Discomfort- this is a word that no one wants to hear when talking about a church event or retreat. After all, if you’re going to be spending a week or even a few days away from home, you want to be as comfortable as possible. Of course, no one expects luxurious perfection, but everyone expects some level of comfort.
So when it comes to church camp, what are some ways in which you can make teens feel as comfortable as possible? Keep on reading to find out.
The Living Quarters
While it would be completely unnecessary (and probably foolish) to make your teens’ living quarters into a five-star hotel, nice living quarters are always appreciated. Unless your church camp is advertised as a literal ‘camping’ trip, your attendees don’t come expecting to be herded into tents in the middle of the woods. When teens go away for a few days, one of the number one things on the list of things they miss the most is always their bed. The least you can do to make that longing subside is provide them with a clean, comfortable substitute.
Obviously, home-cooked meals may not be the brightest idea when you have over a dozen hungry kids to serve three times a day. But to the growing teen, food is of the utmost importance when staying at an unfamiliar place. Every meal may not be the greatest, and that’s okay. The best thing you can do is make sure that the food is edible, at least somewhat flavorful, and as nutritious and energizing as possible.
Church camp is what you make of it. If you are intentional in making the atmosphere light, relaxed, and fun, your teenagers will enjoy themselves much more. If your church camp feels like a penitentiary or a boot camp, the odds are that the comfort level won’t be very high. So how, exactly, can you work to keep all of your attendees in high spirits?
- Games – Let’s face it, teenagers (in general) have short attention spans and a high drive for fun. They are most comfortable whenever they are having fun with their friends in a way that doesn’t seem forced or contrived.
- Rules – You have to be tactful in how you present the rules. Don’t sugarcoat them, as the rules are in place for a reason and should be given honestly. But don’t make your teens feel like they’ll be in a cage all week, either. That feeling of oppression will only make them more likely to rebel.
Overall, it’s impossible to make church camp the most comfortable experience for everyone, but you should do all you can to ensure that each and every person feels welcome. If the outcome doesn’t reflect your efforts, perhaps you didn’t try hard enough- or perhaps things just didn’t work out. No matter what happens, the important thing to remember at the end of the day is that God is in control.
Special thanks to WOL Camps in FL and NY for sponsoring this article.