This is a guest post by our good friend, Chris Giddens, who lives in Atlanta, GA and is the children’s minister at Pleasant Valley South Baptist Church.
Car, van, bus, roller coaster, zoo train, bicycle, on foot….
However you are getting to camp…Chris can help make it fun.
The ride to camp is quite interesting, and it can set the tone for your week (especially for the first time campers… and their bladders). Depending on your travel arrangements to camp (we’re assuming no one lives close enough to walk) you’ll either be bringing cars, vans or a bus. So here are a few things to do on the way to camp:
- Have each car name their car. Use a window marker to write the names on them. (get car owner permission first)
- Before camp, get a mix CD together of camp music and fun songs. Give to each driver.
- Create a sheet of Car Bingo with items like “state trooper” “cow” “boat” “Quiznoes” and other things and give to each car.
- Use old fashioned walkie talkies to communicate between cars. Tell the worst knock knock jokes EVER.
- All of the above, but put VAN in for CAR.
- All of the above, but put Bus instead of Van or Car.
If the bus has a DVD player then get a short film that reflects the theme of camp. (we played Cars one year and Ratatouille last year). Pause the movie on occasion and discuss it. “So why was it a big deal that Lightning went and helped Mr. The King? (I so get misty thinking about it)”
* protip: Media consumes community time, so use sparingly.
- As a leader, rarely sit down. Just go around and blab with your kids. Especially watchout for your first time campers, they need to know you and know they can talk to you. (especially about their small bladders)
- Use mic on bus (with express permission the driver… and I really want to stress that) to give “tour guide” like information as you go along. Make it up of course and be silly.
- Try not to laugh when the third grader says “MR CHRIS, IS THIS THE OCEAN?” when crossing a lake in Alabama. But know you cannot help it.
- Play rounds and rounds of “Would you rather…” (in the game Zobmondo) or make up your own “Would you rather be bald or have no toes?” “Would you rather have to eat a worm or gut a fish?” for example. Ask them to explain to their seat mate why. Make adults say it out loud (good to let kids get to know them)
- If you stop on the way to eat. I highly suggest places like CiCis or Stevie B’s Pizza.* You can get in and out, kids like food, managers usually will help you out on price if you have a big group (call ahead), and there’s little “I ORDERED MINE WITHOUT ONIONS” you have to deal with.
*pro tip: I do not allow them to play games in the arcade on the trip down. I do on the way home.
In the end you use any of these suggestions no matter your mode of travel to camp. (If traveling by horse, CiCi’s probably won’t give you a bus driver discount). Take the time to use the hours on the trip strategically. Build some trust and communication. It’s ok for them to have some time to yack and giggle without you programming it. Use that time to walk about the bus, be silly in the van, or jam out in the car. Pray for that time, and the wisest way to use it.
Be goofy, be warm, be fun, and be in charge… be real. They’ll see your heart and Who lives there.