How to Start a Kid's Worship Band Camp
You want to host a worship band camp for kids, but you don’t know where to start? We were in that boat last year. We had a dream, but we didn’t know where to begin.
The first step we made towards CampFire: Kids Worship Band Camp was to build a team. Casting vision is the most important step before implementing anything. We met with our pastor and church staff many times before pursuing this dream. We put the kid’s camp in the yearly budget and received approval and support before moving forward.
There is no way to produce a camp with one or two adults. It took 26 adults to host 35 kids in this camp. We had a camp cook, an activities director, 11 instrument teachers, a janitor, theory teachers, van drivers, chaperones, lifeguards, decoration team, and many more. We learned that we needed even more workers than we had. It takes an army to train an army.
My husband created a website for CampFire where parents could get information, register, and ask questions. I worked with a fantastic graphic designer (Eric Hurtgen: ) to create our camp logo which we turned into postcards, tshirts, and banners. We created a facebook page and encouraged everyone we knew to share the posts. We mailed out packets of info to local churches and Vineyard churches in our region. We tried to make our camp available to anyone who wanted to come.
I love to organize. I am a type A administrator at heart. The details of this camp were complicated and consuming. I worked on camp stuff everyday for 5 months. It was like a full time job.
I created a folder for each camp staffer that included the camp staff contact information, the camp schedule (which was always changing), the menu, the daily goals for each instrument group, a map of the building with the room assignments for each class, a list of the teachers and helpers with each of their students which were divided into color groups with adult color group leaders, and a copy of the camp song.
I created a camp folder for each camper that included the schedule, the list of color groups with their teachers, a map of the building, music theory worksheets, name tags, and pencils.
I recruited teachers and volunteers and had countless phone calls, meetings, and facebook questions. I conducted a staff meeting 2 weeks before camp so that every volunteer would know exactly what was expected from them.
Before camp, we ordered rubber arm bracelets for each color group. We took orders for camp tshirts and ordered tanks with our camp logo on it. We downloaded lots of fun songs on the church ipod for games and free time. I researched games and relays for free time and pre-service.
We ordered all of the decorations and our awesome decoration team put all of these pieces together. They put up a colorful backdrop on stage, created fake trees and tents, along with a campfire to go along with our CampFire theme. They made signs out of wood that directed everyone to their classroom. They turned the café into a mess hall and all of the children's church classrooms into music centers.
When a parent registered their child for camp on our website, they informed us of allergies, instrument choices, and contact information. The website then directed them to paypal for their $125 payment. We had scholarships for several families who could not afford camp, but we truly believed it was important for parents to put value on what their kids would be learning throughout camp.
When the parents brought their child to camp on the first day, they filled out a medical release form and stapled a copy of their insurance card to the back. The student received their folder, their color bracelet, and their tshirt. This made registration so much easier. I am so happy we funneled all registration through one website.
I thought that all of the hard work was behind me when we finished registration. I even made plans to have meetings with people throughout the week about other things. I laugh now, because this camp was the busiest week of my life, since my wedding week. I didn’t sit down for 12 hours at a time. People were asking me questions one on top of the other every 5 minutes. I was transitioning the campers from one class to the other, leading meetings, dealing with discipline, talking to parents, making sure plans were in place for the next session or the next day. I barely ate. I didn’t see my own kids throughout the week, and I came home crying and exhausted every day. It was a lot.
I learned two valuable things from this part of the experience. 1. I need more volunteers who are willing to give their life to this camp for the entire week and give them authority to carry out their posts. 2. The spiritual warfare that surrounded a camp teaching kids how to be worship leaders was equivalent to some heavy warfare I experienced in Muslim countries. The enemy was out to destroy and I didn’t catch on to what was happening until the middle of the week. Next year, we will have more intercessors surrounding the camp from the first day registration opens online until the floors are mopped up afterwards.
I share all of these details because I believe this camp can and will be reproduced many times over. This is my dream, but I will share it with whoever will listen. I encourage every church to find ways to teach kids how to be leaders, not just participants. Maybe your church is full of dancers. Host a Kids Dance Camp. Maybe your church takes pride in powerful missions projects. Host a Kids Mission Camp. Our church just happens to be full of accomplished worship leaders and songwriters. We hosted a Worship Band Camp because it’s what our community is anointed to do.