Yesterday I posted about how we made a strategic move from Summer Camp to Winter Camp. Well, that’s not the only risk we took on. For a variety of reasons, we put all our eggs in one basket and we’re hosting this Winter Camp for both kids and students at the same place on the same weekend. That means we’ll have 3rd grade through 12th grade all together on this weekend. I’m very excited about this effort that has been in the works for the past 18 months.
I’ll be brutally honest from the start. I’m not 100% convinced that this is a great idea. There are aspects that are right on, but there are also aspects that take away from the experience because we’re doing it all together. Let me first share with you the reasons why we’re doing a NextGen camp.
- I’m building a NextGen team. We office together. We eat together. We plan together. We felt that taking on a project like Winter Camp would be something that would further bring us together.
- Parents love the idea of having all their kids gone on the same weekend. It’s simpler for families. There’s one registration process. One payment page.
- It’s easier for us. We promote to the entire ministry and all our parents under a unified message. We’re able to share resources and staff which both save us time and money.
- Numbers add momentum. We aren’t running the numbers in our individual ministries to take over an entire camp, meaning that we’d have to share. I’m not against sharing, but I’m often wary about other groups at a camp. I don’t know what kind of training the other group’s leaders have gone through… so I just feel better when all the people there are people I know. Even though it’s all different ages, there’s something cool about having 4-6 busses lined up to go to camp. Momentum.
- It’s also fun for us. We like working together and we’re looking forward to the fun of camp together as a team.
- It communicates a message to families. Most kids and student ministries have very different cultures and organizations and it sends a confusing message to parents. By doing camp together, we communicate to parents a unified vision for NextGen that goes even beyond camp.
- Many teenage siblings aren’t thrilled about going to the same camp as their younger sibling.
- Kids need to have something to look forward to and it’s probably better for the kids to look forward to a totally different experience.
- Even though the age groups will be entirely separated over the weekend, some contact is unavoidable and we certainly have some high school kids that could have a negative impact on our kids.
So, those are the things that initially come to mind. Obviously, the pros outnumber the cons and so this year and maybe next year, this is how we’re going to do camp. It may prove necessary to switch things up in a few years because of the cons I listed or some other situations.
What about you? Have you ever done camp like this? Any thoughts or opinions?
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