Christian Youth camps are an important time for young believers to get away from the worries and problems of day-to-day life to reflect on deeper issues of life and nurture their faith, in a supportive and wholesome environment and deepen their relationship with other young believers as brothers and sisters through Christ. As an organizer of many such camps myself I have seen first-hand the life changing experiences young Christians have had at such events.
Camp venue choice is one of the key factors to creating a deep and moving experience for the attending participants. A well-selected camp venue helps to facilitate the kind of atmosphere and mood conducive to deep spiritual experiences with Jesus and God whilst an ill-fitted camp venue can stifle attempts of creating such an atmosphere. Here are 5 characteristics of a good Christian youth camp venue.
When hiring camp venue some venues will give your group exclusive access to the facilities. This means that there will not be any other groups using the venue simultaneously to you. The majority of camps offer this kind arrangement; however, it is still quite common that some camps, especially the larger ones, will rent out their facilities to multiple different groups at the same time.
Your job, as a camp organizer is to create an environment conducive to reflection and deep spiritual experiences with God and Jesus, and a greater sense of connection with their fellow Christian brothers and sisters. The problem with shared camp venues is that the actions and activities of other groups using the venue can cause a distraction to your camp’s participants and subtly interrupt the kind of environment and culture you are trying to create.
Immersion in a Natural Setting
Nature has the ability to bring a certain sense of peace, tranquility, and a sense of being grounded. In our busy modern-day lives we are often quite disconnected to the natural world. Choosing a camp venue that is in a beautiful natural setting can serve as an opportunity for the camp participants to experience the clarity, peace, and tranquility of nature. Furthermore, a natural setting encourages the kind of environment conducive to a breakthrough prayer experience for the camp’s participants. Jesus, Moses, and many other biblical figures often went into the wilderness to pray. Having the camp venue set in a natural setting helps to encourage fruitful prayer experiences.
Separate Sleeping Quarters
Christian camps are opportunities for our young people to reflect, deepen their faith, and to create wholesome relationships with their fellow young Christians as brothers and sisters in Christ. Sure, as young people it’s natural for some of them to feel attracted to one another in a romantic way, however from my experience in order to achieve the camp objective it’s important that clear relationship boundaries are established and encouraged by staff. Having separate sleeping quarters for boys and girls with some substantial physical distance between them (think two sets of cabins 100m apart) helps to encourage these healthy boundaries so participants can focus on reflection, prayer and wholesome friendships as brothers and sisters.
On-site or Nearby Recreational Facilities
Recreational activities are an important ingredient to a memorable and successful youth camp. They can serve as a learning, growth, and development opportunity as well as a bonding opportunity for camp participants and staff. Ideally the camp venue should have several onsite recreational activities for participants to get involved in during their time at the camp, however it’s also possible to hire a venue where there are some recreational activities nearby. Generally speaking, you’ll find venues without the full works of recreational activities are priced more affordably. So long as there is a sports oval to run different games and activities on, then you’ll have ample opportunity to create some creative and fun games for your camp participants.
Private Meeting Room
It’s integral that camp staff are able to meet with one another to talk about the plans for the day, bring to light any pressing issues, address any concerns the staff may have, and also check in with each other from time to time. Having a private space for this is an important feature to look out for when searching for a camp venue. Ideally this should be a private space where there is little to no risk that conversations will be overheard by camp participants as often times the topics raised or the issues spoken about are sensitive in nature and best kept within the staff group only. A private meeting room ensures that you can speak openly and honestly amongst your staff group.
Creating a successful Christian youth camp which helps young believers reflect on their lives, deepen their faith, and form stronger bonds with their fellow brothers and sisters in Christ is no mean feat. It takes the hard work and dedication of a number of key people to make it happen. The beginning point of organising a Christian youth camp is often securing a camp venue, or some form of large group accommodation. Choosing a well-suited venue can go along way to creating the environment and culture you wish to develop for your camp.