Some Tips for Keeping the Youngun’s Engaged During Camp

| August 3, 2012 | 3 Comments

Our band camp is on a 9am – 9pm schedule with 3; 3-hour blocks during the day.

During the first block, we are out on the field with the band learning drill, which as everyone knows, can be quite tedious and repetitive.  So we try to make sure to deliberately schedule in some fun!  Here are some of the things we’ve done that work well for us.

During our second block each day, which is after lunch, we dedicate 1/2 an hour a day to a fun group activity.  Here are a few favorites:

T-Shirt Decorating!

One of our traditions is to decorate shirts that will be worn on the last day of band camp for our Friends and Family Performance.  We get ink jet iron on transfers (available at most craft and office supply stores) and I ask a parent or two to do the printing and ironing a day or two before we are going to be decorating the shirts.  We usually pick a piece of clipart off the internet that has something to do with the theme of that years’ show.  Then the kids bring fabric paints and markers and decorate the back of the shirt (non-clipart side) any way they want and we usually have each guard member sign each other’s shirts).



We have also decorated visors and flag bags in the past.

Team Building Games

One day during the week we also play team building games – Red Rover, Duck Duck Goose, and other things the captains think of.

On-Screen Inspiration!

One afternoon we will sit in the theatre with the band for half an hour and watch a current BOA DVD to get them pumped.

Our evening block is back out on the field.  We start with stretching and a movement block, but we try to change up the movement block with some fun things.  During the last 1/2 hour of camp each night, our entire group is broken into “teams” of 10-12.  There is a staff member in charge of the same team throughout camp.  Each night presents a new activity, with the teams competing against each other.

Some of our evening activities have included:

  • Team trivia (we’ve given this a theme at times – such as Disney themed, TV themed, etc)
  • Telephone (group sits in a circle and a phrase is whispered from one to the next)
  • Putting themselves in linear order based on their birthday (Month and Day) … WITHOUT TALKING
  • Scavenger hunt (we tell the kids the day before to bring a pillowcase stuffed with random items from home, then call out items from a list we’ve created)

Now it’s YOUR turn!  What activities do you participate in at camp?  What fun team-building games have worked best for your team.  Please leave a comment below!

Category: band camp, For Fun!, Fun for Friday!, Instruction, Team Management

About the Author (Author Profile)

Lorraine has been involved in the color guard activity since 1989, first as a performer, then as an instructor and adjudicator. She is currently instructing the color guards at Saugus and Valencia High Schools in Santa Clarita, California, as well as designing for other guards in California. Lorraine also has worked with programs in Utah, New York and Georgia. She was the Instructor/Designer at Littlerock High School from 1995 to 2008. LHS was a semi-finalist at WGI World Championships in 2004 and 2005 and the Fresno Regional Scholastic A Champion in 2005. She is an Adjudicator for SCSBOA, WGASC, and UWGA, and has also traveled to Oregon, Nevada, and Texas to judge marching band and winter guard contests.

Comments (3)

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  1. This is so helpful! I am a first year guard instructor and am the caption head/choreographer. I make sure every day after lunch we play a game and then meditate for 5 minutes to refocus for rehearsal. The video Idea is AWESOME I should try it. Thanks so much!

  2. Lacey says:

    This is an awesome idea! Our camp is always from 8 am to 5pm, with 1 hr lunch. There have been days where the entire day is spent just on guard, and we ran into a lot of frustration after 4 hours of straight guard work with nothing else to do! Thanks for the ideas! :)

  3. Melissa Joyner says:

    I have my team watch video as well. We watch DCI on YouTube videos, WGI videos, and our own performances. It’s amazing how much they improve when they can SEE why you’ve been yelling at them. It also helps them take ownership, which is absolutely key to their growth, as a team and as individuals.

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