Being Able to Chase Kids: A Pre-Camp Fitness Plan

May 16, 2015

A guest post by Andrew Cooper, Area Director in Fairbanks, AK.

It’s that time year again when we all get ready for camp. Leaders everywhere are collecting deposits, designing T-shirts, and getting ready for the camp experience.

This fitness guide will help you prepare your body for the ultimate survival contest: Young Life camp.

The Bus Ride

Listen, I get it. Your area is trying to make the camp trip cheaper so more kids can go, but did they HAVE to rent the old school bus for the 30-hour ride to camp? Well, yes. Yes, they did.

How To Prepare:

Planks: Replace all your couch and chair cushions with planks of wood. Do thirty minute reps, four times a day. Sit on planks. Eat on planks. Try sleeping on planks. (Keep abdominals tight.) Repeat daily until departure.

Dance Parties

Just when you think it’s bedtime at camp, another set of lights and music comes on at the pool or field. You must be ready to “shake it” at any moment.

How To Prepare:

Burpies: Ask a fellow leader to set random alarms any time, day or night. When an alarm goes off, do burpies!
Reps of 20 at a time, preferably to the newest dance song sweeping the nation.

Dunk Tank

No one is fully prepared for the emotional scarring that takes place when your kids dunk you in freezing cold water, but you can prepare your body for the ‘ice water challenge.’

How To Prepare:

Jumping Jacks: For every shower you take from now until camp, just as you are about to finish, turn it to super cold, wait 5 seconds, then jump out. 

Day Hike

It’s important to prepare your body for the upcoming elevation increase it will soon experience. 

How To Prepare:

Stairmaster: Grab your Mountain smith bag, fill it with water bottles and a few extra hoodies and carry that around whenever you go out. Make sure when using any stairs from now until camp, you skip every other step and make those thighs burn! Make sure to wear Toms or Chacos to experience the full effect.

Snack Shack

Carbing up at camp is not difficult but some of the portion sizes can be, especially at the snack shack. Prepare your forearms to lift those massive ice cream scoops to your face, Don’t lose that eating competition to a high school kid. They will NEVER let you forget.

How To Prepare:

Free Form Curling: Take a 5lb weight and strap it to your phone. Every time you go to answer a call or text, curl that puppy all the way to your face. Make sure you really hold those last few inches for maximum pumping.


You do not want to be that leader that gets horse after the first club. Trust me, leading cabin time gets tricky when you have no voice.

How To Prepare:

The Celine Dion: Sing. Sing loud. Every day. Especially in the shower. Repeat daily until camp. Drink lots of tea and honey.


For the love of Rayburn, start stretching! You don’t want to be that leader who pulls a “hammy” day two. Make sure you stretch before doing any camp prep reps or any camp activities. I would suggest a few positions but let’s be honest, anything that feels like stretching is more than we’re used to.

Remember, the best training regime for camp is something you’ve done all year–running after kids. 

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