Summer is almost here! Are you headed to camp this year? Download our free Packing List printable to prep for camp. Share this download with kids in your ministry so they can get excited about camp, too!
Camp is a great time to connect relationally with kids in your ministry in a distraction-free environment. There are no cell phones, no video games, no homework assignments, no sports team practices. CentriKid is an overnight camp for 2nd–6th graders to experience the time of their lives and learn more about the gospel message of Jesus Christ. Camps are staffed by college and seminary students who are eager to lead Bible Study, Recreation, Activity Tracks, and Worship sessions. Kids are grouped together by grade for Bible Study, by their choices for Track Times, and you all meet as a church group at the end of each day.
The environment of camp is a safe place to do new things.. This could be a new activity they are learning at track time or spiritual milestones or spiritual questions a child is wrestling with. CentriKid is where it is safe to be a kid!
What does “safe to be a kid” really mean?
A child’s spiritual life can be greatly impacted by their home environment, church involvement, and unique experiences like camp. CentriKid is committed to providing a place for kids to get away—even for a little while—to hear loud and clear that God loves them and has a plan for their lives. Safety in our programming, within relationships, and on campus are top priorities. We believe powerful things can happen when campers feel safe to be a kid!
At CentriKid, we promise to be:
We firmly believe that God’s Word transforms hearts. Our primary focus is ensuring that kids walk away from their time at camp with greater comprehension of who God is and what that means for their lives. Every year, every element of camp is centered around a central biblical theme throughout each day for the purpose of age-appropriate comprehension.
Trusting relationships are the foundation for vulnerability and growth. This is true for kids of all ages. Camp gives your leaders and kids a place to interact and bond for more than just an hour or two—meals, free time, and worship are all opportunities for spiritual conversations! Kids leave with lifelong friendships with believers their age. Every part of the CentriKid schedule is designed with a focus on relationship building.
Kids learn best through play. CentriKid provides an age-appropriate place for kids to be themselves, have fun, and encounter the love of Jesus. There are lots of fun summer options for kids, but CentriKid ensures that God’s Word is the focus of every part of our camp, including the fun stuff.
The 2021 Theme is “The Discovery”
This summer at CentriKid Camps, campers will discover what it means to be imitators of Christ. Jesus is the ultimate example that we should follow as Christians, and we will be taking a look at scripture (1 John 2:6) that helps us know Jesus and walk as Jesus walked.
What about COVID-19 safety?
The CentriKid team continues to monitor COVID-19 and has created a plan to help keep campers healthy and safe. Download the “2021 CentriKid COVID-19 Guide” and catch all our updates, at centrikid.com/covid-19-updates.
Jeremy is a husband and father. At work, Jeremy leads the CentriKid Camps team at Lifeway, and at home he loves to grill burgers, read, and coach his daughter’s basketball team.
There are so many benefits for a child who attends overnight camp. They will enjoy new activities led by the camp staff, visit a fun new place, and break up the routine of normal life. The adventures at summer camp bring life-long memories and help children gain confidence and independence. We want kids to hit the ground running so they can thrive in the camp experience, so here are three skills that parents can build now to help their kids navigate summer camp like a pro.
Train kids to start-up their day. Kids at summer camp need to make good use of their time and know how to get going with their day. Mom doesn’t have to put the daily clothes in a plastic bag. Maybe she could guide the selections while packing for camp, but elementary kids can start their day at camp with picking out clothes, brushing teeth, and getting shoes on. They might need a wake-up call from the adults at camp, but practice during the school year with a start-up routine so kids can pick out clothes and get dressed for the day at camp.
Equip kids to eat responsibly at camp. The food at camp is almost always a punchline, but food issues are no laughing matter. For first time campers, going through the line and making selections at a self-service dining hall can be a challenge. For campers with special dietary allergies, they need to be self-aware about safe foods or problematic ones. For all campers, the temptation to eat a whole box of cheese snacks at bedtime will be real … but that’s never a good idea! Before camp, your kids need to practice making choices for fixing their plate and cleaning up their table area, too.
Give kids practice with handling money. Most parents send their kids to camp with some spending money, but for some kids it is the first time they have ever handle money that is theirs to make decisions about. Prepare kids for the restaurant stop on the way to camp, the camp store, and considering the missions offering. I’ve seen kids hand a fast food worker their $20 bill for lunch and walk off, and I’ve also heard about kids who spend all their money on the offering and camp store and have nothing left to buy lunch on the way home.
Parents can role-play scenarios related to each of these at home to set them up for success at summer camp and for normal life. When kids come to camp taking care of these things, the church leaders and camp staff can focus their time and energy on making the amazing camp adventures into life-long memories!
For more on getting kids ready for summer camp, check out these tips for helping kids who are hesitant to stay away from home, and tips for preparing parents to send kids to camp.
Jeremy Echols joins Bill Emeott to discuss why camp can be a summer highlight of any kids ministry. Check out more at kidsministry101.com!
Jeremy Echols leads the CentriKid Camps and Student Life for Kids teams. He, his wife Emily, and their precious daughter love their church, their neighborhood, and spending time together. Jeremy loves to read, watch sports, and grill burgers.
Lydia McMillan and Logan Meek share about the benefits of bringing adults with you to camp. You’ll also get some tips to recruit adults to go with your group.
Lydia McMillan works on the CentriKid Camps team. She manages social media, produces videos, works with actors, and leads production elements. She is married to Joshua and they have two kiddos who keep them very busy.
Logan Meek leads the Student Life for Kids team. Logan joined the Student Life For Kids team in 2014 after spending two years as a Sixth Grade teacher with Teach For America. He believes in the importance of strong kids ministry to help kids build strong spiritual foundations.
Jeremy Echols, leads the CentriKid Camps team for Lifeway Kids , joins the podcast this week explaining what kids ministry leaders can do to effectively follow up with kids and families after an amazing week of kids camp.
As of the release of this episode, there are only 82 days left until its officially Summer 2017! Of course we all know that summer really begins way before the real season actually changes. So if you haven’t already begun thinking about and planning for your summer, now is the time!
On today’s episode, Jeremy Echols, who leads Lifeway’s CentriKid camps, joins the podcast to discuss the strategic nature of camp ministry and why you should make sure that camp is a part of what you do during the summer. Camp provides an opportunity for you and your leaders to build relationships with your kids that is unlike any other event you do during the year. So whether you currently do camp or not, this episode can help you think about how to strategically plan for your summer of ministry.
“Frustrating” “Fleeting” “Tech-addicted” “Entitled” You’ve probably heard these words when describing millennials. But what about “Creative” “Flexible” “Passionate” “Teachable”? Those words are at the heart of how God can use millennials and college students when they are well-led.
In this podcast, we get to talk to Jeremy Echols. He leads 30,000 people every summer. Well, not directly. That’s the point of this podcast. Jeremy directly leads a team of over 200 millennials to pull off one of the world’s largest camp organizations, CentriKid. You’ve got to hear these tips on utilizing this amazing generation of leaders. They are good, trust me. Here’s what you’ll get today.
- A summary of work that goes into CentriKid,
- Tips for tapping into the heart of millennials, including modeling and hands-on training.
- Creating a culture of service in order to lead college students to do what they do naturally.
Are you utilizing millennials well? Here’s some bonus material for you that we highly recommend.
Jeremy Echols (@coachechols) leads the @centrikid team, finds new camp locations, plans training, and lots of other projects. He met his wife Emily working camp, and their daughter #BabyMadison was born in 2011.
This year I was blessed to be able to serve as camp pastor for CentriKid camps at Austin College in Sherman, TX. It was a fantastic experience. One Sunday afternoon, I loaded my family up in our rented minivan (along with one of our “mannies”) and we headed on the long drive. When we arrived in Texas we were greeted by the most awesome staffers and had the most wonderful time for two sessions of camp.
Being at camp for a couple of weeks taught me several things and I want to share those with you today:
- The Gospel Matters, Even at Camp
- There are some who might say that kids should come to camp and have fun. Some might say kids just need to get away from life, and therefore, come to camp. One of the things that I was most impressed with at CentriKid was the focus on the Gospel. The kids were constantly busy and constantly having fun, but regardless of the activity, it always came back to Jesus. Through OMC, Weird Science, even Build It, kids were constantly being told about our Father and His precious Son, Jesus.
- Seeing Your Ministry Multiply Is AMAZING
- Serving with Team CK6 was extra special for me, because I had the privilege of serving alongside one of my former kiddos, Kelsie. I got to see her as she taught kids, loved on the kids, and built relationships. It’s easy to get into the “does what I do matter?” rut; however, God has a way of always nudging us along and allowing us to see through His eyes. As a KidMin leader, your impact on the world is immeasurable.
- CENTRIKID Is the Best Camp Ever
- As a kids minister, I took kids to CentriKid and was always amazed at how great of a camp it was. I was totally interested in learning about the “other side” of the camp. For months now, I have been on a CentriKid 6 Facebook group where the group got to know each other even before camp. While there, I was amazed at how “gelled” this group was. They loved each other, they prayed for each other, and they were constantly encouraging me and each other. I’ve said many times, I don’t know why anyone would not do CentriKid camp, and after having served on CK staff, I can promise you, it is legit. In my opinion, there is not a more Gospel-centric and kid-focused camp in existence. I so hope that I get to return to camp next year and am thrilled that my oldest son will be old enough to go to camp next year with our church.
Jeff Land loves life! That’s pretty great, because his job here at Lifeway is the Team Leader for Bible Studies for Life: Kids. Jeff loves his life which is so blessed by his amazing wife, Abbey, and their four sons, Reed, Nash, Will, and Tuck. A natural encourager and fun-lover, look for Jeff’s posts about teacher appreciation and game ideas. When not serving at work, Jeff serves 2nd graders at his church, First Baptist Church, Joelton, TN.
Going to camp is a summer tradition for many people. At some camps, families have been attending for generations. At CentriKid, we love it when parents have the opportunity to be a part of what their child experiences at camp. Here are four reasons for parents to attend camp with their kids:
1. The quality time away from distractions and normal busy-ness will be great for heart-to-heart conversations.
2. Parents can enjoy the activities their child loves during track times. They may discover a fun new family activity to continue at home!
3. Parents can grow while their children are growing. Entire families can experience spiritual mountaintops together.
4. Parents will get the privilege of staying in dorms & eating cafeteria food, giving a good dose of nostalgia for the college life.
BONUS: Parents may have the opportunity to lead their kids to the Lord! A friend who served on camp staff with me was able to lead his son to the Lord at CentriKid a couple of summers ago. It was very special to see a father experience the joy of seeing his child accept Christ at the same camp where he served and invested in the lives of others.
So consider motivating (or CHALLENGING!) parents to find their sleeping bags, pack a few extra snacks (just in case), and to go to camp with their kids this summer!
JE (@coachechols) leads the @centrikid camps and events team for Lifeway Kids. He met his wife Emily working summer camp, they serve with kids on Sunday’s at church, and they are blessed with their daughter #BabyMadison who was born in 2011.