7 Ways to Get the Most Out of Summer Camp

Anastasis Faith
          It was the Saturday after piano camp. Friday night we had held our recital in Roxy Grove Hall at Baylor University. My friends had driven me the two hours home to their house after the recital finished late and after we had eaten at Pizza Hut. Now, on Saturday, my parents picked me up on their way to lunch.
          I was tired, tired, tired and GRUMPY.
          I actually sat at a different table than my family and read my book until my Dad told me to come join them. Dad asked, “How was camp?”
          I responded, “Can we talk about it later? I am too tired right now.”
          Needless to say, my parents were NOT HAPPY with me after camp. Looking back, I realize how extremely rude I had been—even after they had paid $500 for me to attend this camp!
7 Ways to Get the Most Out of Summer Camp
          Probably some of you have a similar story about the post-camp crash. It could be a church camp, a camp with an organization like TeenPact, or a camp like my piano camp. It doesn’t matter. These apply to all of them.
          Camps are super fun and super exhausting. How do we balance both in such a way as to make camp REFRESHING and rejuvenating instead of draining?
          First of all, why would it matter?

         Three quick reasons:
          You should never act the way I did to my parents when you return from a camp. They paid for my way and bent over backwards to get me there and made arrangements for me to get home. I was rude to them and ungrateful.
          Most of us have to “hit the ground running” and how to live your week or weekend at camp will determine how well you can recover quickly to take care of what needs to be done.
          At least at church camp, it’s supposed to refresh your spiritual walk with God. If we come back physically destroyed, it will be hard to implement what we learned to walk closer with God.

          I approach camps VERY differently than I did even a year or two ago and I’m learning how to best approach them to maximize my time back at home.
          Let’s launch into the tips!

1. Life is not about camp.
          You cannot be living life for the next camp. I’ve been guilty of this and it’s a waste of time and it completely neglects the sweetness of a daily walk with Christ.
Jesus cares IMMENSELY about your routine. Don’t waste your life pining away for the next camp or the next “spiritual high.” That’s not what real life or real living is about.

2. Camp is FOR your life back at home.
          Why do we have camp? So that we are better equipped to honor Jesus by the way we live back at home. Have this in mind when you are at camp. You are not living FOR camp. Camp is FOR your life at home. Live life at camp preparing to go home. Make practical lists of things you are going to change when you get home. They don’t have to be big, though they can be. They might be to pray for ten minutes in the morning and night. Whatever it is, use camp to maximize your time at home. Learn how to honor Christ MORE in your routine.

3. Know how much rest you need.
          This is a huge one for me. I need a ton of sleep. Camps where we get less than seven hours of sleep every night seriously destroy me emotionally and physically. You need to know how much rest you normally need—and remember that you will probably need more at camp. The camps I’ve been to require a lot of physical exertion. Whether it’s walking like ten miles every day on Baylor campus like I did at piano camp or if it’s physically demanding games, they usually deplete energy.
          If you cannot sleep enough at night, do whatever you can to take a nap. Don’t neglect your rest. When you can, cut out of late night games to get a good night’s rest.

4. Factor in whether you're an introvert or extrovert.
          I don’t know where you are on the scale, but if you’re an introvert, camps can end up a nightmare. Sometimes you’re with your best friends 24/7. Other times you’re with strangers 24/7. Either way, find a way to be alone and spend time with God EVERY DAY. Even if you’re an extrovert. 

5. Don’t cut your diet to soda and candy.
          This can be a huge temptation at camp. There’s candy everywhere and soda and coffee shops. Often, camp food can be gross. If you know that you’re going to a camp that hasn’t gotten down how to serve decent food, then please bring some protein bars, snacks and/or fruit.
          There was a camp I went to a couple years that simply never had enough food for everyone! My cousin convinced me to bring protein bars and I was so thankful.
          Also, drink lots of water.

6. Plan ahead.
          Come to camp with a spiritual goal. Plan ahead for the camp by bringing whatever you need, but also plan ahead for life when you get back home. Keep going in home at the forefront of your mind.

7. Make sure others have the BEST week or weekend of their life!
          I’ve heard it said that the best way to have the best week of your life is to help someone else have the best week of their life! And I wholeheartedly agree! Use this as a time to grow closer to your church friends.
          A camp is a great atmosphere and place to have deep conversations with your friends and get to know them better.

          Those are the things I’ve learned from going to tons of camps throughout the years. Even if you’re the “party pooper” by going to bed early, if you launch back into life better and strengthen your routine, I think it’s worth it.
Of course, there are so many things like injuries that can happen at camp. My sister walked into a window and seriously injured her nose (she thought it was really funny though). I got a concussion at a camp (and I did NOT think that was very funny). ;) You can’t plan for those things, but           God is working through every circumstance!
          If you could get one thing out of this blog post, this is what it would be:
          Live at camp in such a way that makes you stronger when you get home.
          For more articles on this topic, please check out this one on The Rebelution, and if you want to read about what I learned last year at church camp, read this one

What are some of the things that you have learned at camp? Any tips to share? Which is your favorite of mine? What has been your favorite camp ever? Share in the comments!

Anastasis Faith / Author & Editor

Anastasis is a Texas girl who enjoys writing, blogging, and music. You can connect with her here on her blog, or at morningglorypursuingjesus @yahoo.com

2 comments:

  1. Great thoughts! I have mixed feelings about camps. I won't be going to one with my church this year, because, as an introvert, it was exhausting! But I will be going to a more low-key music camp in July, and I'll be keeping these things in mind :) Hehe, it is sooo tempting when the cafeteria has ice cream and cookies every day!

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    1. Thanks for reading and commenting, Olivia! As a fellow introvert, I can completely understand where you're coming from. This is my first year in forever that I won't be going to church camp. Instead I'm going to GirlDefined's Radical Purity Conference (https://www.girldefined.com/conference) that weekend with one friend.

      Last summer was pretty much back to back traveling and camps, which was great but also a LOT for this introvert. I understand how you feel. It helps, when going to church camp or something else, to have a core group of friends. Or even just one close friend. A "default" friend, if you will. :P It helped me SO much.

      LOL! I know the struggle!! :D Thanks again for reading and commenting, Olivia!

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