I am old. Yes, old. I am old and I like to sleep, a lot. I have a routine and I do not like it messed with. “Then why are you at youth camp?” Good question. I have to be, I’m the youth pastor.
Just because I am old and like to sleep does not mean that I do not like to stay up late, it’s just hard to do. It’s even harder to get everyone settled down to bed. I do have a few tricks up my sleeve, and so do a few up my friends to help you avoid the whole “go to bed” tirade.
Here are two things that do not work for me : Yelling and screaming. Besides, in the age of cell phones, this is probably not a good idea unless you want to be a viral hit on You Tube. “What’s left?” you may ask, let me give you five other choices
1. Have a plan to end the week big
We always ended our week big with wrestling matches. It became so epic you did not want to miss it. We saved this for the last night so it gave our kids something to look forward to. If they misbehaved during the week they had to sit on the bed and watch us wrestle. I never had too many of those,
My Facebook friend Tim Bo suggests,
One of the things I always do with my students is a scheduled sneak out. “Hey guys, because you’re in my room we’re going to break curfew tonight, but you can’t tell anybody, especially the girls! This has got to be our secret!” Then when it’s a good 30-40 minutes after curfew and things have quieted down I lead my group to some place cool in the camp and play football in the dark or some thing for a while. If I do it one it gauntness that they’ll be too tired to want to do it again for most of the rest of camp and maybe they’ll want to do it again for the final day just to wrap up the week.As far as actually getting students to sleep, I usually don’t worry about it too much. Camp is a long week and if they are up all night one night, they’ll be ready to crash out by 9pm the next night.”
2. Have a long good night prayer
My Twitter friend @kevinlibick said
” one of the best I’ve come across is to do a goodnight prayer out loud for a really really long time.”
This is a great idea. I have also had campers take turns reading chapters in the book of Revelation with a flash light. That works pretty well too..
3. Keep the focus on spiritual things
My Facebook Friend Matthew Emigh says
“We finish out the day with Cabin testimony/devotions time where we talk about what God has done that day. During that time, our counselors know to remind the youth of why they are they, and to specifically address the issue. They keep the focus on spiritual things. It doesn’t always help, you still will have some knuckleheads with shaving cream who have to show off, but it does seem to slow it drastically.”