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The Great Outdoors

Laycie Costigan



Cross the River

This adapted wilderness team challenge teaches kids the importance of working together.

Best for: Ages 9 to 12

Gear: Masking tape and paper (you'll need three less papers than the number of kids participating)

Scripture Compass: Proverbs 18:24

Camp Challenge: Create two parallel lines on the floor with masking tape to mark the boundaries of a river. The width of the river depends on the size of your group-use two feet per participant (so 10 participants means your river is about 20 feet wide). Have everyone start on the same side of the river. Place the papers on that side, too.

Your entire group will work together to get everyone safely to the other side using stepping stones (papers). To begin, there are no stones in the river. Your group gets to add stones as they successfully advance across the river following these rules.

• Kids have to work together to figure out how to get everyone across the river by passing and placing the stepping stones.

• Each stepping stone must have at least one child's foot on it at all times, or the group loses the stepping stone. For example, before one child steps off a stepping stone to move ahead, the next child in line needs to have his or her foot on that stone as well so it's never left untouched.

• If your kids lose all their stepping stones or too many to continue successfully, give them an opportunity to start again.

Buddy Up: Form pairs and then read aloud the Scripture. Ask: How could you have completed this challenge alone? How did this experience remind you of a challenge you face at home or at school? What do you think this Scripture passage tells us about working together? Close in prayer, thanking God for helping kids learn to work together.


Great Commission Maps

This experience gives kids a visual reminder of how they can influence their families, communities, and world.

Best for: Ages 9 to 12

Gear: White paper and markers

Scripture Compass: Matthew 28:16-20

Camp Challenge: The last day of camp often centers on the value and purpose God gives each child. Campers are challenged to not simply leave the lessons they've learned at camp in their cabins, but to take them home to share with their family, friends, and community. Kids can use these maps as visual reminders of the impact they have as a positive influence for Jesus.

Give each child a piece of paper and markers. In the center of the paper, have them write their name and draw a circle around it. From the center circle, have them draw five lines connecting to other circles. In those five circles, ask kids to write names of family members, friends, or teachers that they know well.

Have kids continue the pattern of drawing five lines from each circle and connecting five new circles. Kids can write five people the person in the center influences inside the connected circles-generic names such as "mom," "boss," or "best friend." As the web grows, a map of influence begins to form. Kids get a picture of the impact they can have on a large number of people, even adults.

Buddy Up: Ask: How do you influence the five people connected to your circle? How has someone positively influenced you? negatively influenced you? Read aloud the Scripture. Ask: What does Jesus say about influencing others in this passage? How can you be a positive influence for Jesus this summer? cm


Laycie Costigan worked at a camp in Colorado and is now a preteen and youth intern in Loveland, Colorado.



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