We've been back from Hungarton Camp for almost a week - and it was brilliant! Great leaders, great children, fantastic weather, and a wonderful time had by all.
There was swimming and horse riding every day, and then a mix of a farm tours, circus skills, archery and craft - depending on the day. Of course, there is always the constantly available rope swing, bouncy castle, bouncy slide and trampolines.
Hubby and I were responsible for the morning teaching, and I was responsible for the prayer activities (And health/safety!)
In the following blogs I wanted to share just a few of the things we did with the prayer activities, and maybe later give you a run down of the teaching too.
You are welcome to use any of these, adapt them, and change to suit your situation.
Where I have used another's idea, I have attributed it, but some are difficult to do that with as so many versions are around on the internet!
The 'Morning Start' up on camp has gone through many changes over the years - It's the first thing we do with the children when they get up. In the past this has been a bible reading with questions and prayer.... but when children are still very tired from all the activity of the day before, plus barely awake and not had breakfast, even the most competent of leaders struggled.
So this year we decided to be radical.... we decided to leave the question bit in the evening tent time where they discuss the evening meeting's teaching, which generally - depending on the children - can go well.
Instead, each morning we did a random prayer activity, and also had a prayer room where the campers could process the morning teaching, and sometimes re-visit the morning payer activity.
The randomness was quite deliberate - keeping that edge means the campers are more likely to remember it, giving them a whole new perspective on what prayer can be.
With many of the children being visual learners, it seemed to work well. Instead of being disengaged through tiredness, boredom, or general disinterest, the majority appeared to connect with what we were trying to do (more so with some than others, but on the whole better). Of course - there are always some children determined not to engage, in the same way there is always one tent whose ultimate achievement is gaining minus points in the tent inspection competition! (And yes - one tent did manage this...)
As I said, some of the activities worked better than others within each tent group ... and I hesitate to say this, it's always easier to grab the imagination of the girl campers.
So, whilst keeping the activities simple, we tried to make sure the tent leaders could, with a little imagination, either step them up a gear for those who seemed instantly engaged, or simplify them more if needed - taking out writing being a prime example.
This camp is a huge mix of children - churched and unchurched, all with varying abilities and needs. It's hard to get these things right for all the campers - but I hope we have helped and encouraged the majority of campers to pray.
But - we have learnt lessons for next year so we can do even more to root children in meaningful faith. I also hope we can pass on the lessons we learnt as I write about each activity.