Dear Windermere Friends,
This week I volunteered to work at the Windermere high rope course we call The Edge. It seems the technical part of The Edge requires specific training but “working the ladder” is a good way to help the team.
In my work I was able to observe several churches attending the AreaOne Camp on our campus. If you need to connect with a fresh camping/conference ministry see their website, www.areaone.org/.
After three hours of volunteering I observed great churches do extraordinary things. All these churches knew how to take camp to the next level. Here are 4 ways you can make your camp EXTRAORDINARY.
Don’t be afraid to stretch yourself at camp– I think it is human nature to live your life with some sort of routine. It is not necessarily bad to do that, but to remain in that routine makes us disinclined to learning, change, and risk. Camp means you can test yourself and see how it feels. I saw students all over campus trying out new things. Physically they were climbing a 30 foot ropes course pole, mentally they were studying God’s word in a manner to defend their faith and emotionally students were dealing with all sorts of feelings like anger, fear, loneliness, etc.
- Make sure your adults are 100% engaged – I know most student ministers think every adult at camp needs to “do what the students do.” This is not what I mean by 100% engaged. This week I saw adults who were screaming encouragement, taking videos and pictures, herding up all the stray kids, sitting listening to stories and, yes, some adults were hanging on ropes going down a zip line. In other words, the best adults, sponsors, or chaperones are connecting to students in multiple ways. That is 100% engagement.
- Meet others who are different than you are – Camp is the primary place where one can meet a person who is different. Again, my initial point is this – human nature makes it to where we gravitate to people who are more like us. Guess what, friends? When we get to heaven, we will see MANY people who are totally different than we are. Camp is an illustration of what heaven will be like.
Play together – From my years as a student minister, I confess something I had to relearn every few years was,“a group is not a close group until they play together.” If you want to truly create a close student group… play together. This week it was evident. After a heavy time of play and fun I saw a real connected group. I saw authentic and healthy community. There is no greater blessing than to see students laughing and smiling!
John W. Bailey
Office 573-346-5200 Ext. 2611