Camp Survival Guide: The LONG Drive Edition

Hey Friends and Happy Memorial Day!

It's summer time so that means it's almost time for CAMP! If you've ever gone to camp, you know that you get busy thinking about everything that you're going to do at camp, but you might not always think about what you're going to do on your way there. Here are my favorite ways to survive the ride. Hopefully this will help you keep your “witness” after a 30 hour bus ride to camp.

  • Pack a few protein bars in case the air goes out on the van and you're sweaty and Burger King breakfast doesn't sound good.
  • Pack “Bus boxes.” Get a small plastic container and put: extra roll of toilet paper, feminine products, Lysol, trash bag, and hand sanitizer. These items are helpful if someone sadly gets sick. 
  • Separate guys and girls when the sun goes down. Enough said.
  • Sit with another counselor or small group leader instead of a student. I like to walk around and get to know new students or visitors I don’t know well. If you sit with a student, they can feel weird or insecure or just not have as much fun if they’re left for a long time. A leader on the other hand will probably be thrilled to have 6 inches of leg room.
  • Be hospitable to the driver. Set the example to model kindness to the driver. Share the gospel with them. Make sure he or she has enough caffeine and is well fed. On several trips students lead the driver to Christ. Yes and amen.
  • If your bus has tvs, pack great movies. Throwback to older movies. It's likely that students haven't seen them in awhile and they're usually cleaner (comparatively). Examples: The Princess Diaries, Space Jam, The Little Rascals, Home Alone, Cheetah Girls, and Aladdin.
  • Load your phone up with great music. This is not for background music because you want them to talk. The music is for games!
  • Song Game: Finish the Line. Divide them into teams. Boys versus girls. 11th graders versus seniors. Left side of the bus against the right side of the bus. You get it- make the teams. Pick a song that they will know and let the chorus play for a few seconds turn it off and they have to sing the rest of the sentence. After they get the hang of it make it harder by picking older songs or making them sing the verse instead of the chorus. 
  • Song Game: Sing-a-long. It doesn’t have to be complicated to be fun. Pick a song they all know. Pick a few of them to sit in the front with the microphone (if the bus driver approves) and pass the microphone back and forth singing it and allowing the “crowd” to sing the chorus. My favorite: 9th grade boys loudly singing songs from A walk to Remember around 2 am as we headed to Florida one year.
  • Song Game: Dance off. Pick some fun music and let them dance in their seats. Walk around filming and make different shots slow motion and hashtag it. All the students will have major bus envy that they aren’t on your bus. (This isn’t your goal, I’m just warning you.)
  • When the bus breaks down, don’t panic. Everyone will look to you and feed off of your emotions- fear, complaining, anxiety. Ask the bus driver how long it will take. Call your student minister and ask if you can all walk to somewhere nearby (what a miracle if you broke down in a Sonic parking lot?!) You are the point person- be specific and calmly know the details, because parents might call. You’ve got this. Get your heart ready now. A bus always breaks down- it doesn’t matter if it’s the newest or oldest.

BONUS:

I've got 2 words for you: Body Pillow. Bring one along so you can bend your neck while at camp….

Praying you bear much fruit and have a blast not just at camp but on the way there! - Amy

*If you’re in a van, all these ideas can be used or tweaked.