VBS DAY CAMP
Day camping involves a planned program of experiences for children in an out-of-doors setting during the day. It can be conducted at the church, making use of the parking lot and other available nearby space; at a local park; at a nearby state park or resort area; or anywhere that camp-like activities can be conducted.
The director has overall responsibility for the camp. Duties include: (1) stating the basic objectives of the camp; (2) deciding on the location of a campsite and becoming familiar with this area; (3)outlining a suggested schedule of activities; (4) reading the curriculum materials which are used; (5) organizing the publicity; and (6) correlating the day-camp activities with the total Christian education program of the local church.
VBS Day Camp is an open-ended program, offering many of the opportunities of resident camping (nature study, recreation, crafts, outdoor education, and fellowship) without the extended absence from home.
Program activities include:
Bible Adventure Time: Usually the regular VBS curriculum materials are used. The counselors are responsible for telling the Bible story each day, making maximum use of visual aids. They help the campers learn the suggested Bible memory verses and carry through on other activities as suggested in the teacher's manual. Classes are informal and are held outdoors to make it more like "camp."
Worship: The program should include both planned times of worship and spontaneous worship. (The outdoor setting will prompt the latter.) Counselors who are alert will find many times when campers can be led into a genuine experience of recognizing the presence of God.
Singing: Appropriate songs help lead into a worship experience. Singing also helps to bind the campers into a whole unit.
Games and Recreation: These should be well-planned, have a definite purpose, and be supervised carefully.
Crafts: Materials found in an outdoor environment should compose the basis for the craft activities. Possible projects are making a nature collage, a terrarium, spatter leaf-prints, nature boxes, and seed pictures.
Outdoor Fun: Various activities centering around nature study give the campers opportunity to use their God-given senses of seeing, hearing, feeling, and smelling. Examples are: following nature trails, flying kites, studying the growth of trees, taking discovery hikes, bird watching, plant observation, and so on.
Field Trips: Opportunities in a local area might include trips to a museum, art gallery, planetarium, newspaper office, zoo, or manufacturing plant.
Special Feature Time: The creativity of the director and counselors may be given full use here. Some ideas which have been used successfully are: Hat Day (everyone wears a hat, and the hats are judged in such categories as funniest, most original, ugliest, prettiest, and campers' choice); Peanut Hunt (some peanuts are marked with numbers; when time is up - teams count the number of peanuts found and get a bonus for the specially numbered ones); Treasure Chest Day (everyone receives a free gift); videos; and lunch hike.
Lunch: Each camper brings a sack lunch. Drinks are provided.
Group vs. Activity Organization - Most day camps are organized for programming either according to age-grade groups or according to activities.
Group Organization - Major part of program handled by regular counselors:
1. Since the counselors are constantly with the same children, they become well-acquainted with individual problems and habits of each camper.
2. Tends to develop well-rounded counselors.
3. Group sizes can vary.
4. Allows a camp to handle a much larger enrollment of children.
5. Easier to set up and administer. Movement to and from each area, supervision during every part of the camp day, and the bulk of the activities are all handled by the person running a group.
Organization By Activities - Children move from place to place and counselors remain at a specific area as specialists:
1. Counselors work in activities for which they are particularly well-qualified and which they enjoy.
2. The children are exposed to many talented teachers, rather than just the one who heads their group.
3. Limits enrollment, as no group can be any larger than can be comfortably accommodated in the smallest specialty area.
Combinations and variations of these two types of programs are most practical!
Posted by BETTY BENSON ROBERTSON