Strengthen bonds, have fun and learn new techniques outdoors.
Plan and run an overnight camp (one or more nights). Ask the youth to lead the planning: location, meals, activities, materials, spiritual experiences, etc. During camp, help youth learn new skills (eg fire safety, fishing, outdoor survival, etc.) Have fun and spiritual activities. Church policies for nighttime activities can be found in Handbook.
You could help young people prepare for camp by teaching them the basics of camping before you go. Here are some ideas:
How to build a fire to cook safely.
How to stay safe outdoors (staying in pairs, what to do if you get lost, etc.).
Appropriate clothing for the climate and environment.
How to respect the environment and the fauna and flora.
If the situation permits, let the youngsters practice these skills in friendly competition. For example, you could divide the youth into groups and see who can pitch their tent the fastest, or do a Mutual where Young Men and Young Women cook for each other outdoors.
Give young people the opportunity to talk about their sport and show off their skills.
Ask a young person to teach the others a sport that the group does not know or techniques to improve in a sport that they already know (you could invite a less observant young person or a friend from another religion). He or she can also talk about the rules of the sport and the equipment needed. Practice it together. You could talk about ways to keep a spirit of friendship, even in a competitive environment. Discuss ways in which winning can be downplayed.
Enjoy the greatness of God’s creations and meditate on it.
Go on a hike or nature walk to explore and appreciate the beauty of Heavenly Father’s creations. Give the youth an opportunity to reflect on their feelings and think about the world Heavenly Father has given us. Invite the youth to record their thoughts in their journals.
Exercise and build friendships in a non-competitive environment.
Participate in recreational but relaxed and non-competitive physical activities. Here are some ideas. Ask the young people to come up with their ideas based on what they like to do. At the end of the activity, ask the youth to talk about the spiritual lessons they learned by participating (for example, if you go on a hike, they can express their feelings about the beauty of God’s creations and the responsibility we have to take care of it).
Go rollerblading or skateboarding.
Jump rope in a group. You can start with one person, then with each turn of the rope another person enters, until the whole group jumps at the same time. Or have the kids take turns trying to run across as the rope turns.
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Learn to appreciate and respect the land that has been given to us, and to care for it.
Discuss the importance of being good stewards of our natural resources (see Genesis 1:28–30). With permission, lead a preservation or restoration project, such as picking up litter, planting trees, or clearing paths in a campground. It can be an ongoing activity that young people engage in whenever they do something outside. For example, if you are doing an activity in a park, young people could pick up litter for fifteen minutes before starting.