2015 Camp Prep Series #2: Fundraising

Sometimes raising money for camp can be a daunting task. But with fun ideas to get your church involved, fundraising will be a breeze this year!

1. Give a Little, Get Back a Lot!

Give each kid who is signed up for camp $5 and tell them to see how much money they can make with that $5. They could buy items to make cookies and then sell them to their neighbors. They could buy art supplies and create something. And whatever they make from that $5 goes toward camp. Your kids in your ministry are so talented it will be so amazing to see what all they come up with!

2. Host an Event at your Church

What talents are in your church? Maybe a variety show where all the kids are able to show off their individual talents. Host a pancake dinner with the kids as waiters and waitresses. You could also host a 5K or some type of athletic event that the whole church can get involved in!

3. Cell Phone Recycling

Lots of folks have old cell phones that they are no longer using. Have the kids ministry run a drive for old cell phones. There are quite a few places that you can sell old cell phones for cash and this can be an easy way to raise some money.

4. Sponsorships

Never underestimate asking your congregation to sponsor kids to go to camp. There are many folk who are passionate about camp ministry and the kids in your church and many of them would be glad to donate money so that a child could have a life-changing week at CentriKid!

Don’t let fundraising overwhelm you! There are so many options and I hope that some of these ideas were helpful. Also take a look at some previous posts below with even more fundraising ideas!

Fundraisers to Help You Get to Camp

2014 CentriKid Prep: Fundraising

2013 CentriKid Prep: Fundraising

2012 CentriKid Prep: Fundraising

Tiffany Francis

Tiffany graduated from Georgetown College with a degree in communication and media studies, and received her Master's Degree from Murray State. She has been with Lifeway Kids since 2010 and joined the camp team in 2014 where she works on Bible Study, the camp store, and many other elements.





3 Tips for Using Podcasts to Grow

We believe that spiritual growth is one of the most important things for kids and for leaders in ministry.  We’ve written before about New Year Resolutions that challenge you to grow, spiritual practices that help kids (and adults) grow in their faith, and I’ve written before about my reading plan that includes our “Essential Camp Leadership Reading List”.
Another great way you can grow in your faith journey as well as your professional skills is to plug into some great podcasts.  There are lots of great podcasts available and you can access them on your computer or through a podcast smartphone app.  Here are 3 tips for using podcasts to grow:
1 – Pick things you enjoy – one goal I have is to grow, but I always select podcasts that are actually enjoyable. I have some that are topic-based and some that are personalities I like to hear from.  My favorites are:
  • Andy Stanley Leadership Podcast – 30 minutes, once a month, always leaves me wanting more
  • The EntreLeadership Podcast – by the folks who work with Dave Ramsey
  • Mac Power Users – hosted by 2 fans of Mac computers who give really great tips for productivity and shortcuts
  • Rainer on Leadership – Dr. Thom Rainer from LifeWay
  • Your Move with Andy Stanley – sermon series from this super communicator
  • I also have some entertaining podcasts based on my personal interests that are great to plug in some days for a change.
2 – Subscribe for the updates – you’ll never miss the updates from a regularly delivered podcast.  This is easiest using your phone app — there are several, but my favorite right now is called “Downcast.” It is $2.99 and I like it because you don’t have to sync with iTunes, its easy to skip ahead past ads, and it offers the ability to download the podcast or stream it.  Typically I stream podcasts while driving or working in the garage, but whenever I travel I like to download several podcasts so I’m not stuck in an airplane or a low-coverage area.
3 – Be Selective – just because you subscribe to a handful of podcasts, don’t feel pressured to catch up on every single one of them if you happen to fall behind on listening to them.  Remember that this is something that you are doing to grow and to be entertained… not something to add extra stress to your life!
Podcasts are a great way for me to reclaim the time required by my daily commute.  Hopefully some of these tips for using podcasts will benefit you and I’m sure you’ll discover other great options for your own interests and growth plan.

Jeremy Echols

JE leads the camp team, finds new camp locations, plans training, and lots of other projects. He met his wife Emily working camp, and their daughter #BabyMadison was born in 2011.





2015 Camp Prep Series #1: Online Tools

Although snow is still falling, Spring and Summer are rapidly approaching, and CentriKid Camps will be here before you blink! As our office team continues to finalize details for camp this summer, we want to help you prepare, too. For the next several weeks we will feature our Camp Prep blog series. Be sure to check back regularly for all the latest information. Today, take some time to familiarize yourself with all our online tools which can assist you in your preparation for camp.

Manage Your Account Online

One of our great online tools allows you to manage your account online. You can add a participant, change your male/female distribution, and even make payments. For a full overview on how to access this feature, check out this post.

Group Leader Information

This is one of the best online tools to help you prepare for camp. Access all group leader information, links, and forms on the downloads page.

  • Location Specific Pageslocation-page-online-tools – These individual pages provide important details specific for your camp location. Be sure to download the complete Group Leader Information Packet for your location. You will also find contact info for your camp leaders, a map, location photos, the current weather, and you can learn more about housing and campus facilities.
  • Release Form – Download and print a copy of the release form for each participant (including adults). Bring two copies to camp (only one must be notarized).
  • Participant List – Download and complete this very important form, and send it to your camp leaders at least 14 days prior to camp (email addresses are listed on location specific pages). We need this information in order to assign your participants to Bible study groups, prepare name tags, and assign housing. Completing this form in a timely manner will help ensure a smooth check-in process.
  • On the group leader information page, you can also find more details about the Team Assistant Program and brining a volunteer nurse to camp.

Parent Page

We have created a new page tailored specifically to parents. This page provides basic information about CentriKid, including some of our most common FAQs. It also includes a link to download the parent pack, a suggested packing list, information about the camp store, and most importantly, an overview of our spiritual content. Be sure to point your parents to this great resource.

Promotional Resources

Visit the promo page to download several great resources to help promote CentriKid in your ministry. Download our logo, bulletin inserts, flyers, postcards, sticker templates, email headers and more! You can also access several promo videos online.

We want your camp preparation to be smooth and easy. We hope you will find these online tools helpful, and we also hope that you will stay tuned to the blog for the remainder of our Camp Prep series. If we can assist you in any way, please never hesitate to contact us. We are here to serve you, and we cannot wait to see you at camp! Don’t Sweat the Summer!

Henry Dutton

Henry received a BA in Christian Studies and English from Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, and he is currently pursuing a Masters degree from the seminary. He began working for CentriKid in 2008 and joined the office team in 2012.

Guest Blog: Being Intentional Where You Are

This past summer I had the incredible experience of traveling from Tennessee all the way to California, then to Texas, Missouri and Arkansas sharing the Gospel and playing OMC with hundreds of kids. Prior to the summer, whenever I told family and friends that I was spending so much time in a van with the same people for 8 weeks, most of them laughed at me while giving their most insincere, “Good luck!”

As I sit here eight months later, I would give absolutely anything to be back in that van with those people driving to California. There were days when we spent 15+ hours in the van driving across the western United States. For me, it was not about the view, the fun games we played, or the awesome dance parties we had in the car: it was about the intentionality. One of CentriKid’s defining characteristics that I resonate most with is that we accomplish every task with the driving force of intentionality. One of our most beloved quotes is, “Life-change happens best in the context of relationships.” It pushes us to have meaningful conversations with every child that comes to camp. Not only does it drive our attitude when campers are around, but even we have time off.

During those long hours of driving and riding to California I cherished the moments when I was able to learn something new about my teammates. I tried asking more than just “surface-level questions” to truly understand the heart of my team. Yes, there is importance to learning what career a teammate wants to pursue, but I was really challenged by a friend this summer to be intentional about being intentional. Through these conversations with teammates, we were able to encourage each other through our weakness while praising the Lord for the goodness of His Gospel in our lives. We were able to pray for each other and carry each other’s burdens as we learned to love each other even more. True life-change happened for me because of these intentional conversations and relationships. It was beautiful to see how the Lord used broken people to come together to glorify the only unbroken One to so many kids during the summer.

What I like most about asking intentional questions is that it does not have to happen in a cramped van driving to California. As Christians, we are all called to live intentional lives with our fellow brothers and sisters in Christ along with our friends, colleagues, and family.

I am immediately reminded of the relationship Paul and Timothy shared together. Paul was incredibly intentional on teaching and encouraging Timothy as he grew stronger and deeper in his faith. The opening of 2 Timothy displays this so beautifully when Paul writes:
“I thank God, whom I serve with a clear conscience as my ancestors did, when I constantly remember you in my prayers night and day. Remembering your tears, I long to see you so that I may be filled with joy…”

I am thankful for the memories created while driving to California, but I am even more thankful for the conversations we had as teammates that pushed each other to follow Christ more. I challenge you today to not sit idly by and be content with shallow relationships around you. Pursue relationships like Paul and Timothy, who deeply care for one another, and push each other more towards Christ.

About the Guest Blogger:

i-kFJ58KB-XLCarson Albritton has been working CentriKid since 2012.  He has been a team leader, a stage host, a rec staffer, a track time manual writer, and has served at LifeWay’s VBS Events.  Carson is a student at the University of Georgia.

Micheal Walley

Micheal started working CentriKid in 2011 and has served as a Camp Director the past two summers. He graduated from Mississippi College with a degree in communications and public relations. He joined in the office team in 2014. Micheal loves talking kids ministry, leadership, and coffee.





UPDATE: Paying Your Deposits

Sometimes, even winter weather can affect the normal operations of summer camp!

We apologize for those of you that have been trying to pay your camp $50 camp deposits by calling in our Events Registration number 1-877-CAMP-123.  Because of the winter storms blowing through Nashville over the past few days, our Events Registration team and CentriKid office team have not been able to make it to LifeWay headquarters to answer your calls and process those deposits.

Unfortunately, Events Registration and CentriKid offices will once again be closed on Tuesday, February 17th. We hope to reopen on Wednesday, February 18th.

Here’s what you can do to still get your deposits in and hold your spots:

1. Don’t Panic.  You can still pay your deposits as soon as LifeWay opens and your spots are still guaranteed.  Just call 1-877-CAMP-123 when our offices open again hopefully on Wednesday.

2. Keep a watch on CentriKid social media.  Check in with the CentriKid Facebook and Twitter accounts. We’ll keep you updated on when our offices will be open so you can call in and make your deposits.

3. Manage Your Account Online.  Even though our offices are closed, you can still pay with your LifeWay account online and manage your account there.  Check out this video for a tutorial on paying your account online. We’ve heard from a few people that there’s sometimes been a glitch with trying to pay online this past weekend, so if you have any problems, please call us on Wednesday and we can get that sorted out!

Again, we apologize for not being able to take deposits because of the weather.  As always, we thank you for being flexible and being on top of things!  You are a true hero for making a way for kids to come to camp!

If you have any questions at all (or if you want to send any “Frozen” jokes, puns, or references), please email us at centrikid@lifeway.com today.  We can’t wait to see you in the heat of summer!

Micheal Walley

Micheal started working CentriKid in 2011 and has served as a Camp Director the past two summers. He graduated from Mississippi College with a degree in communications and public relations. He joined in the office team in 2014. Micheal loves talking kids ministry, leadership, and coffee.

Sneak Peek: 2015 CentriKid Camp Store

CentriKid has some great new things coming for the 2015 Camp Store this summer! We have some favorites coming back and some new and exciting things as well. We love being able to provide some great items for kids to get to remember their life-changing week at CentriKid. Without further ado, let’s take a look at items that we have for 2015!

What’s Coming Back

  • The Official OMC Shirts
  • CentriKid Buffs
  • Sunglasses
  • Water Bottles
  • Backpacks
  • Sunglasses
  • Special Adult Shirts







What’s New

To help us get FIT this summer, we have several new fun items coming to the camp store!IMG_1512

One of the most fun items that we have for this summer is capes! In your team color! These are great for OMC and for any moment that you want to feel a little heroic. And to help us get into FIT mode we also have sweatbands! The camp store will also have splat balls, ready for explode and come back together!  Also, be on the lookout for special CentriKid journals.

Please remember that selection will vary by location. Some items may not be available at every location.  

Also, Camper Care Packages will be available for summer 2015, so be on the lookout for information on what will be included as well as pre-ordering information.  To ensure that you get the items and sizes you want for Care Packages, be sure to keep an eye out and pre-order before the June 1st deadline!

We can’t wait to see all of you at the camp store this summer!


Tiffany Francis

Tiffany graduated from Georgetown College with a degree in communication and media studies, and received her Master's Degree from Murray State. She has been with Lifeway Kids since 2010 and joined the camp team in 2014 where she works on Bible Study, the camp store, and many other elements.





Let’s Get FIT: Looking at Jeremiah 29:13

For CentriKid 2015, we will explore spiritual practices that help us grow in our faith.  The theme is FIT: Faith in Training.  Our key verse is Jeremiah 29:13.
You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart. (Jeremiah 29:13 – HCSB)
This year for new summer staff applicants, we’ve asked them what questions they anticipate kids having when we study this verse and questions they prepared were insightful.
  • Who is “Me” in the verse?  Who are we supposed to be seeking and why is “Me” capitalized?
  • How do you search for God with your “whole heart” … referring to a phrase used in some translations.
  • What’s so good about finding God?
  • How do I search for Him?
  • How do you seek something or someone you cannot see?
  • How do you know when you’ve found Him?
We anticipate kids having these questions and more from this verse, and we look forward to the conversations this summer as we share with kids about finding a relationship with their heavenly Father.

Jeremy Echols

JE leads the camp team, finds new camp locations, plans training, and lots of other projects. He met his wife Emily working camp, and their daughter #BabyMadison was born in 2011.





Valentine’s Day Games

Hearts, cupid, pink, and purple is not my thing. However, I can get excited about games and celebrating love. Kids need to know we love them. Some of your kids may not receive love at their home, so use this holiday to show you love them and even more so God loves them. Here are some Valentine’s Day games to help you accomplish your mission.

Verse Relay
Cut out gigantic Sweet Hearts and write one word of a verse you are learning on each Sweet Heart. Have all the Sweet Hearts in a big brown bag and one at a time kids will have to run down grab a Sweet Heart with a word and tag the next person in line. Once all the Sweet Hearts are retrieved the teams will have to put the Sweet Hearts in order to win.

Separate your kids into teams of 7-10 and tell them shapes to make with their bodies. The group to make the shapes fastest each round will win. Shapes could include: hearts, balloons, cross, circle, bow, etc.

Keep Cupid Up
Take a Ominkin Ball (if you do not have one of these in your kids ministry, you should) and challenge the kids in your group to keep The Omnikin in the air. The Omnikin is Cupid! Each time you hit Cupid in the air you get one point. How many points can you get?

Don’t Forget

Take it the extra mile. Having fun and playing games is good and all, but you want heart transformation. Take the time to debrief one or all the games with your kids. For example when we played Keep Cupid Up we did a really great job. However, at some point we dropped Cupid. In Psalm 136: 1-3 we learn that God’s love never fails or gives up on us. We will mess up all the time, but He never fails to deliver His promises. He loves us.

Collin Spindle

Collin graduated from Texas A&M University with a degree in Recreation, Park and Tourism Science with an emphasis in Youth Development. He began working for CentriKid in 2010 and joined the office team in 2013.

Group Leader Info is Now Available

The new year is here and it is time to start preparing for all of the exciting things you will be doing with your children’s ministry! We here at CentriKid know that there is a lot of planning that goes into everything that you do with your children and we want to help. The 2015 Group Leader Guide is available on the website and it has everything that you need to prepare for camp. You can find the guide online by going to the location that you will be attending and clicking on “Group Leader Guide.”

Check out this link to access the 2015 Group Leader Information by going to your location specific homepage. 

In this year’s Group Leader Information, you will find information that is specific to your camp location, a to do list to help you prepare for camp, information about the Team Assistant program, the daily schedule, Parent Packet, release form, and new this year is an order summary form. We hope that each aspect of this document will enable you to have a smooth camp experience from your first parent meeting until your bus arrives back at the church. We have included an order summary form on page 16 of the guide that will enable you to consolidate all of the picture, dvd, and camper care package orders for your group onto one form. This will make check-in much smoother and will keep each groups orders together. As the group leader you will also be able to keep all of the individual orders be ensure that your kids get exactly what they ordered.

We can not wait to see you at CentriKid and we hope that this guide will be a great asset as you get your kids to camp! Let us know what you are getting your kids and parents excited about as you schedule these parent meetings and get your kids ready for the summer.

Isaac Kierstead

Isaac graduated from Florida State University in 2014 with a degree in studio art and editing and writing. He started working camp in 2013 and has served as a rec team member, stage host, and camp pastor. Isaac joined the office team in 2014.





Stimulating Creativity

How much creativity are you required to bring to your job everyday? Whatever your job is I would encourage everyone to think outside the box and bring creativity to your life. However, when you decide you need creativity you automatically put yourself in a box. Stimulating creativity is tough. I have felt the tension and I am sure you have as well. Here are some techniques to change your normal workflow. In several of my techniques I use an example of a church evaluating their kids ministry.

1. Gather the right people
Being creative on your own has its place, but often times it is beneficial and simply more fun to collaborate with others. Notice I said the right people. Bring together the right team to help you push through a project or problem. I am thankful to work with super skilled folks at LifeWay Kids, who serve as excellent co-collaborators. Find those people in your life especially at your work and ask them to help you tackle something.

IMG_48492. Generate Ideas
My favorite technique for generating ideas, especially with a group of people is the Post-It method. However you can have people just call out their ideas and you write them down for everyone to see. The whole purpose of this activity is to gather all the ideas. At this point no idea is too crazy and everything can be considered. In my example of the evaluation of the kids ministry area I used green Post Its to write things that were Good to Go and pink Post Its to write things for imProving.

3. Create Borders
Here you are defining both sides of the equation. For example some people create borders by creating pro and con lists. Or maybe you are talking about the culture of your kids ministry and you talk about what is in and what is outside the context of your culture. Borders can assist you in generating ideas and honing in on selecting ideas.

4. Sketching and Model MakingIMG_4850
I love using my white board for work. It helps me think while I draw out relationships. Here are two hypothetical sketches above. Remember sketch means loosely drawn, so it does not take an artist to sketch or make a model, clearly. First I made an improvement timeline. I took the pink stickies and placed them on a loose timeline from January to December. This way I can show when I want to work on these projects in relation to big moments in kids ministry like VBS and camp in the summer. The other one is really a sketch. It can be used in a meeting to discuss what the arrows have to be for us to get our goal of more volunteers. The arrows are the action steps.

IMG_48475. Metaphoric Structure
This is one of my favorites to do with almost anything. Metaphoric structure is where you take something and liken it to something entirely different. Take your kids ministry for example, what if it were a restaurant. Who would be the chef, who are your guests, what is on your menu, and what kind of restaurant do you own? Similarly intriguing what if your kids ministry was an airplane, what about a toy trunk, or a profession. These metaphoric structures help you revisit what is familiar to you in a completely different way. It creates a narrative, which helps you tell the story of your kids ministry as though you don’t know what is about to happen.

Here you find 5 tools for your toolbox. At the end of the day, just get creative. Solving problems is fun. Have fun with your work and play a little. It could be the catalyst your ministry needs.

Collin Spindle

Collin graduated from Texas A&M University with a degree in Recreation, Park and Tourism Science with an emphasis in Youth Development. He began working for CentriKid in 2010 and joined the office team in 2013.