The first Hungarton Camp morning startup activity was deliberately more random than most (With the smallest link to the morning teaching - if you looked closely). My idea was to take the campers completely by surprise and use a news item they would know and possibly care about, (and one close to my own heart): Unaccompanied child refugees.
I think the randomness took some of the tent leaders by surprise too, but they went with it - because that's how wonderful our leaders are :o)
The leaders of each tent had a jelly baby for every child in their tent... and one for themselves or course. (All hand wrapped by yours truly in the name of good hygiene!)
We asked the tent leaders to find a way of hiding the Jelly Babies in the tent - and then let the campers find them.
This is what the camper's booklet said: (Remember - these activities are designed to be a 5 minute prayer thought)
You've probably heard about all the refugees in the world at the moment. Many of them are Christians running away because they could be hurt or killed for following Jesus. Many are children whose parents have been killed because they love Jesus.
Jelly Baby Hunt: I hope you’ve had to hunt for them! They may have been lost in a smelly sock or wellington boot - and now, they are at risk of being eaten at any moment. But don't eat them yet!
Think: Child refugees have nothing - no sweets, no toys and no bed. It's not safe for young children to be in a strange country with no adults looking after them.
Pray: Dear Jesus. Please be with the children who are on their own in a strange country because their own country was too dangerous to stay in. Please keep them safe, and find new families who will care for them. Amen
You can eat the Jelly baby now because they are nice to eat, but every time you eat one in the future - remember all child refugees and pray for their safety.
I wanted the campers to be outward looking in their prayers for the first day, and looking at the prayer request cards in the prayer room, some of the campers really took it to heart - with some very long prayers written for refugees.
I also thought having a written prayer on the first morning would be helpful, especially for those to whom the idea of praying was a new experience.... and for those who didn't sleep due to excitement and would find it hard to string many words together!
Would I do anything differently?
I think I would prepare the tent leaders better!
From the feedback, they were a little surprised that there was no obvious link to the morning teaching (deliberately) and were worried that the campers would find it as random as they did. We don't normally do 'random' on this camp!
But as I said in my last post - that 'randomness' will give the campers a lasting impression. I wanted them to know they can come to God at any time in any place and talk to Him - about anything.
I think if I did it again I might follow it up more during the morning 'meeting', although reading the prayer room prayers, the majority appeared to have coped without that. But I'm always concerned with the few that don't connect for what ever reason - I want to grab their imagination too.
NOTE: If you're wondering - the teaching on this day was about Stephen - the first Martyr. I'll be doing posts on the teaching in the coming months.