As a staff member at Beacon of Montana Youth Camp, you will be challenged in many ways. Here are a few pointers on things you can do to prepare for camp and get the most out of your experience – and give the most. This is written with a focus on overnight camp, but much of it also holds true for day camp.
- Sleep: Make sure you get lots of sleep the weeks proceeding camp. With the excitement of camp, it is not uncommon to miss out on sleep as we try to squeeze every once of benefit we can from camp. Don’t come exhausted or camp will be a struggle.
- Exercise: Camp is demanding on the body. We are in an outdoor camping setting (It is REALLY camping) and it requires a lot of exercise as we set up, travel to/from waterfront, base camp, paintball and other areas. Start working out at the gym or simply start walking a couple miles a day leading up to camp to get your body into shape.
- Sunshine: Spend time outside in the sun to get your body used to being in the hot sun and outdoors of camp. Go for walks. Work in your garden. Avoid the air conditioning. Sweat a bunch, because you’ll definitely be sweating at camp with the 90+ degree weather and lack of showers.
- Hydration: Drink lots of water and less (or no) soda for the weeks proceeding camp. Wean your body off the heavy desire for caffeine and sugar. When you are in an outdoor setting, nothing takes the place of keeping your body hydrated better than water. Train your body to like it. While there is limited coffee and sodas available at camp, most of what you will be offered is water, gatorade, mineral water, etc. so that your body stays hydrated in the heat. Nobody wants to go to the hospital in an ambulance due to dehydration, but it can (and has) happen if you do not take care of your body.
- Medication: Make sure you have any medication with you. Don’t try to ‘wean yourself off’ some form of medication while at camp. Your body will already be stressed due to the unfamiliar setting and the kids are depending upon you to be healthy for the duration of camp.
- Plan ahead – spend time every day getting ready. Make lists. Don’t rely on your memory. Don’t wait until the last minute to get things together. You’ll always forget something that will make you late, leave you frazzled and frustrated.
- Don’t plan anything on Friday or Saturday before camp except getting ready for camp and getting there. Don’t schedule a ‘last minute trip’ or meeting, or visit to the office on the morning you are supposed to leave or even the day before. Invariably, it will take longer than expected or not go well and you will come to camp already frazzled and upset. Give yourself plenty of time to get to camp ahead of schedule.
- Get to camp on time (based upon your job). If you arrive late, even if you are very well equipped, you will be wondering what you missed and spend the first period of time trying to play ‘catch-up’. Translation: frazzled again.
- When you get to camp, if possible, park your vehicle and plan to stay at camp. Every time you leave, it is distracting to both you and others, and it breaks your focus and lessons your ability to impact the kids.
- Come prepared to be a servant. Be an “I’ll Do Anything” (IDA) person. You will almost never be asked to do everything, but if your mental attitude is that you WILL do anything if asked, you are in a perfect mental position to get the most from camp.
- Make sure everything is taken care of on the home front so you can focus on camp and don’t have to worry about home. Is someone taking care of your pets? Is your work position covered? Camp will be a better experience if you have prepared appropriately and don’t have to worry about any of those issues.
- UNPLUG – Plan to unplug from technology for the week. Use your phone sparingly (if at all). Take a week off and forget the texting, phoning, computer gaming, etc. Get back to the outdoors. We’re CAMPING after all!
- Read your bible regularly and pray often before camp. Ask God to give you the right attitude and willingness to give the most and receive the most that you possibly can.
- Attend church regularly before camp. This will prepare help you to ‘put on the armor of God’ and be prepared.
- Beacon of Montana is a Christian-based community camp vs. a traditional ‘bible-camp’. However, the spiritual component of camp is core to it’s mission. Some things only come through the miracle of a connection with the Most High. Come prepared for the spiritual aspect of camp.
- Ask God to help you see the spiritual things going on, the supernatural, and to live in that spiritual place – and not just the natural. Ask God to help you see the hurting child that has put up a rough exterior and not just how he/she is being a ‘puke’ today.
- Pray for the kids even before you meet them. This is one way we ‘cultivate the spiritual field for battle’. The mission is spiritual, but it is walked out in the physical.