If you have ever been tapped to organize a vespers service or Sunday morning inspirational pause, it can either be easy or a challenge.
These are important because they allow a calming point in the day, allowing for reflection, connection of the campers, creating memories, and reinforcement of what connects Grangers together.
With some preplanning, inspiration programs can create a meaningful experience for all involved. Many times, youth ambassadors, young couples are asked to organize these events or the state Grange chaplain. However if you find yourself in charge, here are some helpful tips from the Montana 4-H’s Survival Guide for 4-H Camp Leaders.
(For a full copy, go here: http://montana4h.org/#resource:Support_Materials, click on Camp Survival Guide for pdf of the booklet.)
Hopefully, these tips can help you along.
Tips for Planning Inspirational Programs
1. You can use humor and set a light mood with meaning but be careful not to let laughter take over. It is easier to make someone cry than to make them laugh.
2. Vespers do not have to occur at a specific vesper site. The space needs to be big enough for everyone to see, hear and stand or sit comfortably. Distractions give campers a perfect excuse to be distracted.
3. Make content developmentally appropriate.
4. Involve as many campers as possible. If only a few can be readers, the rest can lead a song or give leadership to special activities.
5. Call on other leaders to assist – their leadership can be of great help. If you are doing something unusual, review it at your leader meetings.
6. Have other leaders scattered throughout the campers – a gentle tap on the back or arm can remind campers to be quiet or, a leader can also slide in quietly and sit between two rowdy campers.
7. If you have a standard tradition for going/coming to vespers, review it with the campers.
For example – When campers (in pairs) get to the bridge it is a signal to get quiet, remove hats and remain quiet till you return to the bridge on the way back.
Leaders can assist – station them to guide campers and reinforce appropriate behavior.
8. Utilize the special talents of campers – a singer, a dancer, someone who knows sign language. Words are not essential to impart meaning to the ceremony.
9. Words and music are the most common methods of inspiration. A better way to show the beauty of nature may to have a few minutes of silence to allow campers to reflect and “discover.”
10. Be creative!!! You may want to use different types of drama such as plays, or role playing.
11. Be prepared for rainy days (alternate dry locations need to be determined ahead of time).
12. For group singing, select familiar songs so that song sheets are unnecessary.
13. Seat campers close together.
14. Pre-vesper music creates the mood. (CD player or digital music docking station)
15. You may want your first vesper program for younger camps to be conducted by leaders so campers will understand what is expected of them.
16. Use a small portable microphone – it helps little voices be heard and keeps the group engaged.
17. Work with other groups – if you leave the flag ceremony to go to vespers, have the flag group assist. Ask song leaders to teach or practice a particular song you want to use.
18. Help prepare campers for these activities – allow them time to get a coat if going to candlelighting, make sure they have mosquito repellent or take some other appropriate action.