Managing a Schedule

Principles for the Camp Guide:
Questions and Answers

As a manager of time and a guide for the adventure team you have the discomfort to align to arbitrary standard, time. Time waits for no man. Time is a universal agreed on constant as well as resource to be used. But is is not a thing to be wasted because it only happens once and then is gone. Use time wisely for yourself and on behalf of those to whom you are responsible.

Managing a Schedule 1)

Q: When does the event, retreat or camp start?

A: When the first explorer shows up.

The time when guide/counselor and explorer/camper can begin their adventure is when they are first together. Depending on how transportation is coordinated or the meeting place or gathering point is arranged, the event can start long before getting to the campsite. The actual event starts when people get together.

A minute lost to apathy or disregard to another soul, is 60 seconds lost of building rapport and enjoying the path to finding a kindred spirit.

Managing a Schedule 2)

Q: When is it time to be at an activity?

A: Before time.

You don’t want others to wait for your group. Get your team there early which is really the correct thinking. For every one minute your team of seven is not where they should be is seven minutes lost by both the team and those waiting. If two other teams are waiting, already over 20 minutes have been lost in the aggregate.

Managing a Schedule 3)

Q: What is the purpose of an activity?

A: To accomplish bigger goals.

Doing an activity together provides time for the small group to grow in relationship. A common experience shared by one another sets forth a safe environment for communication. Activity is the fodder of interaction. Interaction builds relationship.

An activity can be useful in making the purpose of the camp event a reality. Some activities are tied into the overarching theme of the event. This makes the activity bigger than itself. Its purpose is part of the desired end product that everyone takes home and remembers.

It is OK to stop playing before a game is won or lost. It is OK to change rules, set time limits, redefine court limits, etc. so that players see a new dynamic, understand a different perspective, so that the under dog can have a better chance, so that the team can get to the dinning hall on time.

Activities are to be a platform for realizing values and developing character. At the start of an activity, practice being a great communicator. In the middle of play, help people learn. At the end show how to be responsible by picking up, cleaning up and putting things away every time.

Managing a Schedule 4)

Q: As a guide: List four things to do during activities.

A: Delegate. Model. Teach. Anticipate.


Delegating well can take more time, more concentration on observation of how the other is doing the task and more patience. Let the co-guide and explorers participate by helping with setup, to illustrate instructions, to put away the activity components... If you can delegate, you probably should. Trusting can start here. If you can't ever delegate, you should probably step aside to consider how you need to be training, encouraging, and teaching your co-guide and the explorers.


Generate enthusiasm by being enthusiastic. Create servants by being a servant. Communicate love by being loving. Your good attitude is like a good and open artery to the heart. Bad attitudes are like cholesterol closing the passageway of the arteries. With a poor countenance you are less and less able to convey to the kids helpful, positive, spiritual values.


Look for teachable moments and utilize them. One guide carries on with the explorers and the activity while the other guide takes a moment to speak one-on-one with the camper.


Be ready with the next activity. The guide who hesitates is lost; lost to confusion, chaos, boredom, switched off... Know what you are going to do next. A good system for discipline is contingency planning i.e. don’t let a problem start. If you have something constructive for the explorer it is less likely that he will have time to think of some manner in which to be destructive.

Managing a Schedule 5)

Q: When do you stop doing an activity?

A: Before the explorers want to.

Having a great time? Good. But don't get tricked into thinking if the same activity is done again it will be just as good. Unfortunately, the law of diminishing returns usually sets in. That means boredom.

In order for the activity to be as good a second time it may need enhancements, changes to make it more extreme. (Be careful, that can mean more danger.)  Stop at the peek of satisfaction or just after. In some cases you do not need to have a winner.

You can always say, “If you like this activity, come back to camp next year. Maybe we will play it again. And maybe we won’t. But it is time to move on so we can experience other things.”

Managing a Schedule 6)

Q: List two underutilized, often incorrectly labeled, yet always scheduled activities.

A: Meal time and bed time.

Activity: Meal time.

From the guide’s perspective meals are really an activity. Different than a sport or craft, yet far more potent for constructing relationships. Meals are a fabulous time to talk about family, live out cultural traditions, to show politeness and exercise proper manners, to demonstrate gratefulness and to show appreciation.

Activity: Bedtime.

There may have been a sermon preached earlier in the day to all the explorers but an adventure team discussion that is focused, can change passive agreement to intense, positioned, passionate, conviction. Don't let the sun go down on apathy: challenge, provoke toward goodness, advocate the opposite to show the extreme, unlock logic, press the position of folly to show wisdom's firm stance in reason. Let kids talk. Help kids talk. Guard each persons opinion. Demonstrate and clarify your thinking and theirs. Allow disagreement. Foster debate among explorers. Make memories worth remembering.

Prepare yourself to be perceptive, discerning, informed, humble and listening as your explorers open up. The evening discourse will be engaging oration of explorer’s ambition and the bed time stories will instead be the realities of their own hearts.

Managing a Schedule 7)

Q: How do you jump on a trampoline?

A: One at a time.

The issue is safety. For every activity there is an element of risk. Whether trampoline, water activities or another sport, stay vigilant. Follow rules or guidelines. Minimize the risk. Keep it fun. Stay organized. Be fair.

For activities that limit a number of explorers, you must engage them in a sub-activity. Do not deprive kids of something constructive to be involved in. For example, if the activity is go-kart, and there is only one go-kart, then while a guide and an explorer are riding the other guide can be teaching about driving etiquette and car maintenance. Explain about defensive driving and safety.  Talk about saving money to buy a car. How not to get in debt. Explain the need to plan for the time and costs of preventive maintenance like changing oil, and about required repairs like changing break pads and getting rotors turned.

Managing a Schedule 8)

Q: Is there any such thing as “free time” for staff?

A: No.

Time is not free. Time is very expensive and limited. Use time to its fullest!

The kids can think there is such a thing as free time. You can do less formal activities. But you always want to be interacting, building, encouraging and challenging.

Managing a Schedule 9)

Q: Is there any such thing as “time off” for staff?

A: Yes.

Take time for yourself when someone else is scheduled to take your responsibilities.

Managing a Schedule 10)

Q: List three redeeming uses for lines (queues) and waiting around.

A: Review, review and review.

Waiting in long lines can be a lonely experience. It can be frustrating. Negative attitudes can build. Let's not let those kind of sentiments into camp. Turn idol time into super productive time: review. Work on Bible memory passages with your small group. Practice skit lines, enhance Frisbee throwing, develop hacky sack kicking or soccer ball dribbling. Ask explorers what the major idea was concerning the previous activities. Review, clarify, and help crystalize those thoughts in the minds of explorers.

The importance of review is huge. Time spent in quick review means you don’t have to relearn. Review helps with increasing recall and remembering longer. Skills stay fresh with practice. Ideas stay clear with rehearsal. Review aids in allowing perspective as details of the learning connect in meaningful ways. Remembering reinforces confidence and opens the door to learning yet new concepts and abilities.

You can think of reviewing like walking over a path in the forest. When you first learn information, the path is all cleared and really easy to walk through. To recall the information, all you have to do is go down the path which will be quick since it is cleared. But say you don’t review the information at all, then the path starts to get overgrown with plants.

When a lot of time has passed and you haven’t reviewed, you can’t even find the path anymore so the information is lost. A path that isn’t walked on eventually goes away, but reviewing ensures that the path will still be there. Every time you review the information it is like walking the path and keeping it clear so it can never be lost.”


Go to the next section: Skills