Last week, I spent Monday through Friday with 70 kids at Kellogg Springs Camp in Southern Oregon. Yes, kids camp again. My job at camp this year was to run the activities, that is to say that it was my job to make sure that the kids had fun and want to come back next year.
If you have never been to Kellogg Springs, you are missing out-on a lot of hills. It seems as though the campground is on the side of a mountain, with lots of gravel, dust and dirt. I joke, but it is a really great facility, and the hills gave the kids a work out simply getting to their activities. I did’nt have any problems with kids being too rowdy at night, because they were so tired just from traveling. The directors had access to a golf cart, that really saved us from a lot of unpleasantness, (hills) and consequently we were able to stay up later and play German Uno into the wee hours.
The Celebrate U theme was about school. We asked the kids to come up with University names for their cabins, which they did, and our chapel sessions were put together well by our speaker. Our camp speaker was Brent Colby, he is the Children’s Pastor at Christ Memorial Church in Poulsbo, WA. Brent went along with the theme Celebrate U very well. He taught his way through the entire Bible, starting with Creation and went through Revelation all on the kids level and hit the important kids camp things: salvation, Holy Spirit, sharing God’s word, etc. It was really a learning experience for me as well as the kids. Our first chapel session was actually quite a bit like the first day of school, but in a really big class, and our last chapel session was the “Graduation” for the kids.
Activities went well, I had fun planning and carrying out the different games both in chapel and during the kids play time. Here are some of the games we played and some we did not but I planned for, in case you are interested:
Funky Dance: 2 kids had pedometers attached to their head, an arm and a shoe. The goal is to have more ticks on your pedometers than the other person.
Spelling Face: 2 campers and counselors face off (no pun intended) in this spelling challenge. Ask the audience for a word, and the kids race to spell that word out on their counselor’s face using the letters found in a can of alphabet soup.
Sticky Bears: several kids are selected and they bring their counselors up on stage with them. They lick and stick gummy bears to their counselor’s face. The counselor with the most bears stuck to their face wins.
M & M sorting: 2 kids compete using straws to suck up m & m’s from a bowl and sort them by color into different bowls. Its harder than it sounds.
Tissue race: Duct tape some tissue boxes to a table. Several kids race to pull the tissues out of the box one-by-one (otherwise they’ll reach in and pull it all out at once).
Blind taste test: Get the crowd in react opposite what they should when you show them what the kids are going to be trying. I started off with easy likeable items like Oreos and m & m’s. After I established trust, I got to the not so good food like baby food, tuna, and spam.
Human obstacle course: use about 10 kids to set up a human obstacle course, include moving obstacles. Blindfold 2 kids to go through the course, after the blindfolds are secure, have the kids in the obstacle course quietly sit down, then have the crowd shout instructions to the kids going through the course.
If you would like to try any of these game for anything at all, have fun! Many of the ideas came from the Minute To Win It website, and others came from my friend, and fellow kids pastor JP O’Connor.
The kids had a great time, according to the feedback that we got. Over the course of the week, there were a few kids who gave their lives to Christ for the first time, several who rededicated their lives to Christ, and a couple who were filled with the Holy Spirit for the first time.
One of the hard parts about camp was the remote location. There was literally no cell reception, and the camp hosts no wireless internet, so we were cut off from reality as we have not known since the widespread use of the smart phone. It was a great opportunity to unplug from electronic devices and plug into God (I know that was cheesy, but it is true).