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YOUTH WORKER'S IDEA STATION

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Camp and Retreat Ideas

These are ideas that have been used successfully!

CREATE UNUSUAL MEALS THAT ARE FUN.

How about an over-the-fire dinner? No, we don't mean hot-dogs on a stick - that's pretty time-worn. What about Camp Kebobs? For each person, have a quarter of a pound of meat, a half a potato, and a half an onion. Each teen should get his or her own "kebob" stick. Cut the meat into 1 inch squares. Cut the potatoes into thin slices. Cut the onions into lengthwise sections. Spear the food on in this pattern: 1. meat 2. potato 3. onion. Keep up this pattern until all of the food has been used - make sure the teens sque-e-e-e-ze it all on! Then dip the entire food length into cooking oil. Have a large bed of live red coals raked to the side of the fire for the cooking. Make sure the teens constantly rotate the stick to ensure even cooking.

TREASURE HUNT - A GREAT CAMPING GAME

Very few events get the teens going like a Treasure Hunt. Find a small chest or knapsack and fill it with Snicker Bars. Double-wrap it in garbage bags and bury it in the woods, about six inches under the soil. Maps are handed out to each team, but the directions could be in rhyme or in directional code, instead of the usual "right" or "left".
Some direction samples would be:
"Head ten paces o'er to the lake,
then look at the log with the mold;
Then head south and stop at the red painted rock,
Hurry! The treasure grows old."
You may have clues all through the woods, tacked up so nobody may remove them, or you may have the teens come back after finding an answer and relay it to an adult. The adult rewards a correct answer with the next page of clues. For example, if the poem says to count the boards on the dock, the teens who come back to the lodge with the correct number get the next three clues.
To add to the suspense, each team must carry a raw egg throughout the hunt. If they should break the egg, they must return to the lodge and sit one minute before they receive another egg.
We played a variation of this once at night. Flares were lit along certain roads to help in locating spots. Each team could carry one flashlight. Various adults were playing guerrilla warfare - they could attack at any time and try to break the team's egg.

Theme idea: DEDICATE THE WEEKEND TO LEARNING ONE BOOK OF THE BIBLE.

For instance, you could call the weekend the "Jude" weekend or the "Mark" weekend. Naturally, you wouldn't be able to hit the whole book in two or three days, but take a chapter at a time and have 40 minute classes teaching the truths of that chapter and how it relates to teens' lives. Make a small notebook for each attending teen.
Example: On Friday night, the evening message could be on Mark 1. Saturday mid-morning is on Mark 2. Saturday afternoon is on Mark 3. Private "God and I" devotional time is on Mark 4. Then the final gathering would be discussion on these four chapters.

START OFF WITH A FAST CAMPING ICEBREAKER.

Upon arriving at a "primitive" campsite, you can assemble a quick game that will get the teens involved immediately and alleviate a little "first-hour" jitters. One of the first things you can do at a rustic campground is to organize teens into teams of five or six and have a tent-assembly race. The first team to fully raise and assemble their tent will be the first in line at the chow hall for dinner.

CAMPING IDEA: let the teens cook!

One of the most fun ways to get tens involved in the camping experience is by having aluminum-foil cooking. Don't let the teens miss out on a fun part of camping life - cooking for themselves - especially over an open fire! Use the heavy duty foil and make sure that you double fold on all seams - you don't want the juices to run out.
Punch a couple of holes in whole potatoes. Add butter and salt and them wrap 'em up.

Take a fish fillet, wrap a veggie or two in with it along with some butter and seal the whole thing. Lay it on the red coals and listen to it sizzle. A whole meal!

Season some pre-cooked meat. Believe it or not, stuff it into a hollowed-out tomato, pepper, an onion, or even an orange! Stick it on the hot coals for at least ten minutes. You will be amazed at what a simmering job will do to the taste of this meat.

Corn on the cob can't be beat when you wrap it and set in on the coals! Add a pat of butter before wrapping.


SPECIAL EVENING ARRIVAL DISPLAY
Want to add a little spice to your summer campout or retreat? Arrange for the teens to arrive at the campsite after dark. Have some of your adults cover the area in white Christmas lights. We did this a couple of times with church campouts and multi-church youth gatherings. The effects always starts out the weekend with an air of the unexpected and a touch of excitement. Many parents will lend you a couple of strings for the weekend.

START OFF WITH A FAST CAMPING ICEBREAKER.
Upon arriving at a primitive campsite, you can assemble a quick game that will get the teens involved immediately and alleviate a little first-hour jitters. One of the first things you can do at a rustic campground is to organize teens into teams of five or six and have a tent-assembly race. The first team to fully raise and assemble their tent will be the first in line at the chow hall for dinner.

DURING THE COURSE OF THE CAMP, DEDICATE AN HOUR OR TWO TO TEACHING VARIOUS CAMPING SKILLS.
An easy but interesting one is to show the teens how to waterproof matches. Wooden matches can be made weather-proof by waxing them. In small groups, have the teens assemble as you hand out wooden matches and have them dip them in heated paraffin (you can buy paraffin at many supermarkets). Have some small empty instant-coffee jars available as well. The jars are the waterproof containers that will store the matches.

DEDICATE THE WEEKEND TO LEARNING ONE BOOK OF THE BIBLE.
For instance, you could call the weekend the "Jude" weekend or the "Mark" weekend. Naturally, you wouldn't be able to hit the whole book in two or three days, but take a chapter at a time and have 40 minute classes teaching the truths of that chapter and how it relates to teens' lives. Make a small notebook for each attending teen.
Example: On Friday night, the evening message could be on Mark 1. Saturday mid-morning is on Mark 2. Saturday afternoon is on Mark 3. Private "God and I" devotional time is on Mark 4. Then the final gathering would be discussion on these four chapters.

HAVE A COUPLE OF "BACK TO NATURE" CONTESTS YOU WOULDNT BE ABLE TO DO BACK IN THE CITY.
One of the contests that evokes a lot of excitement is the Fire-Building Contest. Scrub out areas clear of any brush for 6 feet around. Make one circle area for each team - even have the circles about five feet apart in a straight line. Dig a shallow hole in the center of each circle. Dig a shallow trench around the perimeter and ring each area with rocks. Put a five gallon bucket of water next to each fire area.
At eight o'clock in the evening, blow a whistle and start the timer. Each team has 20 minutes to build as grand a fire as they possibly can. Your teen staff will be judges for this. Perhaps they can vote on the highest flame or the best fire "design" (is the fire log-cabin or pyramid structure... or just a jumble of sticks?) At 8:20 p.m., blow the whistle and send the teens to another activity while the judges take ten minutes to judge the best fire. Gather the teens back at 8:30 and announce the winner. The great part of this competition is you now have your lighting for the evening service!

ON THE WAY TO CAMP...

If you are taking the youth group on a trip for more than an hour's drive, give them something to do: a contest! Gather trivia questions (like on my pages) and other games and make a small booklet. It might be three pages stapled together; that's okay. Attach a pen onto it. As soon as you are ten minutes down the road, pass the booklets out and tell your teens that the first one to complete the book correctly will win free eats at McDonalds at the next stop. Let teens work in pairs. You'll find out that the ride itself becomes a lot of fun.

START OFF WITH A FAST CAMPING ICEBREAKER.
Upon arriving at a "primitive" campsite, you can assemble a quick game that will get the teens involved immediately and alleviate a little "first-hour" jitters. One of the first things you can do at a rustic campground is to organize teens into teams of five or six and have a tent-assembly race. The first team to fully raise and assemble their tent will be the first in line at the chow hall for dinner.

Now, scroll down below the picture for some other tried-and-true ideas.

Stream 2

AS BEST YOU CAN, DO NOT ALLOW "SPECTATOR" ATTITUDES.

Many teens dont enjoy camping "because there is nothing to do." Don't do all the work yourself when there are teens who would like to get their hands dirty. Remember, if you keep your teen involved and give him "ownership" in the different areas of the camping trip, he will be much more enthusiastic.

-Teens can set up the bonfire wood for the evening campfire.
-Teens can perform skits, practicing them for the evening's program.
-Teens can help cook the meals.
-Teens can lead in prayer or song before the teaching times.
-Teens can give two-minute testimonies.
-Teens can set up the sports field.

DEDICATE THE WEEKEND TO LEARNING ONE BOOK OF THE BIBLE.

For instance, you could call the weekend the "Jude" weekend or the "Mark" weekend. Naturally, you wouldn't be able to hit the whole book in two or three days, but take a chapter at a time and have 40 minute classes teaching the truths of that chapter and how it relates to teens' lives. Make a small notebook for each attending teen.
Example: On Friday night, the evening message could be on Mark 1. Saturday mid-morning is on Mark 2. Saturday afternoon is on Mark 3. Private "God and I" devotional time is on Mark 4. Then the final gathering would be discussion on these four chapters.

CREATE UNUSUAL MEALS THAT ARE FUN.

How about an over-the-fire dinner? No, we don't mean hot-dogs on a stick - that's pretty time-worn. What about Camp Kebobs? For each person, have a quarter of a pound of meat, a half a potato, and a half an onion. Each teen should get his or her own kebob stick. Cut the meat into 1 inch squares. Cut the potatoes into thin slices. Cut the onions into lengthwise sections. Spear the food on in this pattern: 1. meat 2. potato 3. onion. Keep up this pattern until all of the food has been used - make sure the teens sque-e-e-e-ze it all on! Then dip the entire food length into cooking oil. Have a large bed of live red coals raked to the side of the fire for the cooking. Make sure the teens constantly rotate the stick to ensure even cooking.

Stream 2

DURING THE COURSE OF THE CAMP, DEDICATE AN HOUR OR TWO TO TEACHING VARIOUS CAMPING SKILLS.

An easy but interesting one is to show the teens how to waterproof matches. Wooden matches can be made weather-proof by "waxing" them. In small groups, have the teens assemble as you hand out wooden matches and have them dip them in heated paraffin (you can buy paraffin at many supermarkets). Have some small empty instant-coffee jars available as well. The jars are the waterproof containers that will store the matches.

START OFF WITH A FAST CAMPING ICEBREAKER.

Upon arriving at a primitive campsite, you can assemble a quick game that will get the teens involved immediately and alleviate a little "first-hour jitters." One of the first things you can do at a rustic campground is to organize teens into teams of five or six and have a tent-assembly race. The first team to fully raise and assemble their tent will be the first in line at the chow hall for dinner.