For many parents in need of childcare, day camps are a fun alternative to a traditional setting. They offer fun activities, games, crafts, and often times are centered around a theme. School-aged children can go and have a great time, without the risk of becoming bored. A church looking for fun and creative ways to reach children and families I their community would be well-served to consider starting a Christian day camp.
Starting a Christian day camp is not as daunting of a task as it may seem at first. It takes time, organization, and careful planning, but if simple steps are followed, it can actually be quite simple. Following is a list of the steps that need to be taken:
1. Assess the Need – Before you do anything else, determine if there really is a need for a day camp in your community. Talk with parents, search out surrounding childcare options, and determine if there would be an interest. Make sure that the Christian day camp would be a service to the people you are trying to reach.
2. Determine Insurance – Meet with the proper personnel and let them know of your plans to start a day camp. Most general insurance policies should cover the activities of the day camp, but you may need to get some additional insurance.
3. Pray – Begin praying for the day camp. Nothing of significance will happen if you do not lift it up in prayer, so begin praying now and do not stop! Organize teams of people to be constantly praying for every aspect of the program, from the advertising, to the staff, to the children, to the parents.
4. Recruit Teenagers to Help – Although day camps are intended for school-aged children, teenagers can easily be the most impacted by an effective Christian day camp program. Having teenagers take time to serve, either as volunteer or paid staff, can give them a way to help shape the lives of younger children. It also encourages them to grow and mature, and eventually take on more responsibility. Plus, teenagers are can help build a lot of excitement about the program.
5. Design the Program – How long are you going to run the camp for? What is the theme going to be? What will the key Bible stories going to be? Are you going to take field trips? How much are you going to charge for the program? These are all questions that you need to answer when planning out the program. You may want to consider doing a limited or trial run as you get started with your program.
6. Spread the Word – Send out letters to parents in the community, send fliers home with students at school, put up signs about your day camp, and put an ad in the newspaper. If possible, have a local news station do a segment on your new venture. You need to get the word out that you are going to be providing a new service for children in the community.
7. Stick to the Plan and Pray – Don’t worry about trying to make the day camp perfect. If you have a detailed outline of the program, stick to that as much as you can. But be flexible and willing to go with the flow if things don’t go exactly to plan. And don’t forget to pray!
8. Make Sure the Kids Have Fun – The most important thing is for the kids to be safe, but a very close second is that they have fun. So make sure you let them be kids, and have a great time.
A Christian day camp will allow you to meet different children and their families, tell them about Jesus, and begin building relationships that could last for eternity.
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