Bo Boshers Life-Changing Camps and Retreats

ISBN 13: 9780310201236

Life-Changing Camps and Retreats

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9780310201236: Life-Changing Camps and Retreats
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Camp! Just the word evokes all kinds of memories -- campfires and S'mores, water sports, games and competitions, and time with friends and leaders. Build it around creative programming designed to strengthen students to become fully devoted followers of Christ and you've got the purpose of Life-Changing Camps and Retreats. Youth leaders will find detailed guidance to conduct two unforgettable summer camps and two complete weekend retreats. Everything you need is here: a purpose statement for each program, plus complete programming ideas that include - games and competitions - message outlines - quiet times - photocopyable handouts - creative small group curriculum - program schedules ...and lots more! This year, head for camp with this proven resource from one of the country's premier student ministries -- and impact your campers with life-changing moments they'll never forget.

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About the Author:

Bo Boshers is vice president of student ministries at the Willow Creek Association and author of several books, including Student Ministry for the Twenty-first Century, Walking with God, and numerous other books in the Student Impact series. Previously, he served for ten years as executive director of Student Impact, the senior-high ministry of Willow Creek Community Church in South Barrington, Illinois. Bo Boshers es director ejecutivo del ministerio de estudiantes de Willow Creek Association y autor de varios libros, incluyendo La Fuerza G, Momentos de Vision, Ministerio de Estudiantes para el Siglo XXI y Conviertete en un cristiano contagioso, Edicion para Jovenes.

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Managing a Retreat/Camp The highlight for me at our retreat was the Saturday night Concert of Prayer. To see hundreds of high school students, arms around each other, singing to the Lord with all their hearts, was an awesome experience. To me, that is what student ministry is all about. One of my favorite moments at camp was seeing eleven buses, loaded with tired, but spiritually energized, students, pulling out of the camp parking lot heading for home. I knew at that moment that God had done amazing things in each of their lives and that they would never be the same again. Moments like these generally don’t just "happen." At Student Impact, we strategically plan for, pray for, create, build, and design the right environments for moments to occur. We believe that every youth worker can organize an effective and purposeful retreat if he or she takes five very important steps: define the purpose; pre- pare in advance; program for success; promote the event; and pray. Define the Purpose The first step in planning a purpose-driven retreat is to ask yourself some important questions which will help you to define the retreat’s purpose and general makeup. The following questions will get you thinking about ways to develop a purpose-driven retreat and assist you in being intentional at camp: 1. What do you want to accomplish with this retreat/camp? 2. What do you want the students to walk away with? 3. What are your ministry goals in relationship to this retreat/camp? 4. How many students do you think will attend? 5. How many leaders are available? 6. What would be a good, contemporary theme that will connect with students? 7. How can you make your theme come alive? 8. What is the best environment to accomplish your overall goals? 9. What resources do you have to contribute to this retreat/camp? · Monetary? · Talent? (Musicians, speakers, comedians, announcers, actors) · Volunteers? · Facility? · Time? 10. Who is the camp target—believers, seekers, or both? Where are your students at spiritually? What are their needs? 11. What is your ministry’s vision, mission, and strategy? How does camp fit into it? 12. How do you define "success" at camp? After you determine the "why" and "what" of a retreat by asking these kinds of tough questions, you can then pick a theme based on the retreat’s purpose. Creating a theme helps the programming team to plan more creative and effective programs. Evaluate your geographical location and use it to your benefit whenever possible. For example, if your ministry is near an ocean, try using some sort of beach theme. You need to create a theme for camp that will excite students and relate to their culture. Student Impact used an Olympic theme to coincide with the summer Olympics and built this theme around being a champion for Christ. In spite of the fun we have had with different themes over the years, there has always been a biblical principle woven carefully into the fabric of each camp/retreat. Camp themes should have a deeper spiritual meaning and tie into your ministry’s purpose. P Pr re ep pa ar re e i in n A Ad dv va an nc ce e After defining the purpose and picking a theme, the next important and often overlooked step is to prepare in advance. There are no shortcuts for the planning stage of building a successful camp or retreat. It is the detailed work at this stage that sets apart the novice from the profes- sional. Before we look into the specifics of prepara- tion, there is a retreat option that might be more in line with your needs. You may want to consid- er hiring a professional meeting planner who will assist you in your overall retreat manage- ment, including site selection, contract negotia- tion, registration, and on-site administration. A meeting planner is especially helpful if you use a hotel facility. Generally, hotels demand a high- er level of management and details, which a meeting planner is prepared to coordinate. In addition, a meeting planner may be able to negotiate a better contract with a hotel. Incidentally, his or her fee varies based on the amount of responsibility that you delegate to him or her. One of the most practical and helpful tools for effective retreat planning is a Retreat/Camp Notebook. Fill it with the following general categories: timeline, budget, facility, transportation, housing, food, meeting space, contracts, printed materials, and registration. Timeline As you plan a retreat with your youth ministry team, first develop a timeline (see Appendix D on page 182). All you need to do is plug in the dates when each of these tasks need to be com- pleted. Your schedule will vary depending on your group size and specifics of the camp/ retreat. Keep in mind that it is never too early to plan ahead. It is easier to make arrangements and alter them slightly than to be scrambling wildly to pull something together at the last minute. Budget Although accurate budgets are sometimes diffi- cult to estimate and time-consuming to develop, they are essential to a financially successful camp/retreat. A basic formula that Student Impact uses is this: All expenses divided by the lowest number of students who might attend the retreat. That way, if you only meet your minimum student attendance, you will still make your bud- get. Your financial camp goal should be to at least cover costs and break even. Before sitting down to develop a budget, you need to address some basic issues: 1. What is a reasonable amount to charge the students for the retreat? 2. Do you want to charge your leaders to attend the event? If so, how much? 3. Do you have any scholarships or money set aside for student assistance? If so, how much?

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