VOICE OF THE YOUTH MINISTRY NATION POWERED BY Powered by simpleyouthministry.com

CAMP SEASON

 —  April 16, 2008 — 42 Comments

I don’t know about you, but it’s CAMP SEASON for us. I was looking at our calendar and noticing that from now until the end of August Jeff will be gone at least 1-2 weeks out of each month. I feel nauseous just thinking about it. I don’t necessarily want to go on these camps and retreats, but I don’t like to be alone either. I really have to gear up for this. Spring and Summer time can really be a lonely time for youth pastor’s wives. I don’t think the other women in our church get it.

Most other ministries are just settling down from all the holidays. This is high time in youth ministry, and low time for our family. I know you can relate, this is definitely an area where I need prayer and support. Any ideas? It’s hard to stay strong and supportive of my husband after being alone for so many days and nights. But I know that’s the deal, that’s the calling, that’s part of my role.

Amber Cassady

Amber Cassady

Posts Twitter Facebook

Marketer for Simply Youth Ministry and Group Mission Trips. College-aged girls small group leader. Coffee lover. Fan of skiing and hiking as much as she can!

42 responses to CAMP SEASON

  1. Shiloh Blasdel April 16, 2008 at 6:15 pm

    Oh my gosh! I completely understand what you’re saying! I think I might be going to Kansas when my husband is on all his trips(Where my parents and in-laws live) for 6 weeks over the summer, just because I don’t want to be alone. I actually dread the summer because of all these trips and yet at the same time feel guilty because I feel that way.

  2. I totally understand. I guess the difference for me is that I usually go, at least I did before Macy. I hated that we’d be gone for like 4 weeks of my summer vacation. (I’m a teacher and just love to be off! lol)

  3. Yep, Spring/Summer are rough as a YP wife. It’s tough to be home alone with the kids week after week…after another week. It seems everyone else in the world is off having wonderful FAMILY vacations, while my hubby is nowhere to be found. You’ve got to love those students. Sometimes it seems they get the very best of him. I’m still not sure this all was in my contract when I married him. Oh, maybe that was the fine print. :)

  4. I have always dreaded summers, but we had a “tolerable” routine set up for a while: a two week mission or leadership training trip in June, then just one trip to a music fest and maybe a two day camping trip. The rest of the time was pretty relaxed. But last year was our first year at a new church that requires my husband to be at camp for two weeks plus still do all the rest. Plus since camp was in June, it meant the whole summer was spent getting geared up for the big youth trip. It was awful. But after 15 years of youth ministry, we have a better balance (finally) and he went to the senior pastor and they worked out some compromises. One week at camp this year, and possibly every other year on the mission trip cycle. Of course, my new mantra for life works in this as well as everything else: The Key to Happiness is Lowering Your Expectations!

  5. I too feel your pain, and I am feeling it already. I used to go on all the trips before I was a mom, but now that I have a 2 year old, we are definitely not going. In addition to youth trips, our church is having a budget crisis this year so my husband took a side job as an afterschool care counselor. This should be an “after school” job, right?
    It somehow is not… he keeps getting signed up to do publicity at the street fair, work the rock wall at the Strawberry Festival, go to bus training, liscensing traning, etc. With youth ministry activities at least one Saturday a month, and these things on the others, he is at work 7 days a week. Sometimes, I feel like a single mom.

  6. I am so glad to see that I am not the alone one in this situation. Sometimes I felt like a horrible wife for wanting my husband to stay home and not be gone so much. I am now pregnant with our first child and it has been a very difficult pregnancy. So this time every trip he goes on, I am flying home to be with our family.

  7. Niki,
    I can’t imagine what you go through! How long does he have to keep this pace up? It doesn’t sound like for very long. So exhausting for him and YOU. My heart really goes out to you. I hope you have a great support team around you.

  8. Hello everyone-

    My dear loving husband found this website and forwarded it on to me. I’m so thankful to find “others” like me! Every post I identify with and it’s great to know that I’m not terrible for feeling so frustrated with all the away time. I have been a youth pastor’s wife for 8 years and camp time still isn’t easy! We have three kids under the age of 6 and I’m dreading camp season. Last year I finally said I’m not staying home alone and went on a vacation and I HATED not having my husband there. I even found myself being jealous of the teens for getting to have such mountain top experiences and inside jokes with MY husband. We’ve set up our own family vacation this summer because I understand that the teens need him, but our family deserves at least one week out of the summer too. I’m hoping this year will be more tolerable with that in place, but I’m there with all of you. It’s so nice to find this sisterhood of wives in this very unique job place!

  9. Well, I guess this puts things in perspective. Summers are busy to be sure, but here in MN most people are at their cabins constantly over the summer, so things are not as intense as they sound for you. I just have to endure one week long trip and one weekend. They don’t even go to camp during the summer. Sure kids go to our denominations camps, but my husband doesn’t have to go.

  10. My sweet husband found this blog and bookmarked it for me! He said it would be right up my alley and he was right! I am so sorry that your camp season starts in APRIL! We have 1 week in June and 2 in July but I it least have a few more months before the madness starts! I will go to the main camp in June (in laws will have our 18 month old) and then will stay home for the 2 in July.

    As far as the Lice story….from this southern youth pastor wife to you….BLESS YOUR HEART!

  11. This summer, camp will be a little different for us in more than one way. For the first time we will have a seperate Middle School and High School trip. They are back to back weeks in June. Then in July we have a mission trip. Normally we have one week of camp in June for everyone and one week of missions in July. I love going to camp with my husband and the kids. I am the organized and calm one of our team. (Our pastor jokes that he hired my husband just to get me.)

    Right now we are in the middle of the process to adopt our first child. It looks like our placement will probably come at the beginning of June. I have planned to go to high school camp and mission trip. I am really praying that I won’t end up home alone with a brand new baby for two weeks straight. Or worse, that I will get the call and have to pick the baby up when I am alone. I can’t imagine making that life changing decision without my husband.

  12. My husband just sent me the link to this comment that you posted. He is a youth pastor and I was just crying to him last night about how busy our summer is already and it’s still a month away. I am new at being a pastor’s wife…having only been married a year. I am quickly discovering that leisurely family vacations of my childhood are something we may never get to re-create for our children…at least not in the summer time. However, God is revealing to me, in His time, the new traditions that can be made possible.

    I am thankful to you and the others who have responded to your blog for your honesty and openness. I feel less alone than I did 24 hours ago.

  13. One thing that has worked so great for us (after 6 years in full time ministry…) is to set up our personal/family calendar BEFORE planning youth events and camps (with some flexibility as far as when camps are that we are not programming.) That way we are sure to actually do something set in stone as a family–although we constantly have to revisit the commitment of syncing our calendars!

  14. My mentor at my husband’s previous ministry (a camp) always said that taking their kids out of school was their best option for creating lasting family vacation memories–because summer was just not an option in camping.

  15. So, my wonderful husband found this website and sent me the link (he knows how much I LOVE blogs!) I’m excited to keep reading and hopefully interacting a bit as well…I could definitely use the interaction.
    This being only our 2nd year in ministry and not having children just yet…”camp season” hasn’t become too horrible for me yet. BUT–I can understand everyones frustrations!

  16. Cool site, but I’m a youth pastor’s husband. Are there any other husbands of youth pastors around?

    Speaking of camp, I’m staying home this summer to work. Fortunately, my wife only has one week of camp. Next year, she’ll have two weeks.

  17. Joel,
    I don’t know very many, but my best friend is the youth pastor and her husband is “married to a youth pastor”. So I know they are around, and I can see both sides of this coin for sure! If you need a buddy (guy) to relate with let me know maybe I can connect you two.

  18. So feeling your pain….I LOVE youth ministry, but as our children are getting older and now our daughter is in youth (7th grade) we are working through it. We are finding that our daughter wants to be involved in all of it and the camps/mission trips are quite taxing on our budget, as well.
    Overall, we are working toward “simple church” and praying that we can delegate better, equip new leaders, and do more ‘sending’ and a little less ‘going’ for the ministry to our own family during these important years.

  19. My youth pastor hubby sent this site to me today. We’ve been in the ministry for over 18 years…so I laughed out loud at many of ya’ll’s comments. Been there, done that…still doing it.

    He just emailed me his schedule for this summer (an email I always dread) and he’ll be gone for 5 weeks this summer. I am a minister as well (I am a Christian Life Coach and teacher/speaker)and I looked at that schedule and it very easily turned into a hurricane in my head trying to think of when “I’ll need babysitters for when I am seeing clients, what days can I see clients, what days to I teach a the University!, whoops….we’re double booked here!, hhhhmmmm, there’s maybe one week we could go on vacation….etc., etc., etc..” I am sure many of you have those same questions flying around in your head too!

    In times like these I have to make a choice to take that list and my list and go to God with it. Otherwise, I can get very angry, overwhelmed, frustrated, etc., And I have to put Him in control of those schedules. There are many stories I could tell you of how He has made it all work out….not made it easy, but made it easier because I let Him carry us and work out His plan in the midst of it. Not easy for control freaks to do! LOL!! I have a very understanding and compassionate hubby who is so easy going, so he is willing to hear me when I need to vent. And he is willing to hear me when I say “our kids need you too!”. He believes, just like me, that if he ministers to all of those kids, and misses ours, then he lost the plot. God somehow helps us keep that perspective. I am thankful for Him, because otherwise, this control freak would be freaking out!!

    Good to meet you all!

  20. Amanda,
    Thank you so much!! I have been hoping for something like this since the conference in OH.

    It is so reassuring that we are not alone. I love how people think that camp season is only for the one week that their kids are gone. Um, can you say Saturday fundraiser???? Or 6th grade trip or grad trip or high school trip,or . . .

    I retired from trips when I took our third baby on a 6th grade camping trip when she was 4months old. I still haven’t figured out which is harder; being left behind or going along.

    I am looking forward to following your blog. Hopefully this will be a place of great encouragement.

  21. I have a few thought in regards to survival. We have 4 kidos ages 6,5,2,and 9months. Here are a few things that I have done to survive “camp season”

    Outrageous Outings – I am talking about the kind of things that make your husband smile and your mother – in- law’s toes curl. Example – this fall while my husband was sailing on the ocean with the high schoolers (no, I never get jealous) I took my own crew out for a free hotair balloon ride. Watch the paper. You would be suprised at all of the cheap, unusual options. (special note: we live in a town of 10,000. Even small places have many gems waiting to be found)

    Sunday Night Treats – After the birth of baby #4 I had to step away from the hs ministry. Rather than have Sunday be just one more night that dad is gone, the kids and I have created our own tradition. We eat only junk food for dinner on Sundays. At first the kids could only pick places with a drive-thru or things at home. Now that I have adjusted to taking 4 little people with me everywhere I go our options have expanded. The kids really look forward to Sunday nights. I must say that my attituded has improved too.(this only works if the kids don’t get many sweets during the week. otherwise, what’s to look forward to?)

    Find help – When the hs students are gone I offer to pick up one of the ms students from school and feed them dinner (read – I bribe someone to bathe my kids for me) I ask a hs student when the ms students are gone.

    Keep some activites sacared – have a park that you like? maybe a favorite meal? pick a few things that you only do when dad/husband is gone.

    These are a few of my practicle coping mechanisms. All of these ideas were birthed out of tear filled, angry, bitter nights/days/weeks alone. I am eager to read how others survive from April to August.

  22. Beth,
    Thank you for your great perspective! Your comment was refreshing for me, especially today. Just feeling overwhelmed today by the crazy schedule.
    Thank you!
    Amanda

  23. Ann,
    I LOVE IT!! Great advice and I will use it.
    THANKS!
    Amanda

  24. Luckily we DONT DO CAMP!! Yes! If we did camp I would just go nuts! I already have to be alone this summer with a 2 yr old tornado of craziness for a week and a half for a “mega trip” half mission, half music festival, and a “sabatical” -yeah. RIGHT! This “sabatical” includes: trips to other churches to work up a data base of names, etc. for a big huge book of youth pastors…good idea right?! Wrong. That means my husband will spend OUR summer on the computor while I entertain OUR son elsewhere so that the “sabatical” can be had. Im not sure why we’re calling this a “sabatical” because in reality there will be no rest, just work. Luckily this summer the only trip my husband will be on is the mega event. Whew!!! I absolutely dread the summer of weird trips to the mountians where I have to wonder if my husband fell off a clif or got the kids lost on one of their expeditions. Along with the mission trip, new found in love with music festival, camping trips, game days, and the miscelanious days that Im possitive my Youth Pastor husband plans for his own pure wanting to eat ice cream or watch movies ;) If I had to deal with camp I might just go nuts! Good luck to you! Try and stay sane. And when you really want your husband to come home…tell him you’re painting the house purple and fushia. Hahah!

  25. Camp Season! We all need prayer during camp season! I love this new website and so thankful to be able to hear about other “Youth Pastor’s Wives” going through the same things I am!

  26. My husband found this site today & thought i should check it out. So glad I did!!! Its so wonderful to know I am not the only one frustrated, worn-out & torn between it all. This is my new favorite blog!!! Thank you Amanda for creating this site where all the YP wives can join & express our true feelings without feeling judged or feel they are being looked down upon. You have done a great thing!!! Thank you again =)

  27. First, I just want to mention that my husband (a youth pastor) also sent me the link to this website…interesting that some of our hubsand’s found the site before us!

    Second, I want to say THANK YOU for this website. I am new to being a youth pastor’s wife and just now beginning to understand the sacrifices involved. My husband and I have been married for about 8months and have only known each other a little over a year. He has 3 trips this summer – 1 trip in June and 2 in July. Since we don’t have kids yet I will get to go with him on 1 of the trips in July. I’m grateful that I get to go on the trip but I have to use my vacation time at work to go and a youth mission trip isn’t what I would call a vacation, let alone my ideal family vacation.

    This website doesn’t change my (our) situation(s). However, knowing that there is a website where we, as youth pastor’s wives, can share sacrifices and frustrations, joys, and survival tips, helps me find humor in my situation and ease the loneliness of what we all know as “Camp Season”.

  28. Like so many of you my husband told me about this blog as well, thinking I might get some encouragement and I sure did. Camp season truly is a doozy. Last year I tried to stay home by myself and I got lonely half way throught the camp season so I went to camp and then my husband didn’t really know what to do with me. He was already crazy busy being the camp director. So this year I agreed to speak at camp so that I can stay there and have a purpose, but not have to be a couselor or some other random job that reminds me of summers in high school. Anyways I hope this summer is better. Someone really should start a retreat center for youth pastors wives to go to while their husbands are gone on retreats, camp and conferences.
    Thanks everyone for your comments I love them all
    Audrey

  29. I know exactly what you mean. I find myself not having any down time at all in the Spring or the Summer (like most other school teachers in my Christian school get) because I get tangled up with his events or go it alone. All year round I struggle with trying to be a teacher and a youth pastor’s wife, but this season is the worst! My friends and family want us to visit with them and I have to say that for the most part I am booked because my husband is. Something that I do to help keep me sane(not over worked or low on time with other people in my life) is help my husband with the prep time and then while he’s gone at the camp, or whatever it is, plan a fun day with a relative or friend. I went to my cousins wedding last summer and got some much needed r&r with other friends around town that I work with. I don’t have any kids yet, so I don’t know what I’ll do when we come to that chapter in our lives but this is what I have to work off of (when I was at my cousins wedding my husband shocked himself and the dog and cut open his foot trying to install a new dishwasher for me….I told him that’s what its like for me when he’s gone, but without the physical pain because I’m not that silly). Any who, my husband still is supported and I’m not really too lonely because I keep myself busy. I also, of course, have offered to be there for my husband in case of emergency, like there is no female volunteers for a cabin retreat or everyone can chaperon, but nobody wants to stay with the Jr.High kids for the events. I’m glad you said what I’ve been feeling for quite sometime!!!!!! Its nice to have someone who can relate (then it seems like you are sharing the burden with more people than just with God in your prayers)

  30. My OB doc asked my husband and I a funny question when we were visiting the week after Easter. He asked if “people of the cloth” got a break after Easter like tax professionals do after tax season? We kind of laughed and said, “well actually we start gearing up for our summer trips, camps, etc.” Wouldn’t it be nice though? I know my doc isn’t a Christian, but I think that he voiced what many in the church think of staff, especially youth pastors. Summer is when they get to have a few weeks off for camp. Right…a week off.

  31. Whoa! I just checked my email to find this website (because I’m a mom)! I love it and I’m so grateful. Thank you so much for your honesty. Every year about this time I start feeling this same way…dreading it before it even gets here. Being able to read how others are coping and just that they are dealing with it also makes me feel better already. Thanking God for you!

    Stephenie Lennon
    North Carolina

  32. You could be onto something here…a camp for youth pastor’s wives and their kids to keep us from going insane! I love it. Sign me up!

  33. I work a full time job and take my 2 weeks vacation to actually go to camp up in the mountains of New Mexico. We live in San Antonio so it’s a major trek up there. We tote our entire family with 3 kids ages 8,11 and 17. The only kiddo we have that is a actual camper is the oldest so we have our younger children with us in our room. Our days are filled with teachings, serving meals, etc. and being fully engulfed in camp activities, not to mention keeping a eye on the little ones. It is very tiring and I come back to work after that week for a break. Having said all that I would never change a single thing or a single moment of that trip. You see God working through you and the kids at camp as they discover how God has worked and continue to work in their lives. My husband being a YM spends all of his time with the kids and bedtime is a “hey how was your day” moment because that’s all the energy we have at that point.

  34. I’ve gone to camps every year until this year. They’re going to a more remote place and I have a 2-year old. So, that is two weeks of camps and no hubby. This is also the first summer we live out of state away from my parents.

  35. Hey Ladies! I have been a youth Pastor’s wife for 17 years and have loved every moment of it. I pack up my children every year and we go to camp with my husband. It is a great experience for my children, I get to bond with the other youth pastors wives and the teens are great with my kids. When the kids were smaller I took a babysitter with me so I could help my husband. I try to make my children a part of the ministry so they love it as much as I do…not get bitter because dad is gone.

  36. wow, thats a great thought laurie.
    i’ve taken my son (3 & 1/2) to youth camp a couple of times. our 1 year old daughter hasn’t been yet. the teens definately love them. it’s great to get them involved as much as they can be to allow them to see what it is that daddy does. i’m blessed to be a part of a church where thats ok and even encouraged. our kids are refered to as the “youth group mascots”.

  37. I am in tears as I read all of your blogs because I sooo relate. I love being in the minstry, but am having a hard time with all the alone time I have to deal with. We have practices for a youth minstry competion EVERY saturday from feb. through April and then May starts graduations and raising money for the missions trip. Camp is june and missions trip is july. PLUS all the events planned in the middle of all this! I am just so overwhelmed with it all! I know this is our calling, but I just wish we were able to invest as much time in our two young children as we do in the lives of others peoples children.

  38. Pastor Brandon May 8, 2008 at 9:11 pm

    At the risk of offending someone, this is not my intention, I have to post. First off, let me say that I am a youth pastor, hence the reason my wife was reading this blog and comments…she was not comfortable responding with how she and I felt among ALL of the supporters of this particular thread, so you get me :)

    My wife of 11 wonderful years was reading through this post and all of the comments made by the readers of this blog. The reason that I am here now posting and not her is because she is floored by the number of youth pastor’s wives who do not seem to be supportive of their husbands and the ministry that they are in.

    When I was called into ministry, WE were called into ministry and I can’t do it alone or would ever try. Without my wife WE do not have a ministry. I do understand that he/I as a husband & father have to be devoted to taking care of my family. At the same time, God has given me a mission to reach young people…that doesn’t stop because we have kids or family. My wife and daughter are part of the ministry – the ministry is not just the church, or just camp, or just all of these things that you are getting upset about him being at and “skipping out” on you.

    Perhaps we have a different relationship than a lot of pastors and their wives but it works and I like her to be in ministry with me. She understands what I do and not only understand what I do but is in this with me…we pray together, church together, and go to youth camp together…this WILL be easier when our daughter is YOUTH camp age, but my wife does get to also go to kid’s camp with my daughter. Our family is in ministry together, we go to church together, we come home together, we pray together, and we’ll STAY together.

    In closing, as I said, my objective is to NOT be offensive. Perhaps you or your husband, preferable both of you need to make out a priority list and pray over it and then discuss it. Bottom line, if one of you are resentful of the time that the other is spending away because of ministry then something amiss. I’m not saying all of you are wrong, a lot of responsibility goes to your husband/head of the household, but as the majority of you seem offended at the amount of time your husband stays gone, it is YOUR responsibility to approach your husband and work this out – if he doesn’t know, then he CAN’T fix it.

    I say this as a full-time youth pastor, husband, father, as well as a full-time business owner outside of church. I also umpire softball during the summers for extra money…all that being said, my priorities come first and foremost.

    I do not read this forum/blog but I would be glad to discuss this topic with any or every one of you in a respectful manner as I will not be part of a disrespectful rant.

    Feel free to e-mail (brandonmorris@centurytel.net) if you’d like…I do understand that this forum/blog is for youth pastor’s wives to vent and share ideas and frustrations to each other…perhaps sometimes it would be good to get another, unbiased youth pastor’s opinion on different matters such as this.

    Thanks,

    Pastor Brandon

  39. Well put, Pastor Brandon, thank you for saying what I wanted to. I love being in ministry with my husband. Although I’m sure it is easier because we do not have kids yet I can’t imagine not being a part of it. I love what my husband does with the youth group and can’t imagine wanting him to stop or being upset with how much time he spends planning for our group.

  40. This is in response to the last two posts and along with the others. I love working with my husband and the youth ministry. Our church is very small (250 membership), he is the only Youth person that is paid (very very little). Other than ourselves we have a few (maybe 2-3) parents who are willing to help when absolutely needed. This summer he will be gone for one week in June, and one week in July. They are lonely times (we have three kiddos under 6) for me as an adult. During the last camp the kids and I will head out to camp and have supper one night with daddy. We have a fun time eating in the crammed caf. with our youth kids and the other kids from the association. So far we aren’t too swamped with summer activities, but those two weeks are very lonesome for me, the kids miss daddy and I miss my sanity.

    Right now it is not feasible to go to the camps all 5 of us, either there isn’t good housing or we cannot afford for everyone to go. Being able to go to camp and have the kids taken care of would be great, but right now we have no volunteers (we cannot afford any type of babysitting other than free.)

    The hardest part with being my husbands partner in youth ministry and a mom is not being able to have time with each separately. If we do a fun activity I have the three little ones and am limited to what I can do at the park myself and with the youth. But I am still needed at the activity to be a chaperon for the youth kids. It’s tough right now, I love it, but it is tough.

    We even had a few parents suggest going on a missions trip this July (they brought this up in March). Neither of us were prepared to go and hadn’t/wouldn’t have been able to plan for a trip of that magnitude.

    Our church body is not the most understanding as to what David and I have to figure out and sacrifice at times. We are the first couple in a number of years, and have more limits than a single college guy. This is were God wants David right now, this is were God wants me. Very little of the youth ministry is solely David, it is mostly David and myself. I like to think of myself as his administrative assistant/vice president/… :)

    Come church camps whatever may come!

  41. Thank you so much for the positive outlook! This is my first real Camp Season with my husband, I am going on 3 Trips, and I am already fighting bitterness over all of the Preparation hours. It is a blessed calling we have received!

  42. I know how your feel! I dread summer. I just feel like it’s a constant battle for his time and he always feels like he needs to be doing something or else he doesn’t feel good at his job. arg

Leave a Reply

*

Text formatting is available via select HTML.

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>