5 Things to do now to prepare for NTS Camp

Since temperatures are currently 30 degrees below the average for the majority of the country, I can almost forget that a summer season even exists. I tend to focus on getting through my day-to-day activities while wearing 5-7 layers just to stay warm. Summer seems too far away to capture space in my thoughts, but the nature of working for an organization that puts on summer youth camps is that we are always gearing up for summer, yes, even 11 months prior.

But, summer will soon break and we will find ourselves looking for places of reprieve from the heat.

If you are a youth leader, parent, or a student, there are 5 things you can do now to prepare for NTS Camp 2015.

Your camp experience begins at registration. Of course we are not claiming it’s an exciting experience, but the commitment to attend camp is the first step.

Whether you are a youth pastor who has never been or one who has gone for years, you need to confirm your church will be joining us at a certain location by contacting us. NTS Camp is designed to be experienced as an entire youth group, so it is imperative that this step is taken in order for your students to have a place to register as well.  Slacking on this step will cost you and frustrate others. Don’t be that person.

Students and parents looking to register, you must find out what week your church is going and register under your church’s name. Like I mentioned, this is for an entire youth group experience, so students are not able to sign up without being connected to a church.

If your church does not attend NTS Camp, we recommend 1 of 2 things:

  1. Discuss this dilemma with your youth pastor and show a highlight of past year’s awesome experience for convincing purposes.
  2. Find a church on the list and connect with them so you can attend with their group. When I was a youth pastor who brought students to NTS Camp, I had a number of students who attended other churches join us. I welcomed them as if they were my own.

If you register now, it locks you into a price that is cheaper than if you wait until after the beginning of May. And the price just goes up the more you wait. What are you waiting for?!

The main reason you want to promote the week you plan to attend NTS Camp is because it is one of the most important weeks of the year. Not because of what we do as a camp, but because of what God does through NTS Camp. We truly believe God does something special each and every year and we want as many students to experience what God has planned. And you will want everyone on board. It will change your youth ministry.

Another reason to promote the week of camp is because you want the adult leaders serving in the student ministries to have a chance to take that time off of work. Yes, when we say it is an entire youth group experience, we don’t leave out the most important people in that equation – the adult small group leaders. We value them so much that for every 8 students that sign-up, an adult attends camp for free. No excuses!

If you are an adult leader in a youth ministry, your presence at NTS Camp is vital to the students’ experience and faith development, so we strongly encourage you to consider taking that week and joining your ministry at NTS Camp.

If you are a student, a little encouragement from you goes a long way in getting your leader to spend a week with you and other teenagers.

Feel free to use any video from NTS Camp’s Vimeo page to promote camp.

The theme for NTS Camp this year is Kingdom. It is based on a few parables that Jesus told in reference to the Kingdom of Heaven. Parables are stories that illustrate moral and spiritual truths or teach a lesson in reference to God. Many have a mysterious tone to them and often times we wonder what Jesus’ point is.  We want to explore these truths about this Kingdom this summer.

We welcome you to read through these 5 parables now so you can whet your appetite and come to camp with an idea of what will be discussed, eager to dig deeper into these parables:

Parable of the Sower // Matthew 13:1-23
Parable of the Lost Sheep & Lost Coin // Luke 15:1-10
Parable of the Hidden Treasure and the Pearl // Matthew 13:44-45
Parable of the Unmerciful Servant // Matthew 18:23-35
Parable told at a Pharisee’s House // Luke 14:7-11

I won’t give away any more details because we will save the rest for camp.

Each church will come to camp having been assigned one of four team colors. That color will be either: Blue, Red, Green, Gold (Yellow).

If you’ve attended in the past, you know the value of this color. You also know the value of the competitions that brings your group together based on this team color.

If you are new to NTS Camp, we advise not skimping on this preparation.

So what does this mean? Once your team has been assigned a team color, (which typically stays the same from year to year, unless you are that unlucky group that gets shifted around – sorry Berean Church), it is time to go all out in getting gear, outfits, garb, glitter, in that color. From now until you leave for camp, be on the lookout for crazy ways to incorporate that color into what you will wear at camp.

In my opinion, the two best places to go are:

  1. Goodwill
    What Goodwill does best is categorize their clothes by color for the cheap! No need to spend your time in any other section, but the color of your team. Yes, other thrift shops make the shopping experience easier by doing the same thing, but none have the return policy like Goodwill. If your pants, shirt, scarf, glasses, wig, shoes, accessories, or whatever, don’t seem to be just perfect, then return them and try again.
  1. Party City
    Party City has a store full of the same item in various different colors, and the majority of those items come in the 4 primary colors that NTS Camp utilizes. Just take 30 minutes to physically wander through Party City or online and you will walk away with the best possible accessories and props that can really add to your team’s flare.One challenge I want to throw out, is to see someone utilize as many Solo cups in their team color as possible for their outfit.

Get creative. You don’t want to find yourself the night before with only a few t-shirts and having to make a run to the local department store for more…t-shirts.

This following is straight out of our camp booklet, but I include it because a great cheer is prepared ahead of time, before you arrive at camp. When I was a youth pastor, I always delegated the team cheer to a group of students who decided the direction and elements of creativity.   There may be a conflict if two or more churches come prepared and are on the same team, but it’s better to be over-prepared, then having no clue.  Here is an example from 2014.

On the last day of camp, each team will present a 3-5 minute cheer they have been preparing throughout the week!  Each team will present at team comps and we will still play a game, so it is very important that teams are on time and ready to go!

Team Cheers should:

  • Demonstrate team spirit, pride, and unity
  • Include the entire team for the majority of the cheer
  • Include some form of music or cheer
    • Background track
    • Students singing
    • Students reciting united cheer
  • Refrain from tearing down other teams
  • Be well thought out and rehearsed during Team Time each day

Team Cheers are judged by a group of judges who are not necessarily trained Olympic judges!  They are looking for things like unity, originality, the unique “WOW” factor, etc.  Each judge will rank the cheers in order from 1 to 4 and, without conferring with one another, those rankings are converted into a point system and then calculated to figure out the winner.  Original and/or live music, whether vocal or musical, is not necessarily better than a prerecorded music.  The entire cheer is judged, not just a single element.

Each team will be allowed to play music through the Team Comps sound system using their own device and controlled by their adult leader.  Each team will also be allowed to use 1 wireless microphone.

*Extra points will not be given for a spiritual cheer or skit.  While we love to praise God in all that we do, the purpose of Team Cheers is represent team pride and unity.

*Teams will be disqualified from TEAM COMPS ENTIRELY if they use paint or fire during their cheer!

 We are excited for summer to arrive and for NTS Camp 2015. If you choose to do these 5 things in preparation for NTS Camp, it will only add to the great experience.  Hope to see you there.

Jayson Brewer
Director of Production Design
Never The Same


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