Each year we run a full on NextGen camp. For MLK weekend we take 3rd-12th grade to the same camp setting, but run three independent camps according to age group. Sounds crazy and perhaps impossible right?! The three age groups never bump into each other except for MS/HS sharing a large group program.
Think about it: 300-400 kids & adults running around for three days trying to figure out what’s next, when to eat and where to be is asking for complete chaos. As you know, doing this for one age group brings enough headache of it’s own. Instead of trying to keep up with camp books, or kids asking the cabin leader every moment, “What’s next?”…we did lanyards this year and I’ll never look back.
What you will need:
- Some decent skills in Photoshop.
- An editing team. Rely on others to confirm spelling and
- Plan in advance. Do this AT LEAST a month out from camp.
- Use your own card printer at church (most don’t have one) or FactoryMart.com
We printed our cards double sided, one side with the camp logo and the other side with the schedule. We printed three different batches of cards (each their own color on the front and stamp on the back) for the three different camps – HS – High School, MS – Middle School & E – Elementary. As a camp director and those leading at the top operational level we wore all three cards so we could easily see what was going on in each independent camp at one time. When I made the switch from summer to winter camp the first year on staff, my boss asked if elementary kids could come along the next year. I wouldn’t have it any other way! Working together with my NextGen team, we provide an incredibly organized and dynamic experience that fires on all cylinders for all age groups. Keeping with the same rhythm and dates each years builds more momentum for both leaders and students.
After doing camp books with schedules on them and having dozens of students and leaders lose them I’m not sure I will ever go back. It took me almost an entire day of work for to get the formatting right, but it was well worth it in the end. I guarantee it saved collective hours or even days on everyone’s part at camp trying to figure out what was next. If proof is in the pudding then sanity is in the lanyards.