Gearing Up for Church Camp — the First-Timer’s Guide

If you’re reading this, you’re one of two people: 1) you’ve never been a chaperone to church camp before and are terrified or 2) you’re someone who needs to talk a potential chaperone into coming to camp with your group. If you’re in Group 1, HI! Welcome to what could be one of the most fun experiences ever! (And if you’re in Group 2, do you think that previous sentence was convincing…?) At Uth Stuph, we know a thing or five about church camps, especially summer church camps. We’ve been providing top-quality church camp shirts to groups for decades. Whether it’s a national camp like FUGE or your local camp put on by community churches, those summer camps can be life-changing for both kids and adults. So first-timers, buckle up! Here’s what you need to know before embarking on this adventure: 

You’ll be low on sleep. 

We’ll be upfront about this: you’re not going to sleep much. What most adults won’t tell you though is that their lack of sleep comes from a similar place as their students’: over-caffeination and pure excitement. It’s just a few days without your beauty rest, and trust us when we say that your students will appreciate your presence more than you know. 

The food will likely be forgetful, but not bad. 

Don’t quote us, but there’s a really high probability that your camp is going to be at a retreat center or college campus. The food there is made for the masses, not for individual tastes. Stick to a salad bar or embrace eating burgers for a week. Your middle schoolers will likely be eating slice after slice of pizza. Encourage them to at least eat a single vegetable each day, and remind them to hydrate with water (and not another glass of Dr Pepper). But hey, you’re not here for gourmet meals! You’re here for ministry!  (And also, you’re the adults. Make a group trip to Chick Fil A if you all can’t do another slice of pizza from the caf…)  

Camp counselors are your friends. 

Yes, we know they’re probably 18-20 and look like infants in your eyes, but we promise you, these camp counselors are capable. They’ve spent at least a month prior to your arrival getting prepped for campers. Get to know them if you can! They’re using the opportunity to grow just like everyone else who attends this summer. Camp counselors can also alert you and other adults to questions your kids might not ask you (ya know, because you’re boring and your kids see you all the time). 

Don’t be like Joey. Acknowledge that the counselors are cooler than you, cry a little about how old you are now, and move on. <3

You get ministry opportunities, too!

At a lot of summer camps, adults get their own Bible studies, recreation times, and opportunities to go on ministry sites! WOO HOO! Sure, some adults sleep through Bible study and skip recreation to grab another cup of coffee from the local coffee shop. (No judgment; most adults have done that.) However, if you’re wanting a moment to connect with the Lord in the same way your students are, make the most of these adult-focused ministry opportunities. Typically, what you study is themed to the same curriculum/passages your students talk about on those days. It gives you a better understanding of what they’ll discuss in small groups and offers a point of connection at dinner or when your kids are winding down for bed. 

You’re making memories that last a lifetime. 

Whether you’re staying nearby for camp or going across the country, you’ll have memories from camp that will last far longer than the weeks following camp. And (we know we’re biased in saying this) those group shirts you get from camp will hold special memories. We’ve had some ministers and group leaders hold on to those shirts for decades because the memories from that one week of camp were so potent!

Potential chaperones, we hope this blog gave you a bit of peace about what to expect for your first summer of camp as an adult. Group leaders, did we miss anything? Are YOU missing anything? If you are, check out our shirt designs for easy-to-customize camp shirts. We can at least take that burden off your shoulders while you try to convince other adults a week at camp isn’t scary… Give us a call at 800-242-9166, or fill out our super-simple form to grab a quote