Posts Tagged ‘Organization’

Camp Resources: The Parent Packet!

As camp draws closer, we’re sure that meetings are being held, deposits are being paid, and questions are being asked. To equip Group Leaders and to prepare parents sending their children to camp, this year we’ve made a document just for parents!

The Parent Packet is a great overview and introduction of CentriKid for parents who are sending their kids to camp this summer. The packet includes:

  • Daily CentriKid schedule
    • Parents will be able to see an overview of what their kids will be doing each camp day. This is a great touchpoint for parents to have as they talk to their children about the days at CentriKid!
  • This summer’s theme overview
    • Adventure Awaits: Following the One, True Light
  • Camper packing lists
    • This is great when helping kids decide what to pack and what not to pack for their time at CentriKid!
  • Camp Store information
    • Find a group order form, prices for various Camp Store items, and a summary about our CentriKid Camp Store.
  • FAQ’s
  • Parent meeting notes page
  • Participant Form
    • This form, completed, is required for each camper and adult who attends CentriKid. Parents shouldn’t leave pre-camp meetings without this!

Group Leaders, be sure to get these in the hands of your parents as you prepare for camp! You can find the Parent Packet by going to your camp location page at or download them here:

Can’t wait to see you at camp this summer!

Meg Brown

Meg started working camp in 2013 and joined the office team in 2016. She received her degree in Educational Ministry and Public Relations from Campbellsville University. She has served as a Bible Study leader, Assistant Director, and Camp Director. Meg leads in Track Times and Group Leader Information for camp 2017. In addition to camp, Meg loves playing tennis, reading books, and spending time outdoors.

2015 Camp Prep Series #8: Pre-Camp Planning

As the summer approaches, your kids are ready to get out of school and the craziness of summer activities begins! Here is a checklist of a few things that will help you and your group be ready when it is time to hop in the bus for camp!

Talk to your adult sponsors!
The people that you are bringing to camp will help shape the experience for all of your campers. Bring adults and students who you trust to invest in your kids throughout the week. While at camp, these sponsors will be the one answering spiritual questions and loving your children as they learn how to grow their faith in Christ. Also, be sure that all of your sponsors have signed the statement of compliance before they come to camp.

Meet with parents!
One of the promises that we make at CentriKid is that we provide a safe environment for the kids. This starts by providing you as group leaders with the information that you can share during parent meetings. Check out the Parent Packet and provide copies of it for all of the parents so that they also feel ready to send their kids off to camp. Getting copies of insurance cards and signing release forms is a vital key to preparing for camp. Also, be sure that you collect all the photo and DVD order forms so that the parents can get their snapshots of their kids at camp! Another way that we want to make each child feel safe at camp is by giving the parents a chance to fill out a special attention card. We as a staff take these cards very seriously and want to know about any physical or emotional/spiritual needs that the children might have. Don’t forget to fill out a special attention card if anyone in your group has a birthday the week of camp, we would love to celebrate with them! You can also show our new Parent Peace of Mind video!

3 weeks before camp!
The best week of the summer is getting closer and you are almost ready to go! Three weeks before camp, don’t forget to email your participant list that includes your adult sponsors so that we can have housing all prepared for you when you get to camp. You can get the participant list HERE, and you’ll email it to the email address found on your location specific page! At three weeks, you can also pay your balance for camp which will be due 14 days prior to camp.

We can not wait to see you and your kids this summer. We know that you put lots of work into getting your kids ready for camp and we want to make this process as simple as possible for you. If you have any questions as you prepare for camp, feel free to contact the CentriKid office or your camp director and we would love to answer any questions you might have!

Isaac Kierstead

Isaac graduated from Florida State University with a degree in Studio Art and Editing and Writing. He started working camp in 2013 and joined the office team in 2014. Isaac designs a lot of the items you’ll see at camp this summer, helps with track development, puts together group leader information and staff manuals. His favorite part of camp is I Can’t Wait and track times.

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 with a degree in Studio Art and Editing and Writing. He started working camp in 2013 and joined the office team in 2014. Isaac designs a lot of the items you’ll see at camp this summer, helps with track development, puts together group leader information and staff manuals. His favorite part of camp is I Can’t Wait and track times.

Ask yourself “How Can I Make It Better”

Saying goodbye to 2014 is difficult. This year’s theme of redemption was one of my personal favorites. The hope in saying goodbye to a great year of camp is knowing the ministry camp is never really finished. Ahead of our CentriKid team is what we call “Eval Week.”

Our team will retreat to evaluate camp. The general philosophy behind Eval Week is to ask the question “how I can make it better?” We firmly believe you should stop evaluating when you are done wanting to make things better, and we will simply never stop desiring to improve!

One thing I love about Eval Week is nothing is too sacred to change. Even our beloved OMC would be no more if for some reason it was not a good fit. The only sacred thing, which we do not even have the authority to change, is Scripture. We promise for our ministry to always be rooted in Scripture. We will deliver on our other promises as well – we will minister through relationships, we will create safe places, and we will provide kid-friendly programming. Ultimately, we listen to you. Most of what we evaluate comes from what we hear in listening sessions and group leader surveys.

Evaluations are so important. Consider your context and ask yourself, “how can I make it better?” Creating a “make it better” culture is a healthy choice, but takes additional labor. Every ounce of effort will be worth your time. It is never too early or too late to improve. Start now!

After this week we will have the trajectory set for our year and our goals. Thank you all for giving us great feedback this summer. We know you will not be disappointed with CentriKid 2015 – FIT: Faith in Training. To use the pun one last time, we are ready to RESET.

2014 CentriKid Prep Recap

Today is the last post in our 2014 CentriKid Prep series. If you’ve followed along through the whole series, by this point you’ve learned all about Group Leader Information, fundraising, the camp store, and what to expect once you arrive at camp.

In case you missed any of the info, here is a recap of what we covered this year:

2014 CentriKid Prep #1: Online Tools – Through your online account you can update your contact information, add or reduce attendance, modify male/female counts, or make a payment. Check out this post for a tutorial.

2014 CentriKid Prep #2: Fundraising – In this post, we pulled together some of our favorite fundraising ideas, and we also posted links to ideas from the past 4 years.

2014 CentriKid Prep #3: Recruit Adult Sponsors – See this post for ideas on how to recruit adult sponsors to come to camp.

2014 CentriKid Prep #4: Spiritual Focus – This post provides an overview of our Spiritual Focus for camp. Kids will dive into God’s word in Bible study, on the rec field, during track times, and during worship as we explore God’s faithful love and abundant redemption.

2014 CentriKid Prep #5: Pre-Camp Planning – Check out this post for tips and suggestions on planning and leading a meeting with your parents and tips on planning the road trip for your group.

2014 CentriKid Prep #6: Housing, Participant Lists, and Final Balances – All of these things are due two weeks prior to your week of camp, but we would love for you to take care of the details even earlier than that! For more information about housing, participant lists, and final balances, read this post.

2014 CentriKid Prep #7: Track Times – Have you given your kids a chance to choose their track times? Don’t forget to fill out your track time selection cards prior to arrival.  Check this post out to help your campers sign up for their favorite tracks!

2014 CentriKid Prep #8: Camp Sneak Peak – Check out some fun, new things you’ll see at your camp this summer!

2014 CentriKid Prep #9: What to Expect When You Arrive – Once you make it to this post, you are ready for camp! Check out these details of what you can expect when you step on to campus.

2014 CentriKid Prep #10: Meet Your Camp Leaders – Take a moment to meet the Camp Directors and Assistant Directors that will be serving you this summer. You can see your specific Camp Director on your camp’s location page.

We’re here for you and want to come alongside you to make your camp preparation experience as easy as possible. If there are questions that we can answer, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with someone from our office team. We are looking forward to seeing you at camp!

2014 CentriKid Prep #7: Track Times

First, check out why we think Track Times are so great! 2014 will be a big year for Track Times at CentriKid. It will be important to pay close attention to your Group Leader Information for your Track options and watch for some videos coming soon on the blog to tell you more about our new Tracks.

This year will are rolling out a new track time called “Build It”. We think this will be a great indoor track, especially for boys looking to escape the summer heat. This track focuses on construction, innovation, and implementation of fun building designs. Campers will be apprentices to the track leader throughout the week and will have the opportunity to win awards for the best designs.

To capitalize on the features of CentriKid camp locations with outdoor adventure and water activities we are providing Blast and Adventure Track options. The following locations have one or both of these track options. Make sure you check it out in the Group Leader Information, pages 4 & 5. Some Adventure and Blast track options cost money, so make sure you come to camp prepared.

Linden Valley

Shocco Springs (not weekend camp)

Trinity Pines

Jenness Park

Timber Creek

Timber Creek Weekend Camp

Make sure you fill out your Track Time cards before camp so you can turn in the cards at Check In. It can be difficult to get all your kids together before camp to fill these out. A great idea we hear from some churches is to fill out the cards on the bus ride to camp. Ultimately, we are excited for all our Tracks and having the opportunity to build relationships with your kids during Track A, B, & C.

2014 CentriKid Prep #2: Fundraising

Raising the funds to get to camp can be one of the most stressful parts of the camp experience. At this point your deposits are due, but you are looking at the rest of the money wondering from where it will come. Take an opportunity to take a deep breath, because today we hope to give you plenty of great methods of raising the money.  Here is the 2014 Fundraising Ideas list.

  1. Talent Show : Need I say more? Have the kids going to camp share their talents with people willing to come and watch them perform. You don’t want the parents to be the only ones there so make sure you advertise online, at their schools with the teachers, and by word of mouth invitations.
  2. 5k Race : 5k races have become wildly popular. You will need to do some preparation in creating a course, talking with your city about your event, etc. However, this is an event that could become a staple on your church calendar. It can be a healthy option for participants and could attract people outside your congregation.
  3. Dodgeball Tournament : Tell me where you are having it and I will try to be there. Dodgeball is one of the most fun games ever created. Have teams within the church sign up together (e.g. small groups against different small groups). Charge an admission fee and provide a trophy.
  4. Outdoor Movie : As the weather gets better make sure you use it to your advantage. For this you will need a large projector. Maybe your church has one or the local High School or College might loan you one. Beyond a projector all you need is the space seat everyone, great sound from a passport system, popcorn and other snacks. Also you can start the show with some great Peach Videos.
  5. Profit Share : Many local businesses will share their profits with you for the day. An organization I was involved with once did this at Chick-fa-la. This is the simplest idea. All you need is the publicity to let people know your cause. Check around in your area for businesses open to profit sharing.

Here is a complete list with all our Fundraising Tips from years past.

Fundraising Tips

2013 Fundraising Ideas

2012 Fundraising Ideas

2011 Fundraising Ideas

2010 Fundraising Ideas

Making Sure Everyone Gets to Camp

Fundraising Idea…Kroger Cares

Fundraising // Waiting Tables

How Do You Get the Most BANG from Your Limited Budget Bucks

Ministry opportunities are unlimited, but we all need help stretching our limited budget for ministry.  Here are 4 children’s ministry leaders who share from their experience on how to get the most out of their budget.  You’ll see common themes of sharing and wise shopping, so here we go!

  • Buy in bulk and save for the next year…this helps on budget needs for the next fiscal year. – Lisa, Preschool/Children’s Ministry Director from Georgia.

  • I always try to find out what other churches are doing the same VBS and schedule around other dates is possible, so that we can share decorations and leftover supplies.  Also, we have a couple of big churches close by who own lots of inflatables. I ask to “rent” from them at discount instead of paying top dollar from rental companies. – Tammy, a Children’s Minister from South Carolina.

  • We share and borrow props/specialty items with local churches in our area. We shop AMAZON and EBAY to save cost on production events. We also involve our congregation in our ministry events, for example, we served over 2000 people last year in our “Back to school Bash”, handing out school supplies and giving free haircuts. – Kathy, Director of Children’s Ministry from Tennessee.

  • I am a huge fan of networking, and thankfully our local Baptist association provides many opportunities for local children’s ministers to regularly meet together. During those times, we all talk about our ministries and discuss ways we can help each other, and share resources.  For example, last week one of the local children’s ministers found some decorations in her church that she didn’t need, but matched my VBS theme perfectly, so she called to see if I wanted them.  If you don’t already have a network of ministry friends, start calling local children’s ministers and try to get something going. It will take time for something to get started, but it is well worth the effort. I have literally saved thousands of dollars over the years, through sharing resources with local children’s ministers and gained invaluable amounts of great advice and encouragement from them.  – Peter – a children’s minister from Georgia, and former CentriKid staffer.


Special Thanks to each of these guys for sharing their insights with us!  What else would you share from your experience?  How do you stretch your limited ministry budget dollars? Share in the comments section below and we can continue to add to create a great collection of ideas!

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.





Make Fun a Part of your Culture

I cannot write this post without giving credit to the history of office fun at LifeWay Kids. Plenty have come before me to create a “make it fun” culture. One way my cube mate, Ellie Doom, and I try to “make it fun” is by posting a Joke of the Day. If you are ever on Twitter or Instagram check out #ckjokeoftheday to find some great jokes. We will post them on our social media every once and a while. However, this daily activity is primarily for our coworkers.

We give everyone at LifeWay Kids an opportunity to guess the joke and we reveal the winner at 3 pm central standard time. The guesses can be found on a whiteboard on our office cubes. The winner walks away with candy. It is really simple, but we are consistent. We see value in our office spending a few moments of their day laughing and working together to figure out the daily joke. We can build a better community by enjoying fun together.

The joke is a means to facilitate fun. There is nothing magic or ingenious about the joke of the day. There are many ways you can enjoy fun in your work culture and it does not matter what you do. However, it is necessary you take initiative to make fun a part of how your organization operates. At CentriKid Camp we make fun who we are with kid friendly programming. However, beyond that we try to make every mundane or arduous task our staff is asked to complete full of excitement. Whenever we make name tags before campers arrive we have a name tag party and blast music while we work together. Loading and unloading our trucks throughout the summer is no easy task, but we compete with ourselves to race our best load in and load out times.

What can your organization do to make fun a part of your culture? Also, can you figure out today’s joke?

Why didn’t the shrimp share his treasure? Comment with your guesses.

7 Tips for ‘Wearing Many Hats’ and Managing Responsibilites

Wearing many hats, that is having lots of different work responsibilities, is not new, and in an even smaller work force it is only going to grow. As a kidmin leader or volunteer, you wear all kinds of hats (teacher, director, boo-boo cleaner, plumber, organizer, etc). Here are some tips to help:

  1. Become a morning person – Benjamin Franklin was right, “early to bed, early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise”. So, that is a slight exaggeration but it does make you more productive. Getting up before the world gets moving helps you focus and keeps distractions away. Get on a schedule that gets you moving in the morning. The most productive hours in the day are before 9:00 am and not after 9:00 pm.
  2. Get organized – There are lots of great programs, apps, and systems to help you get organized and almost all are “in the clouds” and function across multiple devises. The key isn’t having a system it is using one. My wife makes fun of my Saturday to do list but I accomplish so much more when I get up early and make my list. There is also something energizing about checking things off your list.
  3. Plan your week – I use Sunday evening as a time to look at my calendar for the week and begin to think big picture, remind myself of meetings to prepare for, and deadlines that loom. I also use that time to email important reminders for the upcoming week.
  4. Plan your day – If you are wearing a lot of hats you are going to feel pulled in a million directions. Schedule time for email, phone calls, and blocks of time for those things most important and or time sensitive.
  5. Schedule time off – For me Sunday afternoons are for watching football, enjoying a good movie or an unexpected cat nap. Everyone needs some down time.
  6. Build a team – Realize you can’t do it all and begin to build a team around you that you trust and love. Invest in them, train them well, and you can accomplish more than you could ever imagine.
  7. Lean not on your own understanding – Christ told us He would not give us more than we can handle so trust in Him. When things get most difficult and I just don’t know how I can get it all done is when I lean most on Him.

Wearing lots of hats is a balancing act. I have the responsibility of caring for my mother, wife and two kids. I also wear a number of hats for work. Recently my mother’s house flooded, we were refinancing our house, and I could not get our loan officer to return phone calls or emails. I desperately needed to get work done on my back yard, so my mom’s house would not flood again. At work I had a new boss, we were deep into budgeting, and training for camp was around the corner, to name a few of the hats I was wearing. I knew I wasn’t doing everything as well as I could but I was working 12 hour days at the office and going home to another 2 or 3 hours for things needed there. Somehow I have kept my nose above the water but I will admit there were days I felt the press of work and family all needing more than I could find time to give. However, God is good. There are days people don’t get all the attention from me they need or want but somehow God takes care of me and them.