A mature leader instinctively knows that in order to build the kind of experience and relationships that will make for an awesome event, she will need to start where the the attendees are and move from there.
Much like hundreds of camp staffs and summer programs, Harvest leads week after week for two months each summer. As we finish a camp on Friday or Saturday, load up and drive off it’s all talk in the van! Stories, laughter, connections, inside jokes, memories, inspiration, lessons, debriefing, and thankfulness for all that God has done. But then it’s time to begin again – often the very next day, a whole new week and a whole new group.
If we aren’t careful, we will come into the brand new camp with the energy, connection and excitement from the previous week and will miss the chance to grow with the current camp. We have to prep ourselves for the slow paced beginning that always comes with the start of the event. It’s a buffer against becoming frustrated or depressed because the Monday energy doesn’t match the Friday energy of the last camp.
As we are driving into a new event, I usually say, “here we come, to a new place – we’re driving into an experience we have never had before. I want you to remember this feeling of coming in – so that when we are driving back out after we’re finished, you’ll be able to recall all that God has done in and through our ministry and work together. And that the memory of the last event needs to be a foundation toward a great week this week, not a comparison.
The Monday awkwardness builds the foundation for a great finish to a camp or event. Step back and grow with the people at the event.
Here are some ways I think about Monday:
– There’s no way the first day of camp can match the last day of the previous camp.
– Don’t take problems too seriously during the first day of camp or an event – no one can escape some degree of chaos and confusion.
– Never underestimate the power of the rest of the week for making an impact.
– Don’t let the memory of last year get too out of control – there’s no way you can live up to a glorified memory.
– Ask participants their names, get to know them, visit. Growing with the camp or event doesn’t mean being really quiet and still. It just means being calm as kids are getting acclimated.
I also typically invite our team to do things on Monday that we won’t have time for the rest of the week. Naps, Wal-mart trips, etc all typically happen on Monday for for our camp leadership team. Being absent for a couple hours the first day of camp is totally forgotten by Thursday or Friday. It’s much harder to be absent toward the end of the week.