Summer Camp Survival Guide

It is that time of year again when youth workers across the nation begin gearing up for summer camp, a mission trip, or some form of outdoor ministry. It is a time filled with ritual and excitement, a time most of us have been working toward all school year.  Here is your list of items you must have to survive summer camp.


11. Clippers: Nothing says mission trip like a new fancy hair cut. It has become a tradition on our mission trip to shave most of the guys heads. It is a fun little activity, and I even had a bald spot shaved into my head a few years back. bald





300px-Duct-tape10. Duct Tape: Every youth worker needs to remember Duct Tape. You can use Duct Tape for everything – patching shoes or bags, quieting a middle school student (oh wait, don’t do that), and even quick repairs to the old church van.

9. Earplugs: We all know that worship band sounds as good as David Crowder and all music should be turnedearplugs up to 11.  But we need to protect our hearing so use earplugs. In a pinch, paper towels work as well but you might look a little silly. Besides, if you use ear plugs, then you can jump around with the students in front of the stage (Yes, I am that youth worker).

8. Instant Ice Packs and Mini-First Aid Kit: I know youth workers are responsible, but for some reason accidents happen at summer camp. We need to try and prevent them, but it is inevitable that someone will get hurt at the work site, in the mud pit or by a flying t-shirt. (Speaking of flying t-shirts if you need a t-shirt gun, and who doesn’t, check out micro mini, a great t-shirt cannon we use it at summer camp. Here is link
3007. Sun Screen: Nothing fancy here but all youth workers should have a bottle of sunscreen within easy reach. I usually buy a giant bottle in the beginning of the summer and keep it with me. You will always end up with those students who refuse to wear sunscreen, so keep a bottle of Aloe handy as well.

6. Multi Tool: Youth Workers can’t go wrong with having a multi tool around. Multi tools are great for quick repairs and are always handy to have around.

5. Fart Machine: You can’t really go on a mission trip without  bringing a fart machine. Yeah, I know they are immature and silly, but sometimes you’ve got to bring out your inner middle schooler. You can go old school with a simple whoopee cushion or you can invest in one with a remote. Nothing beats sneaking the fart machine into another groups van and pulling up next to their van and pressing the remote.


fakebugs4. Fake Bugs: Now your mission trip location may have plenty of real bugs already, however it doesn’t hurt to bring a few fake bugs as well.  Sneak them into sandwiches, sneakers, or in the bunks of other youth workers – the possibilities are endless. Just remember to do these at the end of the week so you do not end up in a prank war.

3. Bag of Candy: I always throw a large bag of individually wrapped candy in my duffle bag. It is great to have around on the work sight, or to use for small group, and it can be a great way to break the ice when you are meeting new students. Just make sure the students clean up the wrappers.

2. Extra Tooth Brushes: Every youth worker should bring a couple of extra tooth brushes to camp, especially if you are doing some outdoor ministry. It is inevitable that one or more of your guys will forget his tooth brush and if you are miles away from the nearest store you will certainly want to have a spare tooth brush. 300px-Toothbrush_x3_20050716_002

1. A positive attitude: While this might not be something you can actually pack, the best thing you can bring on any trip is a positive attitude. Anytime you take students away, it is inevitable that something will go wrong, whether it is a van breaking down, not having the right tools, or somebody getting sick.  Students watch their leaders every move and being able to think and active positive through any situation will carry you and your group through almost any mishap.

My prayer is that this summer every youth worker would experience an amazing blessing and movement of God, that with all the highs and lows that summer ministry brings, that each youth worker would feel secure in God’s embrace.



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