Do you go to a youth or church camp? What’s it like for you? For me, youth camp means a drive up into an area thick with pine trees and no internet or cell signal. It means turning off the power on my phone for a few days. It means sleeping in a tent for several nights, using a bathroom that’s full of spiders and webs, and if you want a hot shower, well you’ll probably have to wait in line because there are only two…a mens’ and a ladies’. It means drinking water from a natural spring, and if you want to swim, there is an icy pond full of water plants and an occasional snake or two.
I’m looking forward to going this year, especially with the hope of seeing and spending time with friends. But while my Church’s Youth Camp is always a blast for me, there are usually a few issues that spring up each year. After last year, I realized that there was some stuff that we could all do…or rather NOT do…to try and make things a lot more enjoyable for everyone.
I start with one of the largest problems first. Whenever there is a big group of teens together, especially with girls, there seems to be a lot of it.
Last year the people at my camp couldn’t be quiet about a certain girl there. I ended up having to personally apologize to her because nobody would shut their mouth. It was really quite shameful. The poor girl was probably becoming really uncomfortable. Thankfully, it only lasted a day or so and then everyone moved on and we all had a good time. However I do not want the same thing to happen again this year.
Disobey the Rules (even the little ones)
So last year at youth camp, we were all sent to bed at like 10:30…we were told to go to our tents NO SITTING OUTSIDE, we have to be IN OUR TENTS. All lights had to be out BY 11:00. Well, I’ll admit it, I was upset because WHAT’S THE USE OF BEING AT CAMP IF YOU CAN’T SIT OUTSIDE YOUR TENT AND LOOK AT THE STARS?!?!?! So a couple of my friends and I did anyway. Not for long. But we did.
Well, though I unfortunately do not regret doing it, I did realize later that I wasn’t setting a very good example. One of those girls was a younger girl who doesn’t attend church often. I know that I should have been a better testimony to her by following the instructions we were given, even if I thought they were unnecessary and overly strict.
Have a Clique
It’s easy, while you’re at camp, to congregate with just the people you know…after all, you KNOW them of course. It’s easy to stick by your closest friend and ignore everyone else. When it’s time to pick a partner for a game, you and your friend point to each other, and you don’t even notice if anyone’s been left out.
But this year I want to be better about not forming in cliques. I want to move around and talk to everyone. Maybe become partners with someone I haven’t really spoken with. I simply went to say hi to a girl last year, and we ended up becoming really good friends for the rest of camp! I even have a picture of us on my wall 🙂 So there is no telling what friendships can be started if we just put in a little effort.
Pretend to be Taking Notes (but really be drawing instead)
Okay…well I am not guilty of this one…at least not since I was younger and had an excuse. But I’ve noticed that it’s very distracting. A lot of the other girls do it, and not only does it consume their attention, but it diverts that of the girls around them too. They all end up leaning over this elaborate sketch of flowers and butterflies while the sermon passes by above their heads. Then one of the leaders notices and bans all notebooks, including mine, even though I was using mine to take notes on the message. Ugh!
Be a Distraction to Others
At my camp, the teenage guys…headed by none other than my very own brother…sit on the top rows of the bleachers during the services and throw chips of bark at the girls. So mature, right. 😂
(Note: I have yet to find out how this has escaped the leaders’ notice year after year?!)
Unfortunately, it can become quite a distraction to everyone involved. And that is only one example of a disturbance that takes place. I know I am not innocent when it comes to whispering during services, and doing other such things that make it hard for others to concentrate. So this year, I want to do better.
So with all that, if you’re going to camp this year, have fun! Be kind, reach out, and let’s make it the best year yet ☺
Do you agree with this list? Anything to add? Any funny camp stories? 😂 Comment!