As you are getting ready for ASCENT your to-do list might seem to be getting longer rather than shorter and it seems overwhelming. We don’t want to add to your plate but here are a few travel tips to keep in mind while you are preparing for ASCENT.
Send a Packing List to Parents (not just the students)
Most students don’t even think about packing until the night before but most parents want to know a few weeks before (in case they need to purchase some things). Looking for THE LIST, we got you covered HERE.
What About Spending Money?
There are snack and merch options at the camp if you want to have students bring extra funds but nothing extravagant where they need to bring hundreds of dollars.
Travel meals however need to be communicated to parents. Most groups tell students to bring money for 2 travel meals (to camp) and 2 more (coming home). But we recommend each student be responsible for their own money rather than the youth worker. (that’s a headache you don’t want)
Plan Travel Meals Ahead
Whether you are flying or driving make sure you plan time and money for any travel meals. If you are traveling over any meal times you need to stop and have your group eat. Many times this is the first thing that is forgotten or even dropped if things are running late. But in reality, it just adds to your headache and your groups too.
- Try to choose something cheap and fast. If you have a town with multiple restaurants park in one and then split up based on desires.
- Coordinate with your drivers on when you are going to stop and for how long. This gives them time to get gas while everyone is getting food.
- Call the restaurant ahead if you have more than 20 people so they can be prepared (at least 3-4 days so they have time to bring in more workers).
- If you have 30-50 people plan for 1 hour just because it takes so long to get everyone’s food.
- Tell your groups when you get there EXACTLY what time you want them back.
Remember Time Zones
ASCENT is on Mountain time so keep that in mind when you are traveling there or back. You will need to either add or subtract one hour from your travel plans.
Stay In Touch Back Home
Either send regular text messages or create a Facebook group and post some group pictures on there every time you stop. It’s a fun way to keep people engaged and build trust with parents. You take a few pictures over lunch and then a final one once you arrive. And it’s a fun way to celebrate that you made it!
Warn Parents When You Are Close
If you want to avoid waiting for parents after a long camp, about 1 hour before you arrive back to church have the students or you text parents where you are so they can start getting ready and will be there when you arrive.
If you have trouble with conflict or disrespect you can creatively assign seats as your group. The downside of this method is they don’t sit with their friends and it could cause resentment and hurt more than help. Mos times if your group gets along well arranging seats are not necessary. Are some ideas:
- Have guys and girls separate (seats or whole vans)
- Let seniors pick first then juniors and so forth
- Let adult leaders pick first and everyone else has to adjust
- Do a lottery based on who registered first to last
- You assign based on small groups.
Bring Your Own Movies, To Avoid Awkward Requests
If you are riding a bus don’t let students bring their own movies. That’s a risky situation. Most times I bring about 8-10 movies and then the bus vote based on only the movies I bring rather than taking requests. I would avoid any PG-13 or higher movies, it’s not a situation you want to get into.
Flying, Start Earlier Than You Think
Flying with a group is completely different than just even a single family. It takes longer for checking in, bathroom breaks, tickets, and everything. So always add an extra hour when planning to leave for a cushion.
Count, and Count Again
Every time you stop and before you leave do a numbers account for each vehicle, and make a rule of NO SWITCHING! No one wants to be “that guy” who leaves a kid at a restaurant… Don’t ever assume you have everyone until you do a head count.
Bring A Trash Bag, or Two
Students will bring snacks (or you might too), but most people don’t plan for what happens after the snacks are empty. To avoid a messy vehicle bring trash back and provide a new one every time you stop.
Rotate and Thank The Drivers
Drivers are saints because they stay alert for hours on end so always check up on them and allow them to switch vehicles to drive or even give them time to rest. So always plan for more drivers than needed so you can keep everyone fresh. Don’t let any driver drive more than 8-10 hours in a day. And then don’t forget to give them a special thank you afterward for getting your group there and back!
Don’t forget to let the drivers get enough sleep the night before camp too!
When Should You Arrive?
Check-in starts for ASCENT at 4 pm. You do not have to arrive by then, but you won’t be able to check in before then either.
Supper starts at 7 pm and that is the first “official” thing of ASCENT. So if you arrive between 4-7 pm that’s perfect. Ideally, you give about 30 minutes of unpacking time to your group.
If you have any questions about travel or anything else contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.