Congratulations, your hard work in recruiting campers has paid off. You know that soon you will be seeing the fruit of God’s Spirit at work in your student’s lives. We hope that your camper’s experience from start to finish is both fruitful and enjoyable. We hope you find these tips for drop off and pick up to be helpful for your church.
Monday Morning Drop Off
Getting there is half the fun
Ever been on a flight where the steward seems bored to tell the in-flight guidelines. Not a productive or pleasant experience. Southwest Airlines, in an almost irreverent way, has decided that flight orientation can be as fun as it is informational. Their humor makes the experience that much better and probably more effective.
Think of what it was like for you to go to camp. You were nervous, anxious and excited all in one. Add reactions to little things around you and it’s easy to get the camp experience off to a bad start. Here is a goal to shoot for. From loading the bus until a counselor picks up campers, my jobs to prepare them for the best week possible. I will do this by setting expectations high and minimizing fears.
It may seem hard to believe but the tone you set really plays into the camper’s experience. Talking about pranks or the potential of getting hurt may set a pretty negative tone that is hard to overcome. On the contrary, knowing a lot of people are praying that this week will be transformational. Get your campers excited about that will only benefit them from day one.
Getting off the bus
The first step is to set your GPS for 18400 Maple Street, Lake Ann, Michigan and not Lake Ann Camp. If not you may be directed to the Barber road entrance that no longer exists. We’ve tried everything possible to get these GPS errors, but still sometimes people get directed to the wrong entrance. In Lake Ann fashion as you drive in you will be greeted by friendly and enthusiastic Lake Ann staff. They will direct you on where to park and also radio ahead that you have arrived. Once parked, you will be greeted by additional staff anxious to help the campers get their week started right. Their enthusiasm is not meant to scare campers but rather introduce them to the fun ahead of them.
The vehicle is parked, now what?
The first surprise may be that your campers quickly found their counselors and they are already headed to their cabins. This is strategic. We don’t like to stand in lines and we are certain you don’t either. Counselors have a list of every camper in their cabin according to where they are from. When your vehicle pulls in the loudspeaker has announced your arrival before you even brake thus alerting counselors to line up to meet your campers. To expedite this process we have worked hard to see to it that all your campers are paid in full two weeks prior to camp. When this is done a camper can go right to the age level sign and find out where to go next
What to do when a camper is not pre-paid
Inevitably some last minute campers will have a balance that will need to be cared for if that is your situation you will see tables set up at the entrance of the Welcome Center right under the sign by that name. The lines should be shorter than in the past and our staff will do their best to help you get your students settled. While you’re in line, don’t’ be surprised if your camper(s) disappear with their counselor and get their week started. That is all part of the process.
What is the process with medications?
The State of Michigan requires that all forms of medicine and vitamins be turned in to the camp Health Officers prior to a camper beginning camp. These must be brought in their original containers to be used during the week. It is best to have campers put their meds in a labeled zip lock bag and then bring them to the health officer station on the left side of the Welcome Center entryway. Campers need to turn their meds in so the health officers can meet them and get any procedural questions answered right off the bat. This can happen with or without your assistance as long as campers to not take their medications to their cabins.
My campers found their counselors, the bills are paid
and medications are cared for–now what?
Take a deep breath, pray a quick prayer for the student that you think will have the hardest time adjusting and head to the Snack Shack portion of the Red Canoe to redeem your free soft serve ice cream cone coupon. Look around as there will be lots of new Lake Ann camp program shirts and specialty items to see. Give your campers a high five as you pass them on the pathways.
FREE PIZZA and Camp Tour
At 12pm there is free pizza and a twenty-minute update on the camp in the training room of the Welcome Center. You will meet some of the staff, enjoy great pizza and see some of the new tools that Lake Ann Camp has to make this the best week of camp ever. Following the luncheon, there is a one-hour camp tram tour for the first 36 people to arrive. The tour will bring you up to speed with our history and our future at Lake Ann. Lots has changed over the years and this tour will help you see why campers come from over 30 states and 15 different countries to attend.
Time to head home
It is our prayer that your registration and drop off at Lake Ann will be seamless and enjoyable. The reality, however, will be that the best-laid plans don’t always end up that way. Someone will have forgotten something, a camper may want a different bunkmate and someone may have gotten ill on the ride up. Please let our staff help you with any of these issues… that is why we are here! Having satisfied all the needs get in your car fully expecting God to show up big in your campers hearts this week. It has happened that way for 66 years and we have done our best to make the experience even better. Pray and enjoy the quiet as you head home. God is a work and that is a pretty exciting prospect.
Saturday Morning Pick Up
What to expect
Probably the best way to prepare for this process is to expect the unexpected. Some campers will be ready to go and anxious for your arrival, some will not want to go and will make themselves elusive.
When to arrive?
Each program eats at a different time and that will also affect when these campers will be freed up to leave. Juniors eat first and will likely be ready before anyone else. A good rule of thumb is to not arrive until 9:00 and be ready to be on the road by 10:15. The senior high campers eat last and it does take a little extra time to get campers ready to go from Jump Start and Fresh Start. Please tell your parents that they do not need to panic if they arrive and their camper is not standing to wait for them.
Check out procedures
In a society, with blended families, it is increasingly important to have the camper only picked up by the one whose name is on the registration form. Counselors will have a list of those names and will ask the parent to sign a form before the camper is released. If they do not have the proper name the camp will call to verify that the correct parent is receiving the camper. Those riding with a church will need to have the bus driver sign the form for each camper for our records sake. Once all campers are signed out you may leave with your camper.
Follow up after camp
What happens in Vegas may want to stay in Vegas but what happens at Lake Ann in meant to be carried home! Getting your campers to share their stories and decisions can begin as early as on the ride home. The decisions your campers made during the week are more powerful when they have a chance to share them publically. This will begin in their cabin groups, be further encouraged at the Friday night Glory Bowl. Then many churches have campers share testimonies publicly at your church after camp. Three things happen when campers share their testimony back home: 1). Adults are there to witness and become a support team to help hold students to their decisions. 2). Church members are challenged to be living their lives to a higher standard. 3). The student feels bolder in their heart of hearts to live out that commitment back home.
Lake Ann is not an island- if we succeed it is because someone tilled the ground. And prepared the soil for the seeds to be planted. We LOVE what we are able to do and we LOVE that you share that ministry with us. Together we are making an eternal difference!