special things, we can show kids that it is “special” instead of something they are “entitled to”.

6 – Pray with your kids.  Thanksgiving is an essential aspect of prayer and by allowing the kids you influence to hear you talk to the Lord, they will see your heart and begin to take on that same spirit.

7 – Teach them to tithe.  Tithing and giving offerings back to the Lord is not just a ritual or discipline.  Tithing puts our hearts in a position of gratitude for what the Lord had done.

It is clear that you don’t have to be a parent to teach kids to be thankful. Whatever your role, use your influence in the life of children to encourage a grateful heart– more than just at the Thanksgiving holiday!

Jeremy Echols

JE leads the camp team, finds new camp locations, plans training, and lots of other projects. He loves spending family time with his wife Emily and their daughter Madison.

Nov

19

2012

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Reasons We Love the New CentriKid.com!

You asked and we listened! We are beyond excited to see the launch of the new centrikid.com based on all the things we’ve heard from you! Let us share with you some of our favorite new features:

1. Everything is now all in one place. You can find info for camp, get registered, and read our blog all right here! Plus, commenting on our blog posts is easier than ever!

 

2. It’s super easy to navigate! Anything you’re looking for can be found in the drop-down menus across the top. There’s also a footer running across the bottom of every page for simple navigation and links to our social media always at the top.

3. It’s easy to get fun new downloads and promotional resources by clicking on “downloads” at the top menu bar. Be on the lookout for fun new videos, 2013 music, and other great tools you can use in your ministry.

4. One of our very favorite new features is that there is now a page for every location at camp! Learn more about your location, see photos, get the mailing address, and even see what we love about the campus! Check back here in January for current Group Leader Information and be on the look out for information regarding your 2013 camp director!

5. It looks great! Be sure to continue to give us feedback and stay in touch with us. The new contact page makes asking questions and sending ideas even simpler than ever. We look forward to continuing to serve you to the best of our ability, so let us know how we can help!

 

Laura Register

Laura graduated from the University of Georgia with a degree in Counseling and Human Development Services, focusing on Recreation Management. She began working for CentriKid in the summer of 2010 and joined the office staff in 2012.

How to Create Object Lessons for Kids Ministry

A few weeks ago, we talked about how we “grow” in the Lord… We discussed listening to God, praying, reading the Bible – and talked about how those things help us to grow. This is like when you drop grow capsules into water. Without the water, the capsules don’t do anything. The capsules only grow when water is added. We only grow when the Holy Spirit teaches us through the Bible, prayer, other wise people, etc. (These are a ton of fun to put in a large vase with a ton of capsules!)

 

Object lessons are powerful for kids. Kids are very visual and remember stories. An object lesson is when you relate something a child may see every day to their walk with the Lord.

Here’s the way that our staff learn to do this at camp:
1. Someone selects an object. This can be anything. It may be a billboard, a traffic light, a blanket, a salt shaker, a boiled egg, a swimming pool, a bird, a ring, a pair of glasses, etc.
2. Ask someone to tell you how it relates to their spiritual life.

For instance – A ring is a picture of a marriage, just like baptism is a picture of our new life in Christ. A pair of glasses brings clarity to your vision, just like Scripture brings clarity to the way to live our lives.

When you begin from a text, here’s a way you can develop object lessons:
1. Ask, “What is the main idea?”
2. Ask, “What objects might connect to the main idea in the way that it is used? Could I modify the way something looks or is used to make the point? Is there a way to write on something, tear up something, or talk about what an object DOESN’T do that would be helpful?
3. Make sure that I am focusing in on the text and not on the illustration. The main goal is for kids to walk away with a concept, not a cool experiment.

Cheat sheet: Here are a few subjects to get you started: -think on these things
-flee from sin
-love others like Jesus did
-Jesus was perfect, but we are not
-fruits of the Spirit
-forgiveness, honesty, temptation, obedience, etc.

Helpful hint: Begin a document now of object lessons you randomly think of or that you use. You never know when you may need them again.

Mary Carlisle

Mary is a University of Mobile grad, with a BA in English and Theology. She worked with CentriKid Camp starting as a staffer in 2007 and began working in the camp office in 2010. She joined the VBS team in November of 2012.

Nov

16

2012

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Balancing Results and Relationships

Sometimes being a leader is a lot like playing a strategy game. You work to move around all the right pieces at just the right time in hopes of getting the perfect results. Two of the toughest pieces to balance in this game of moving parts can be results and relationships.

When we become too focused on seeing results in our ministry, it’s easy to lose sight of the relational aspect. You’ll never achieve your goals without the help of the people on your team, and who wants to follow a leader who is impersonal? A phrase we echo continually at camp is that we believe ministry happens best through the context of relationships. As a leader, I never want to miss out on the opportunity to get to know those I am working with.

At the end of the day, however, there is still work to be done. If we focus only on building relationships with others, we aren’t leading them well. A leader still needs to be casting vision and driving a team towards their goals. A good leader knows his team well and has a guided plan in place. His team follows him not because he has the title of leader, but out of an overflow of their relationship with him.

So how do we balance working toward results and relationships at the same time? A lot of it comes from perspective. Ask yourself what’s really important to you: What are your goals and how can you motivate your team to accomplish them? Always come prepared as the leader, but never let the details of your business blind you from seeing the needs of your team. Try keeping yourself in check by setting aside specific times just to build relationships with your team or just to work on the details.

What are some ways you balance results and relationships in your ministry?

Laura Register

Laura graduated from the University of Georgia with a degree in Counseling and Human Development Services, focusing on Recreation Management. She began working for CentriKid in the summer of 2010 and joined the office staff in 2012.

Nov

15

2012

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Coming Your Way: CentriKid Update

As the year and the temperature begin to wind down, the CentriKid team is looking forward to the holiday season and a chance to spend time with family and friends. Once the calendar rolls over to 2013, it will only be a few short months before the real “most wonderful time of the year”- That’s right, the summer camp season is approaching quickly, and we are already making plans and preparations for CentriKid 2013!

Here are a few things that you may want to know about camp for 2013:

1. In case you missed it, the theme for CentriKid in 2013 is “Out of This World… Where God is Always with Us.” The key verse is Revelation 21:3, and we’ll be spending time talking all week about God’s plan to be with His people. Our theme will have an outer space motif.

2. Peach is planning to be back and better than ever in 2013. We’re also excited to introduce you to our newest friend, Cooper the Kangaroo! Keep up with what Cooper is doing before camp on Twitter! @CooperKangaroo

3. The CentriKid Camps Worship CD is coming back to camp in 2013. This great resource will have all the music we play in Worship. We typically release info about the songs and music you will hear at camp in the early Spring, so keep your eye on our blog!

4. Like every year, you’ll see some great changes and improvements at camp in 2013. You’ll be seeing improvements in the Camp Store, more fun at Recreation and OMC (could it get any better?), more kids in the tracks they want, and some changes to the Party to name a few. We always make changes based on what you tell us!

5. One thing you can count on NEVER changing is that we will have awesome staff who make it their personal mission to build relationships with your kids and to make sure that everyone at camp has a life-changing encounter with Jesus Christ.

We’re already so excited about CentriKid in 2013 (and ’14!), and we hope you are, too. If you haven’t signed up yet for camp, now is the time– many of our spots at camp are beginning to fill up quickly. Sign up online at www.centrikid.com, or call events registration at 1.877.CAMP.123 (1.877.226.7123). See you there!

Henry Dutton

Henry received a MA in Christian Studies and a BA in English, both from Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary in Wake Forest, NC. He began working for CentriKid in 2008 and joined the office team in 2012.