Have you ever seen the guide the Church puts out for planning camp? I’d been to 3 camps as an adult leader before I even knew of it’s existence! I think it’s a rather well-kept secret. If I have anything to say about it, it won’t be anymore. This guide can really help you with how to plan camp and how to pace yourself so it’s not a mad dash to finish right before camp. I wish I’d had it the first time I planned camp, for sure!
I prepared a quick, little guide to help you better understand how to use it and how it can help you plan camp.
Review the What, Where, When and Why of camp. The first three are pretty straightforward. I’d like to spend a little time on the why. It is so important to keep our purpose in mind as we plan camp. It will help us to reflect on why when the planning might seem hard or tough. It will also help guide our decisions when we’re discussing what to put in the schedule. If we know our purpose, it can help us to prioritize our activities for camp and make the most of the time we have together.
Prepare spiritually. The very first thing they suggest we do is prepare spiritually to plan camp. I have to admit, this is an opportunity for improvement for me. I could do a much better job of this. Imagine what could happen with camp when you fully enable the power of the Holy Ghost to help you in your planning!
Plan with a purpose. The questions in this section will not only help you pinpoint needs that can be met best at camp, but can also be used to focus your class presidencies and YCLs to identify the needs of the girls in their classes.
Choose a theme. This is a great, no-fail place to involve the girls in the planning. Let each class presidency suggest one or two ideas for themes and then vote on one.
Based on your selected theme and identified needs, plan camp. This can be a really good time to think about what you can only do at camp, versus during weekly activities. There are questions in this section that will help you to select the best activities for camp. Don’t overlook the right to revelation that your class presidencies have to help you do this.
Include certification. Every camp, I walk away wishing I had used certification to fill more of the schedule. I wonder sometimes, if we sell this short when it comes to helping us to plan camp.
Walk through of a typical day at camp. This can make it easier to make some decisions about what to do and when to do it.
Use the Youth Camp Leaders. I am a huge fan of empowering the young women to plan camp. If you have enough YCLs, I recommend using them as your planning committee and assigning one of them to chair the planning meetings. If you do this, make sure you assign an adult to advise her behind the scenes as she plans and prepares for each meeting. If you don’t have enough YCLs, I recommend using your class presidencies to fill out your planning committee.
Evaluate camp. This can help you so very much. All you have to do is use the questions in this guide to lead a discussion with the YCLs or class presidencies. Even using a few of them will help you learn from your camp experience. Two ways that these evaluations have helped us is to get ideas for the next camp and to get ideas for weekly activities.
What has your experience been with using this camp planning guide?