A Guest Post By: RITA MYERS of DATING WITH NATURE
Planning a camp or retreat for your church can be incredibly exciting, but at the same time quite stressful – especially when the threat of rain is looming in the clouds above your campsite. While sometimes it may be possible to prepare for incoming rain before your retreat, there are also some things you can do to make the most out of the rainy situation.
PREPARE WITH THE RIGHT GEAR
First thing’s first – nothing beats proper preparation. If forecasts predict a high chance of rain during your scheduled camping retreat and there is no way to reschedule it, you just need to make sure that you and all of your attendees will be well prepared.
This starts with bringing the right gear. A great item you can bring, that’s cheap and easy to make (if you prefer a DIY version), is a tarpaulin. A tarp can be used to protect your attendees that don’t have a waterproof tent or it can be used to create a nice little protected common area where everyone can gather together.
Before your retreat, encourage your attendees to bring waterproof tents (if they have any) plus other waterproof gear they may have, such as rain pants, a waterproof jacket, waterproof bags, and extra socks. Advise them to bring a tarpaulin and some rope if they can as well. Better yet, if you have the resources, bring as many as you can handle so your attendees can simply relax and enjoy the retreat.
Once the rain starts to trickle down, get the tarps ready and set up so if the downpour comes at full force, everyone will be protected. What you can do is set up a large table and some benches and use the tarp as your roof. That way, everyone can gather in your newly made “community table” to play games or have discussions outdoors while still remaining protected from the rain.
Just because it’s raining, doesn’t mean that everyone has to haul up in a corner of the tent to wait for the rain to stop. If you’ve set up your waterproof community table from earlier, you can gather everyone together to discuss the topic of your retreat or to simply have fun and play some games.
A simple deck of cards can go a very long way – so don’t forget to pack them with you. Card games are also a great way to introduce everyone to each other. Charades is another really fun game you can play to get everyone comfortable with each other and an even better way to welcome any new attendees to your retreat.
Apart from games, you’ll find that the gentle pitter-patter of the rain combined with the refreshing air of the outdoors is the perfect time for reflection or an amazing atmosphere to conduct Bible study.
The key, once again, is to prepare beforehand and to come up with an entertainment plan that you can execute even if it ends up raining. There are tons that you can do so don’t worry! Just prepare!
COLLECT THE WATER
There’s something very uniting about collecting water from nature. Just like many of the women from the Bible would do during those times, collecting water is not only a way to benefit from the resources that God has provided but also a way to work together so that everyone has enough water to drink.
Just remember that it is very important to clean the water before drinking! You can do this by simply boiling it or by pouring it into your filtered water bottle – another piece of camping gear that you can encourage your attendees to get!
BUILD A CLOTHESLINE
A good camping “pro tip” is to build a clothesline before or even after it rains. Though you will most likely be tempted to just toss aside wet or moist clothes, you’ll end up extremely thankful for that simple piece of string when you realize your clothes have dried out and don’t smell like mold or dried up sweat.
Although this may seem like something so simple that it’s almost trivial, your attendees will definitely appreciate the little bit of effort and care you show them through this simple gesture. If it’s still showering lightly, you can build your clothesline under your tarp roof or under any shade available so everyone’s clothes can still dry out.
Remember that God gives us the rain to water the earth so the lands and the trees shall yield fruit (Leviticus 26:4). There are countless verses from the Bible that remind us that rain is a blessing bestowed by God, so what is there to do, other than to embrace it?
Let out your inner child! Put on some rain pants, hiking boots or even just sandals, and get out for a walk under the rain. It can feel very cleansing and you may feel some of your troubles washing away along with the rain. If your retreat includes children or teenagers, I’m sure they’ll enjoy a chance to play in the rain! If it’s safe, have them splash around in puddles or if you don’t mind them getting down and dirty, have them build mud castles.
Just remember to ensure the safety of everyone first and foremost. If the rain is too strong, the terrain too slippery or dangerous, focus on calmer activities like the ones mentioned earlier.
DON’T LET THE RAINS STOP YOU!
The only way to truly enjoy a camping retreat that has been caught in the middle of the rain is to embrace it and embody a true and grateful Christian with a positive attitude! Don’t let the rains stop you.
You probably know the saying – when life gives you lemons, make lemonade.
What better way than to make lemonade from the abundance that God has provided for all of us? After all, you can still make pretty amazing lemonade on your rainy retreat. Just remember to prepare beforehand, think of some “rainproof entertainment”, make the most out of the resources by collecting the water, show some extra care by building a clothesline, and finally, embrace the rain!
Rita is the founder of Dating With Nature, where she writes about her outdoor experiences – both good and bad, as well as tips and ideas she’s learned along the way and wants to share. DatingWithNature has all kinds of articles and information about everything to do with camping, hiking, and being outdoors. She is also a wife and mother of two boys; balancing her passion for being outdoors and her family, who she considers are her biggest joys in life.