Tag Archive | Camp

Cross Training 2016

We left the kids with Hans’ parents for the first weekend in October and headed to Cross Training (IV’s fall conference) for a weekend “getaway.” Really, it meant that we stayed up even later than normal and spent the weekend looking at the Bible with students from four UP schools (LSSU, NMU, MTU, and Gogebic CC).

Going into the weekend, we had four Global InterVarsity students signed up. The day before we left, one of them came down with the flu and decided to stay home (which was a good thing). And after we arrived on Friday we found out two others wouldn’t make it due to unexpected grad school complications. We enjoyed the weekend with the students who were there – but were disappointed that 3/4 of our students weren’t able to make it.

Hans spent the weekend leading four students and one volunteer through the new curriculum we helped design this summer called “Come and See: Meet the International God”. (It was designed specifically for non-Christian international students). Ironically, everyone in his group was American, but it worked better than we had expected for them.

Up front

Up front at Cross Training!

My responsibility for the weekend was new for me – I got to be the emcee for the large group times. When I signed up for the role, I didn’t realize that the emcee was also the organizer for the large group times – and got to be part of a planning committee for our InterVarsity region. Through that planning committee, I also got to co-write three skits that were presented during the large groups.

As emcee, I was the one inviting the group to respond to God on Saturday night – which was intimidating. Having only spoken to a large InterVarsity group on two other occasions, and never having presented the gospel or given an opportunity to respond to it in that setting, I was a little overwhelmed as I prepared. But after spending 1 1/2 weeks preparing during naptimes and after the boys’ bedtime, the weekend arrived.

It was a beautiful weekend, and the extra time I had to prepare while everyone was in their groups was nice. And as the emcee, I had the privilege of hearing students tell me what they were learning from God, and had the chance to see them responding to God – both throughout the weekend, and during the response time I led. 11 students committed to following God in mission, 20 responded with specific things they needed to release (or re-release) to God, and 1 student made a first time decision to follow Jesus! (Actually, I almost moved on before he stood up to say he wanted to follow Jesus. Whoops! Next time I’ll make sure to pause longer.)

The student who made the first time decision to follow Jesus was part of Hans’ group for the weekend. It was amazing to be a part of it.

It was a long, full weekend. But it was a good one – and hopefully I’ll get the opportunity to emcee again in the future.


Fall Retreat

Tomorrow Hans and I head to Big Bay, MI, for the UP InterVarsity fall conference (called Cross Training). It will be a time of Bible study, teaching, and recharging; of community, encouragement, and renewal for students from Michigan Tech, Northern Michigan, and Lake Superior State.

Last year Hans went by himself, but this year we are taking advantage of newly retired grandparents who are willing to drive 5+ hours to spend the weekend with their grandson to enable me to help at the retreat as well. I’m excited to spend the weekend getting to know students better and to challenge them to follow God fully.

Please join us in praying for the weekend:

  • That students will gain a greater understanding of what God is doing on campus and see how their lives fit into His work in college
  • That non-Christians attending will understand who Jesus is and desire a relationship with Him
  • That students will be recharged spiritually, physically, and emotionally by a weekend away from campus
  • That Caleb and my (Lindsay’s) parents will have a weekend of fun and bonding, with little (or no) stress from mama and papa being away

Here are a few photos from last year’s Cross Training:



Yep, that’s Lake Superior, the first weekend in October!

fall walk




photos courtesy of Eric Hackney

Team Games and Icebreakers

Two years ago, when I got back from a national jovenes camp in Tarija, I posted about three unique team games, two involving water and another one with throwing someone laying on a mattress.

Well, I went to another camp a while ago, and here are a few more group games:

Pass the Plate

  • Materials: A few deep plates or shallow bowls for each team (of the same size), a wide tub of water, and a plastic container to collect the water
  • Objective: Fill the container with as much water as possible, by passing the plates over each person’s head.
  • Group Size: 10+ members

Camp GamesThe tub of water is placed in the middle of a large playing area.  An object (cone, shoe, etc.) for each team is placed ~8 yards away from the bucket, in opposite directions.

Each team forms a line and sits down behind the marker.  The person seated at the end is given a bowl or plate.  At the start of the game, this person brings the bowl up to the tub, fills it with water, and brings it back to the line, and sits down at the front.  He passes the bowl over his head to the next person, who does the same, and it continues down the line.

The last person in the line is given some sort of container to collect the water in.  (We used pop bottles, which was hard, but do-able). When the bowl has passed down the line to the second-to-last person, he tips the bowl backward over his head, pouring the remaining water into the container, held by the last person.  Once the bowl is empty, they switch items; the one with the bowl takes the container and the one with the container takes the bowl, running to the front to begin again.

Since the last person always moves to the front, the line shifts forward with each turn.  The seated team members cannot pass the marker, so as they get close, the entire seated line has to slide back to make more room.  It’s recommended that teams begin several yards behind the marker, as to not have to slide back immediately.

Once the teams get the hang of the game, add more bowls to the line to make it go faster and a little more exciting.

The game ends after a designated amount of time, or to a certain amount of water collected.  The team with the most water in their container wins.

Finish a Watermelon

  • Materials: A watermelon cut in half (or just one half, depending on the size), and spoons for each participant.
  • Objective: Eat the entire watermelon, one spoon at a time.
  • Group Size: 20+ members

Camp Games

A watermelon for each team (seedless would be preferred…) is placed 30 yards or so away from the starting line, with – if desired – a small obstacle course along the way.  One at a time, team members run through the obstacle course and dig one spoonful out of the watermelon.  They stay there, eating what they dug out, until they show a judge that their mouth is empty, then run back and tag they next person to go.

Each person can only scoop out one spoonful to eat (it can be a huge scoop, but they have to get it all down before returning to their team).  Once the entire team has eaten a spoonful, anyone who wants to continue can get back in line, this time eating as much as they want.  (The reason for this is that once you get closer to the rind, one scoop doesn’t get you very much, so you need the freedom to scrape out more.)

First team to finish their watermelon wins.

Warning: Apparently some of the guys at the camp had a hard time sleeping that night because they ate so much watermelon…

Move the Cup

  • Materials: A straw for each person; one plastic cup per team
  • Objective: Pass the cup from the beginning of the line to the end, without using hands
  • Group Size: 10+ members

Camp GamesDistribute straws to each player, and each team forms a line.  At the start of the game, the first player puts the straw in his mouth, then places the plastic cup over the straw.  He turns around, and the second player, also with a straw in his mouth, takes the cup with his straw, and passes it on down the line.  The last person in the line takes the cup, spins around, and then passes the cup back to the front of the line.  If the cup falls or is touched by anybody, it returns to the start of the line.  The first team that brings the cup to the end of the line and back wins.

Variation: Once everyone gets the hang of it, require that each player spins around once or twice (or does some other action) before passing the cup to the next player.

Under the Tarp

  • Materials: A huge tarp (10×15 yards or larger)
  • Objective: The whole team is to crawl under the tarp, one at a time.
  • Group Size: 10+ members
  • Number of Competing Groups: Two

Each team splits into two groups, with half on either side of the tarp.  One side begins, with each competing team sending one person to run to the tarp, then crawl under it.  When he comes out the other side, he runs to the teammates and tags the next player to go, so only one person from each team is under the tarp at a time.

Possible Variation: At the start, one player from each side of the tarp begins, possibly causing a collision or two during the game…

Note: You will need a bunch of people to sit or stand on either side of the tarp to keep in it place, as you can see in the photo.

Camp Games

Soak the Leader

  • Materials: A pop bottle, several large spoon (of equal size), and bucket of water for each team
  • Objective: Fill the pop bottle as much as possible, one spoon of water at a time
  • Group Size: 20+ members

Each team lines up, with the leader positioned a distance (maybe about 30 yards) away.  The leader lays down, resting the pop bottle on his forehead.  Team members line up, take a spoon, fill it with water, then walk it over to the leader, pouring the water into the bottle.  After a set amount of time (sufficient that everyone on the team gets at least one turn with the spoon), measure the amount of water collected in each team’s bottle.

Contrary to the title, the leader doesn’t really get soaked, he just gets a few trickles of water on the face from unsteady teammates.  But I’m sure there could be variations to fix that… 🙂

Does that mean I’m fluent?

I attended a jovenes camp last month, organized by a local Baptist church. It was at the Palabra de Vida (Word of Life) campground, which I was told by a number of people was a beautiful place, nice cabins, etc, so I was kind of excited to go check it out and participate in the camp.

It was a great location, property on the shores of a small (but dirty) lake, and far enough out of the city (about 30 minutes) that we could see more than two stars at night (about all we can see in the city).
Worship Room The worship building was by far the newest and nicest.  It reminded me of a cross between the worship areas at Cedar Campus and Gitche Gumee.
"Dining Hall" There was one large indoor arena with a basketball/volleyball court and a kitchen attached; we used one end of it as the dining hall.
Men's Dorm The “cabins” were… a little disappointing, but not by any means unusual. There were cement bleachers along one side of the arena, and the sleeping areas were under that, lined with bunk beds.  All the guys were in one room, and girls in another.

There were three seminars each of the three mornings, with the following topics:

  • Working in a Team
  • Commitment
  • Dating and Engagement

Read More…