How to Balance Camp and YOUTH 2019
By now most have you have received or seen promotional information for the United Methodist’s National Youth Event or Youth 2019. In past events, they have taken placed in the latter part of June, so most groups found it “doable” to attend the youth event and their regular session of summer camp. However, in 2019, the event will take place in July, right smack dab in the middle of camp… as a person in ministry with young people in BOTH youth ministry and camping ministry, I find myself torn. I believe in and value the camp experience for each and every young person, and as well, I know the power of this national event on the faith formation of young people. To be in that place with THOUSANDS of other United Methodist youth in worship and service and fellowship is second to none. So WHAT IS A CAMP PERSON TO DO? I suggest, make Youth 2019 part of your summer camp program! I have done this with past events as in my home Conference we have some very small youth groups that did not have the numbers or resources to attend as a youth group. So, we ran it as a week of camp so individuals could sign up and attend. Consider the following as ways to support BOTH important ministries for our young people.
- Offer it as a week of camp- In previous years, I did not run my senior high program during the week of the National Youth Event. I sought funding for 2 chaperones through Camping and Young People’s Ministries through the Conference and had individuals sign up through our camp registration system. The price included the event and coordinated transportation. I also collected forms needed for both the event and my chaperones, registered the group and arranged for the extra day activity (last time it was in Florida on a Disney property).
- Offer it as a part of their camp experience. Have a group attend the event with some of your staff, then return to camp for a few days to debrief and apply their experience from the event to their life of faith through a few days of reflection and further processing at your site.
- Just don’t offer senior high camp during the week of the event, so if their youth group is attending, they don’t feel that they have to choose between camp and the event.
Bottom line, there will be those that will choose one experience over the other because of time or money or both. There will be those who will choose the event because it only happens every four years or they aren’t a “camp person”. I will say, the year I ran Youth 2015 as a week of camp, it gave me the opportunity to have a connection with young people that I had not connected with before, and a few of them tried out camp the next year as a way to reconnect with the youth they had met at the national event. I feel it is our responsibility not to feel we are in “competition”, but to embrace and support the many ministries outside of the local church that helps in creating Disciples of Jesus Christ for the Transformation of the World.