Are you one of the 48 million people who enjoy going camping every year? Camping can build relationships and memories that last a lifetime, which is why people love to do it.
It's one thing to plan a camping trip for three to four people, but it's an entirely whole new game when you have to plan a trip with your youth group. Doing it the right way will take organization, planning, and some time. Keep reading for everything you need to know about planning a successful group camping trip.
The very first question to tackle is whether you want to get a group camping site or multiple regular spots. There are three main campgrounds you can choose from:
You can find luxurious campsites to simple tent spots. Typically these can be the most expensive of the sites.
These can be found at national and state parks. These are a little less nice than the former, but can still be great options.
These are usually free and on public lands. These types of sites almost never have any amenities so be sure to bring enough water and supplies. You can find campsites to simple tent spots. Typically these can be the most expensive of the sites.
There are many places that offer sites for groups of up to 150 people. If you book your campsite earlier you will have the best selection.
Mount Lassen is a national park that many people visit every year. It has a lot of great campsites for groups and organizations.
There are a lot of places that offer the same services for groups, but if you do this you'll want to make sure to book far in advance. Here are a few things to look out for when you book a site:
To be the most prepared and bring all of the equipment you need you should create a tracking list. This should track the number of campers and a to-do list for the adults or staff on the trip. Check out this tracking tool to help organize attendees and a contribution list.
If you want to track more things a google doc is a great tool for specific details. These are some of the things it can be helpful to track and plan for:
One of the things that will make your trip successful is having a small group of adults dedicated to planning and executing. You will need help gathering the youth, transporting supplies, and setting up the campsite. If you have a team effort it will be less stressful and easier to have fun.
Even if you have camping gear at home already, you will still most likely need to make a shopping list and buy a few extra things. It's good to make a list and start with what you have so you can make sure that you don't forget anything.
When you go to purchase food, you should think about going to Costco so you can get bulk items at a lower price. This will allow you to make more gourmet meals for the group and you will be able to have leftovers. Make sure you have a list of allergies so that you can avoid a camper having a reaction.
Here are a few great meal options while camping that are low maintenance:
There is something powerful about being in nature and not having access to technology. Youth can build deep connections with youth and staff alike. This is a great time to bond and make long-lasting relationships.
If you provide enough planned activities and supplies, the fun will last into the night. You can plan group challenges that help with team bonding and build a sense of community. Here are a few ideas:
Making it a group effort, relieves the burden of doing everything by a select few and gets as many people involved as possible.
If you want to make it a group effort, consider using a free online sign up sheet that allows you to list food items, invite people to pitchin in, and easily track who is bringing what.
In the same token, if you need some helping hands for setting up tents, organizing planned activities, etc., use a free online volunteer sign up form where you can list help items and give people the option to volunteer.
At the end of the day, a group effort provides a sense of inclusion, makes it more fun, and makes the overall effort alot easier.
One of the last and most important steps is to plan for safety. When you have a big group of kids in nature, things can get rowdy and anything could happen. Make sure you have a first aid kit available and everyone knows where it is.
You should have bandages, Benadryl, cold packs, antibiotic ointment, and aspirin available. It's always a good idea to have the emergency contacts of everyone in attendance and the location and number of the nearest hospital.