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Staff Training

the heart of summer ministry. fully equipped.

It’s true. For Christian camps, the summer staff are the heart of ministry. The experience they have and the impact they create makes all the difference. The research says they need three things to thrive: agency, support, and faithful community – these things begin at staff training. We’ve built a few key ways to partner with leaders to train summer staff well in a few key areas, with more modules and sessions to come.

explore the optionscontact us

start here

Choose a method.

We love staff training. We’re ready to join your training experience in one of three ways.
Choose what works best for you and your staff, and contact us with questions.

Video-Based Modules

We’ve built three foundational video modules to help equip your staff. Purchase one or bundle modules together, download, and you’re all set!

Onsite Training

We’ll come to you. Choose one of our live, in-person staff training sessions or contact us to build and book a custom session.

Virtual Training

We’ll join you live via video with one of our designed session or contact us to build and book a custom session.

video modules

Quick, impactful video modules to equip your summer staff

We’ve built 3 video sessions on key areas of ministry for your summer staff to use during, or even prior, to onsite staff training experiences. Your videos will be available for download right away. Learn a bit about each session below, and use the button to choose your module, or bundle multiple modules together. Each video includes a companion worksheet.

Unplugging at camp

In this session we’ll lay out why and how unplugging is a vital part of camp for campers, staff, an leaders. We’ll share the research-backed truth about why this matters, and most importantly how to unplug well and where to check over-plugged-in spaces.

Leading an engaging bible study

It’s a part of nearly all of our programming, yet remains one of the trickiest to do really well. We’ll lay out 6 keys to leading a camp Bible study that hits, fits, and makes a lasting impact.

creating staff community

Community is everything when it comes to camp staff. We’ll share four elements that, when present, lay foundation for community at camp amongst summer staff – the heart of your summer ministry.

meet the facilitators

Dr. Jake Sorenson, PhD
Jacob is a sought after workshop leader and trainer for outdoor ministry professionals. He has experience in congregational youth ministry, camping ministry, and is the Founder and Lead Researcher for Sacred Playgrounds. Jake the author of Sacred Playgrounds: Christian Summer Camp in Theological Perspective. He has a Ph.D. from Luther Seminary. Jake uses his framework of the Five Fundamentals of Effective Camp to influence the outcomes at camps. (all sessions)

Rev. Anna Sorenson
Anna is a camp enthusiast, congregational pastor, camp board member, and camper parent. Her ministry passions include helping people grow to love scripture, helping people uncover their spirit-giftedness and teaching. She serves as the Director of Operations for Sacred Playgrounds. (Lutheran Lens on the Bible, Make the Bible Come Alive at Camp, Applying the 5 fundamentals at camp.)

Kelsey Blinn
Kelsey has served on year round staff at several camps, as a middle school youth director, and currently serves as the Sacred Playgrounds Research Coordinator. She enjoys enabling others to be successful in their positions, grow in their faith, and build their community. (Facilitating Challenge Course, Making the Bible come Alive at Camp, and Applying the 5 Fundamentals at Camp)

Jared Rendell
Jared has experience serving outdoor ministry organizations in program and strategic leadership, and in congregational ministry in youth, music, and communications ministry. He serves as the Director of Communication & Innovation for Sacred Playgrounds. (Making the Bible Come Alive at Camp, Applying the 5 Fundamentals at Camp, Your All-Camp Communications & Marketing Team)

onsite training

We’ll come to you to help equip & prepare them

We’re ready to join you onsite for an engaging, impactful training experience lead by our experienced team of facilitators. Each 75-90 minute session includes research-backed information, theological inspiration, and practical application. Travel costs are negotiated individually.

sessions we offer

Making the Bible Come Alive at Camp (Jake, Anna, Kelsey, Jared)
Bible study is part of nearly all of our programming, yet it is one of the hardest things we do. This workshop will explore why the Bible is more than a book and offer engaging activities and ideas to bring scripture to life. We contextualize the workshop based on your context (daily themes, camp activities, etc.) and consider how to weave Bible study texts into every aspect of camp life.

Applying the 5 Fundamentals at Camp (Jake, Anna, Kelsey, Jared)
This training session looks at the 5 fundamentals of effective camps: unplugged, faith-centered, participatory, relational, safe space. We cover why all five are important to creating an environment where campers thrive and grow and what happens when one of the fundamentals breaks down. Your staff will understand how they can have a positive or negative impact on camper experience and how to increase the likelihood your campers will experience positive outcomes.

Facilitating Challenge Courses (Jake, Kelsey)
This hands-on workshop uses group initiative activities, both those that can be done anywhere and on your low-ropes course, modeling best practices for facilitation and group building. By the end, your staff will know how to facilitate and process group-building activities, connecting them to scripture and faith practices. This is double session lasting 2-3 hours.

Unplugging at Camp (Jake, Kelsey)
We are connected and on-line in so many ways. Camp invites us to unplug from tech and connect in face-to-face relationships. This session explores why unplugging is an essential part of summer camp, how it helps grow faith, and practical ideas to help staff and campers as they unplug.

Creating Staff Community (Jake, Jared, Kelsey)
Community at camp is important for all guests, and it starts with staff. We build a strong foundation among staff and invite campers into this community. The facilitators have each hired and gathered summer staff communities that loved and challenged one another. This training invites the staff to consider why they should invest in their fellow staff members, and how to be intentional about Christ-centered, supportive relationships and community.

Thinking Theologically at Camp (Jake, Anna)
Every activity and every location at camp has the potential to form us. As Christian camps, we want that formation to be faith-centered. This session helps staff become theological interpreters of games, songs, natural environments, relationships, challenges that campers face, and the more obvious spaces like Bible study and worship.

A Lutheran Lens on the Bible (Jake, Anna)
This one is particularly for Lutheran camps that hire staff from a variety of faith traditions. We use hands-on activities and selected scripture passages to explore Lutheran principles of Biblical interpretation such as law and gospel, scripture points us to Christ the Word, scripture interprets scripture, understanding the “plain meaning” of the text, and the importance of reading scripture in community.

Your All-Camp Communications & Marketing Team (Jared)
Whatever the role, from leadership to counselors to kitchen staff, you’re all on the communications team. We’ll discuss why and how this mindset matters and practically train for collective, intentional welcome and hospitality for parents, guests, donors, and campers from the moment they step on camp to their ride home.

Traveling Day Camp: Community & Connection (Kelsey)
Sending groups into the community is a great way to build relationships, promote your camp, and bring the camp experience to others. It is important to equip staff to be the best ambassadors for the camp as possible. In this session we will focus on what it means to be a camp ambassador, skills to connect with the community, and how to bring the camp experience to day camp.

Peer Ministry Leadership (Lyle Griner)
What is Peer Ministry best known for? Doable, repeatable, livable relational skills. Skills from saying, “Hi,” to the skills for keeping friendship alive. Lyle brings years of experience in youth ministry and is the National Director of Peer Ministry Leadership. He is excited to join camps this summer and lead sessions on Caring and Welcoming Skills, How to Lead Small Groups, and Bringing Bible Stories Alive. Pick one, two, or three sessions or visit Peer Ministry Leadership to learn more about what Lyle has to offer.

custom training sessions

Our team will work with you to create custom, topical half or full-day training sessions lead by our engaging, experienced facilitators. Contact us to begin designing a specialized set of experieces tailored to your desired outcomes.

pricing

Partial Day (1-2 Modules or Custom Session)
Dr. Jacob Sorenson, PhD: $500
Other facilitators: $300

Full Day (2-4 Modules or Custom Session)
Dr. Jacob Sorenson, PhD: $800
Other facilitators: $500

Custom Sessions
Contact us for session design and custom pricing.

live virtual training sessions

Live on video, for the sake of your well-equipped staff team

We’ll join your team live via video conference to facilitate a session when it works for you. These 75-90 minute session are designed to be informational and interactive, even from a screen. We’ll share insights from the research and experience from the field, all through a theological and practical lens.

sessions we offer

Making the Bible Come Alive at Camp (Jake, Anna, Kelsey, Jared)
Bible study is part of nearly all of our programming, yet it is one of the hardest things we do. This workshop will explore why the Bible is more than a book and offer engaging activities and ideas to bring scripture to life. We contextualize the workshop based on your context (daily themes, camp activities, etc.) and consider how to weave Bible study texts into every aspect of camp life.

Applying the 5 Fundamentals at Camp (Jake, Anna, Kelsey, Jared)
This training session looks at the 5 fundamentals of effective camps: unplugged, faith-centered, participatory, relational, safe space. We cover why all five are important to creating an environment where campers thrive and grow and what happens when one of the fundamentals breaks down. Your staff will understand how they can have a positive or negative impact on camper experience and how to increase the likelihood your campers will experience positive outcomes.

Unplugging at Camp (Jake, Kelsey)
We are connected and on-line in so many ways. Camp invites us to unplug from tech and connect in face-to-face relationships. This session explores why unplugging is an essential part of summer camp, how it helps grow faith, and practical ideas to help staff and campers as they unplug.

Creating Staff Community (Jake, Jared, Kelsey)
Community at camp is important for all guests, and it starts with staff. We build a strong foundation among staff and invite campers into this community. The facilitators have each hired and gathered summer staff communities that loved and challenged one another. This training invites the staff to consider why they should invest in their fellow staff members, and how to be intentional about Christ-centered, supportive relationships and community.

Thinking Theologically at Camp (Jake, Anna)
Every activity and every location at camp has the potential to form us. As Christian camps, we want that formation to be faith-centered. This session helps staff become theological interpreters of games, songs, natural environments, relationships, challenges that campers face, and the more obvious spaces like Bible study and worship.

Your All-Camp Communications & Marketing Team (Jared)
Whatever the role, from leadership to counselors to kitchen staff, you’re all on the communications team. We’ll discuss why and how this mindset matters and practically train for collective, intentional welcome and hospitality for parents, guests, donors, and campers from the moment they step on camp to their ride home.

Traveling Day Camp: Community & Connection (Kelsey)
Sending groups into the community is a great way to build relationships, promote your camp, and bring the camp experience to others. It is important to equip staff to be the best ambassadors for the camp as possible. In this session we will focus on what it means to be a camp ambassador, skills to connect with the community, and how to bring the camp experience to day camp.

Peer Ministry Leadership (Lyle Griner)
What is Peer Ministry best known for? Doable, repeatable, livable relational skills. Skills from saying, “Hi,” to the skills for keeping friendship alive. Lyle brings years of experience in youth ministry and is the National Director of Peer Ministry Leadership. He is excited to join camps this summer and lead sessions on Caring and Welcoming Skills, How to Lead Small Groups, and Bringing Bible Stories Alive. Pick one, two, or three sessions or visit Peer Ministry Leadership to learn more about what Lyle has to offer.

custom training sessions

Our team will work with you to create custom, topical half or full-day training sessions lead by our engaging, experienced facilitators. Contact us to begin designing a specialized set of experieces tailored to your desired outcomes.

pricing

By Session
Dr. Jacob Sorenson, PhD: $400
Lyle Griner: $400
Other facilitators: $250

Custom Session
Contact us for session design and custom pricing.

Projects

Effective Camp

Our research on camp effectiveness

Holy Ground

Summer staff guide and devotion

Rhythms of Faith

Camp as catalyst for family faith

Camp Builds

The lasting impact of working at camp

Camp & Church Leadership

Camp staff and church leader research

Camp 2 Congregation

Impactful travelling day camp research

How We Help Camp Thrive

Research & Insights

Turning numbers into stories

Staff & Leader Support

Aligned, equipped, energized leaders

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