For an event like Kids’ Camp, production is probably the most important part. From field game design and construction to large group teaching, drama, costumes, set design and construction, video, music, etc., there’s lots to get done. Many of the almost 400 volunteers involved in camp (50+) are actively part of it, months before the actual event.
Idea generation, script writing, costumes, and a bunch of other stuff begins a good 3 months out. It’s pretty much a “parallel activity” with promotion. Beginning on the Sunday afternoon before Kids’ Camp, everything comes together. The stage and auditorium are transformed in time for the first large group session on Wednesday morning.
“Wow factor” is a huge consideration in the production phase. Remember why we do big events. With Kids’ Camp, we’re both inspiring children and adult volunteers. Wow factor is creating something that’s incredible. The kids learn about Jesus in such a way as to view church as something that’s fun. They drag their parents to church each week as a result. Adult volunteers are amazed that the church would go so far out of its way to create something so “over the top” in terms of the wow. As a result, they are more on board and many choose to become children’s ministry volunteers week in and week out.
It’s all for not if the event itself doesn’t go well. For an event like Kids’ Camp, going well both means the kids have a blast, learning about the love of Jesus in a fun and exciting way and the adult volunteers have an awesome serving experience. I know it sounds crazy, but ensuring volunteers have a great experience is equally as important as accomplishing the “purpose” of the event itself.
Here are a couple of things to keep in mind on the day(s) of the event:
Preparation – Much time should be spent leading up to the event to ensure every detail is covered. At Kids’ Camp here at CCV there are more than 1,000 kids on campus. It’s critical to make sure you’re well prepared.
Logistics – The logistical challenge of Kids’ Camp is huge. Water connections (the event is in the heat of the summer), electrical distribution, game and activity operation, drinking water distribution, waste removal, parking and traffic flow, etc., are all considerations. Several years ago we formalized the “logistics” function (including security) by creating a Logistics Team with a leader and several co-leaders. Our execution of the event improved significantly as a result.
Volunteer Training – I’ve devoted much of this post to the importance of seeing that volunteers have a great experience. Don’t get to the day of the event and not put some focus on them. We call it “volunteer training” and I guess there’s some training that takes place :). But the emphasis is on inspiration, story telling, and excitement. If you can’t get the volunteers to get excited about the event, it effects everything!
Security And Emergency Preparation – Obviously for an event like Kids’ Camp, security is a major concern. A team of volunteers is required to keep the event safe. It’s also important to be ready for anything. We hire Fire Police to direct traffic and be on hand in case of an emergency. We also proactively contact the local police department to make sure they understand we have more than 1,000 kids on site and may need their assistance at any time.