Including Parents in Summer Trips

Including Parents, Summer Trips

INCLUDING PARENTS IN SUMMER TRIPS, Summer trips (camps, conferences, missions trips…) can be a massive moment in the life of children and teens to create memories that last a lifetime. In many ways, it is a rite of passage. Even if the location is not that far away, it may be the first extended time away from home and parents, meaning a big moment occurs within the ministry year.

As pastors and leaders partner with parents, it is a crucial moment spiritually, emotionally, socially, and developmentally. Parents NEED to be included in the experience even if they are not there in person.

The greatest thing you can do from beginning to end is to allow parents to be a part of the experience and feel connected. Here are just a few ways to include parents in your summer experiences:


Summer trips start in the fall at the very first parent meeting or contact of the school year. Dates, costs, and initial information need to be on the calendar and out to parents as soon as possible.

Families are busy – this is no secret. Most families are also on a budget, and trips come with a price tag. If your ministry is helping offset the cost, parents need to know what to plan and how much to budget.

If you want to include parents and their kids in summer trips, one of the best ways is to set up a date for the trips as early as possible on your personal and professional calendar as well as with the families.

Planning allows them to talk and pray about the opportunity in advance without unnecessary pressure. It also helps parents prepare themselves and their children emotionally for a big trip away from home.


Many of you may remember a moment when children and teens circle up at the end of camp. Campfires burn as campers sing songs, share stories, and pray. This moment is memorable for campers at the end of the week. You might even have similar experiences or memories from the end of a mission trip.

Circle time before the trip is just as important. Gather everyone together for a time of prayer the morning you leave for your trip. This huddle can be a time to share the final schedules and travel information before you get on the bus.

It also creates a moment for families to pray for each other over the week, providing a meaningful opportunity where parents can dedicate their children to God.


A great way to prevent homesickness, drama, and distractions is to ask students to leave their cell phones and devices at home. Parents and students might initially balk at this idea.

If you are willing to make this guideline, it will make the whole experience better. It helps with homesick younger students, allows participants to experience independence and maturity safely, and everyone to get involved with the fun forgetting they miss home.

Consider having parents write letters and pack care packages in advance labeled with a day of the week. Collect those at check-in to be handed out during the week at meals or meeting times.  Another simple way for parents to write is to offer parents your email address so emails can be printed off and delivered to students.

With cell phones and devices absent, you can offer other ways to stay connected.


Students may not have their phones or devices, but you and your team do, so take a ton of pictures and share them with parents daily. If your parents have signed a picture release form, use social media like Facebook or Instagram.

For a more private sharing option, consider Google Drive, Dropbox, or even Flickr.

These applications will allow you to create an account and folder to be viewed by invitation only. You can even take notes, making it perfect for sharing updates and prayer requests throughout the week.

Nothing is as compelling to parents as when they see “proof of life” pictures to show their child is having fun, laughing, and smiling.


Finally, one of the most amazing ways to have parents stay informed and involved is to create a daily update/newsletter/blog. At the end of the day, after the campers are in bed, send out a personal email update to all the families sharing the stories of the day, praises, spiritual decisions, and particular highlights.

These are trips are busy weeks, and what happens at the beginning is sometimes quickly forgotten by the end; therefore, you have an opportunity. Create a way to allow parents into your heart and the experience so they can look back and ask questions when their child gets home.

Another idea is to journal the blessing of each day publicly.

Be creative and thoughtful when it comes to the families and parents of your students. God will do mighty things through your trips, and the best way to keep those blessings going is to make sure to include parents so they can follow up with discipleship at home in the weeks to come.