So a few weeks ago, we took 70 kids and leaders to summer camp. There were 400 kids there overall and I had been hired by the camp to be the Camp Pastor at one of the three weeks of camp. They had chosen reThink’s Live it Out curriculum in a box to use as a camp theme and curriculum. We use both 252 Basics and My First Look every Sunday, so I was pretty familiar with the material. However, I wanted to give a review of my experience using the material supplied. Please note though that I didn’t go out and select this product and I wasn’t in charge of determining what we used and what we didn’t. As the Camp Pastor, I was given the DVD of video elements as well as the small group materials that had been selected for small group breakouts. So, my experience is more from a “adapt and use” approach instead of “choose and use” approach.
In the 8-10 years that I’ve taught at kids camp, this is the first time I’ve ever used a curriculum. I’ve always developed the theme, written the messages and put together the small group/develotional materials. So, this was a very new experience for me as well. After using a curriculum, would I do it again? Yeah, I think I would.
Live it Out was the first curriculum I’ve used for camp and it was a good/great experience… but I think that your feelings about it are going to depend on what your expectations are. As far as the theme goes, it was fantastic. Take it In and Live it Out is based on the scripture in Matthew, “However hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like the wise man…” The first day of camp was this main point as well as the parable of the wise and foolish men who built houses on the rock and sand. The next four days we chose lessons that were parables of Jesus and they all tied in so well to the theme overall. It was a GREAT message and theme for camp. I know that hundreds of kids were powerfully impacted. Many to begin relationships with God, others to truly “Live it Out.” In addition, the theme song was a lot of fun and very well done. The kids loved it… especially learning the rap. We only used 5 messages/lessons, but there were more to choose from. There was also tons of small group activities to take part in… tons. So, there was no shortage of material. Overall, “Live it Out” is pretty much consistent with what you would expect from 252 Basics.
What did I not like? Most of this may just be personal preference and experience. In all the years I’ve led camps, I never really led small group activities as breakout times like we do on Sunday mornings. For camp, I always had devotional times where kids spent time in their Bibles and working through a guided devotional that tied to what they were learning… teaching them how to have a quite time. In the evenings, I developed discussion guides for kids to reflect on what they were learning. In so many ways, camp is go, go, go, go and it was nice to have kids all gather around on one bunk and have a discussion time, not an activity. Also, I wasn’t a huge fan of the videos. They’re good, just not nearly as funny as I feel they need to be. The way to a child’s heart is through humor and I just don’t think they’re funny enough. Most of them are of one guy telling the story which has some humor, but I think kids really love the slap-stick approach of a straight-man/funny-man approach. However, these are just my impressions and my opinions.
The uses for Live it Out are endless. We used it for camp. I essentially wrote messages to go with the theme of each day. There is some video teaching with every lesson, but it just wasn’t long enough for our taste… not personal enough to lead the room of 400 kids to the heart of the lesson. Maybe it could have been with a guided approach with an emcee, object lesson and then wrap it up with the video teaching. However, others may love the video teaching and it would do the job. This curriculum in a box would also work great for a summer series. There is enough material in here to last you most of the summer with enough stuff to carry an entire church service. You could use it for a modified VBS or any other multi-day event.
So, if you’re looking at if for something like this, I encourage you to pick it up here. It really is a great resource!
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