Preparing Your Kids For Camp

Don't omit this important component

by Dick Gruber, D.Min./ June 6, 2022

It’s kids’ camp time again. I’d like to address the importance of preparing your kids to go to and enjoy the camp experience. I spoke in Wisconsin camp a few years back. When kids entered the campground, they could read a huge banner strung up above the chapel doorway. The banner read, “Welcome to the Best Week of Your Life.” I wish that were true for all kids attending AG camps this summer. For some, the inability to cope with the culture of Pentecost presented at camp can result in a less-than-stellar memory. 

Why Prepare Kids For Camp? 

Imagine yourself at nine or ten years old. You attend a great children’s church. Your children’s pastor runs a smooth, theme-focused, and variety-packed service each week. You choose to go to camp. You mow lawns and wash cars until you’ve saved enough to contribute to your own camp registration. Camp begins and the afternoon activities are more fun than you dreamed possible. It’s the first day and you’ve already won a relay, gone swimming with friends, and eaten a couple of good meals. 

Then the service comes. It’s much like your home children’s service but the speaker is talking about the Holy Spirit. Like the Ephesians of old, you haven’t even heard that there was a Holy Spirit. The presentation is foreign to you. The altar time is even worse. You attempt to unsuccessfully navigate the river of Pentecost so aptly presented in the camp meeting. Bedtime that night is full of questions and worry. You want to fit in. You want to understand. Why didn’t your children’s leader back home prepare you for this? 

How Can You Prepare Kids For Camp? 

As a camp evangelist and children’s pastor, I’ve witnessed the culture crisis that occurs when boys and girls come to camp unprepared. Here are a few suggestions on how you can prepare kids for this experience. 

  • Make the Holy Spirit a visible part of your children’s ministry. Talk about the Holy Spirit every week as you enter into worship, preach the final message, and lead in a response time. Kids should be familiar with who the Holy Spirit is and how He influences all that you do. Talk of the Holy Spirit should not be reserved for a once a year week in a strange setting.
  • Beef up your response times. Allow time for response at the end of your children’s service, club meeting, or class. Kids should be so used to prayer times being offered that it is no surprise when this happens at camp. I once talked with a children’s church leader who had not led an altar time in the previous three years of ministry. He was shocked and blessed when kids responded positively to his first “altar call.”
  • Talk with kids and their parents about the expectations of the Pentecostal move at the upcoming camp. Describe what happens at a camp altar. Begin to plant the seed that altar time at camp will extend to the home once camp is over. Assure them that kids will be allowed, not forced, to come to Jesus in new ways at the camp altar. If they’ve never experienced a Pentecostal prayer time, describe it and even lead the parents and children in one prior to camp week.
  • Provide teaching on the Person and work of the Holy Spirit in the weeks preceding camp. Design your approach to answer questions and calm fears before kids get on the bus in your church parking lot. *
  • Be a resource to kids and their parents before, during, and following the camp experience. Let families know that you will be there to answer questions, pray with and for children, and support parents beyond the camp week. 

Explore ways that you can prepare your kids for this summer’s camp. Do all you can to insure that this will be the best week of their childhood. 

*Curriculums such as Faith Case will assist you in this teaching.