By Stacey Oswald, West Michigan YFC

RMAs at camp are like an ice cream sundae. Work with me on this one. Let’s start with the toppings.

First, the sprinkles; the fun, colorful element that gives it so much appeal and excitement. Let’s be honest, sprinkles are contacting opportunities. When everyone is throwing messy goo and flour at each other, it gives so much pizazz to the camp experience. Group games, events, and meal times are perfect ways to connect with kids. It is an instant shared experience that creates fun conversations for later. Don’t hold back because the more sprinkles, the better.

Then you’ve got the ooey-gooey goodness called chocolate syrup. This adds depth and character to the sundae. Building times at camp are exactly like this. You will have so many opportunities to connect with your group and get to know them in a deeper, unique way. Octoball, basketball, Frisbee, swimming in the lake, tubing; these are just a few ideas you can do with your group to begin building a deeper relationship with them. Be intentional about planning things for your group to do together during free time. This is significant to creating depth with students in your group.

And now for the substance. The ice cream. This is what pulls everything together and makes an ice cream sundae so wonderful and worth the calories. You may be surprised at how open your students will be at camp during a one-on-one appointment. Schedule a time to meet with each student individually. Have them meet you at the camp store, grab some ice cream, and find a place on the lawn to talk. I learned more about my students in our one-on-one appointments at camp than I had in months of getting to know them outside of camp. There is something significant about removing them for the distractions of their everyday lives and putting them in a place where they see God’s love displayed and taught everyday. Camp creates an atmosphere conducive to incredible, deep conversations that give substance not only to your relationship with that student but to their relationship with God.

So when you are at camp and you see a hundred kids running around with ice cream, let that be a reminder to not take for granted your time with them. Enjoy the sprinkles, be intentional with the chocolate syrup, and remember the substance is worth the calories.

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