Some of the most valuable training I ever received when I worked with CentriKid Camps was through scenarios. Equipped with my Bible and the hopes of being to think on my feet, another leader would draw a scenario out of a hat and act it out while I attempted to respond appropriately.
Sometimes, the scenarios were set up to be during a response time after worship and sometimes they were meant to be other times during the day. All of these teach intentionality. Here are a few to use in your leader training:
1. A child approaches you during the response time after worship but is unbelievably shy. Getting a few words out of her is difficult. She will begin to open up with time, but will require a very patient and discerning leader.
2. A child approaches during free time and says that he wants to get saved again. He says he gets saved every year at camp, so it was time to do it again. A leader will need to teach carefully that there is no need to be saved multiple times. We do devote ourselves to Jesus everyday, but once we have asked Him to be our Lord, He is faithful to do that.
3. A child is walking beside you as you lead your group back to a meeting spot after Basketball. He loves basketball, and the leader is not sure if he has a relationship with Jesus or not. A leader will need to engage the child using basketball as a jumping off point so that he can figure out where the child is spiritually, using the time to teach, encourage, and challenge.
4. A group of kids is talking in the shallow end of the pool. The leader sees the group, and wants to use this time to be intentional. A leader will need to engage the group in conversation and discern where the conversation should go. This could result in follow-up conversations with specific kids.
5. A child comes to you during a response time and says he wants to be saved, but obviously does not understand the decision that he is making. A leader will need to be very discerning while using this time to teach, while explaining the need to continue learning and discussing with the child so that he will be ready when he does make a decision to follow Jesus.
6. A group of children come down during the response time. It seems there's really only one who wants to talk, while the others are there for moral support. A leader will need to ask the supporters to head back to their seats so that the leader is able to hear from the child who needs to talk.
7. During Bible study, a child says that she wants to talk about what it means to be a Christian. A leader will need to decide what to do if they are the only one in the room or the only one prepared to teach. This may mean asking to meet during a meal or free time to talk. If there are other teachers, this could mean leaving the room.
(A few guidelines: Always talk with kids in view of other adults. Seek to have female campers talk with female leaders and male campers talk with male leaders. Always feel free to pull other leaders into a conversation if you feel like you need help.)
Add your own scenarios that will directly relate to the way you are using Zip for Kids and help leaders be prepared to point conversations to Jesus throughout each day!
1. Be excited! Kids will take on your excitement level, but normally only at about half. This means that you will have to be over-the-top in your communication of excitement over what you are teaching or doing. Seek to have energy in your voice and in your body language. If you are doing an activity, play along and enjoy it!
2. Ask questions. Interact with kids throughout the day, not just during activities. Ask them how they would feel if they were present in the Bible story or how they can live more like Jesus based on the passage.
3. Get kids moving. Lecture-style teaching doesn't work for kids. Their attention span is about their age... in minutes. For a seven-year-old, that is only seven minutes! Create stations, play games that teach concepts, and use interactive teaching techniques to communicate a concept. Luckily, Zip for Kids is already built for you.
4. Remind them of what is coming. Give them specific things to look forward to during the day or during your time with Zip (or other curriculum lines). They are more likely to be engaged and excited when they know that there are tons of exciting elements to experience throughout their time at Zip.
5. This is my favorite quick and easy way to renew excitement in kids. When you see kids getting the glazed over, not-really-paying-attention-anymore look, exclaim, "TEN SECOND SILENT PARTY!" Guide kids to get up and move around, dance, jump, and pretend to scream for ten seconds as you countdown. Remind them that they will sit back down in their spots when you reach one.
Most of all, just have fun. Love on kids and seek to engage with them in meaningful conversation as often as possible. Be a kid's biggest fan!