Lessons Learnt @Youth Camp, 2010 - Part 1

12:45:00 AM

It’s 2011!! A very warm though late new year wish everybody!! I’d like to bring in my first post for this year with something I got to learn in 2010.

November 3 to 5 were life changing days for many of the people at our church, including me and my wife. We had our church youth camp. It was truly an experience some of us wouldn't forget for a lifetime! What was so much more valuable to me however, were some of the lessons I learnt as a leader.

The month following camp, I took time to reflect on what had happened and I decided to write on what I feel I learnt through this whole experience. It was not easy! I had to put a lot of commitment, effort and tremendous patience to finish writing!
If you are planning an event, some of the things that are mentioned below, should help you immensely! 

Before I get into this, I do want to say that the lessons mentioned are not in any order. It’s just that these are the lessons I did learn. Some of them are interrelated. Some of these things I did correctly, some are lessons I learnt from mistakes I made.   

Lesson #1
Early bird gets the worm.

Alan Lakein says, "Planning is bringing the future into the present so that you can do something about it now."
While hosting an event, start planning out things much in advance. And as you plan out things, it’s best to start working immediately. Finish those things that can be finished now instead of putting it away for later.

Our youth camp was scheduled in November and we had an idea of hosting this camp much earlier but it was only somewhere in September that we actually started looking into the same. And since we had planned to conduct the camp during holidays, most of the venues had already been booked and not many speakers were available either. Eventually, we did manage to get a good venue. Two speakers also agreed to come despite their busy schedules as they knew our pastor personally.

Planning out your event, months before it actually takes place, helps a lot. And once you plan it out get started on it! Don't procrastinate! Normally, we tend to delay the work we have to do, thinking that there's plenty of time to do it. I love what Rabindranath Tagore said, "You can't cross a sea by merely staring into the water."

Get started on it! Once your event is decided, take a trip through the calendar, mark out dates when it would be most convenient for you and for people to come and as soon as that is done, make sure you find the venue and book it in advance. If you plan to get speakers from outside, finalize the dates with them as well. For an event or a conference, the venue and the speakers are two key things that should be taken care of as early as possible.

As I write this, we have already booked the venue for next year!

Lesson #2
The pen is mighty indeed.

I cannot emphasize on how important it is to have a list of all the preparatory work; I must add, in writing! This is something I had failed to do. I had an idea of most of the work that had to be done, at the back of my mind!

I have been to youth camps before and therefore I took it for granted that I knew what was to be done. This was a costly mistake I made. As I didn't have a written checklist, it reflected in two areas; 

1. Inadequate Delegation
I had delegated some of the work that I knew of. But because I didn't have a checklist, there were always these 'unexpected works' that came up, most of which I ended up doing myself. So a huge chunk of work was always on my shoulder.

2. Conked Out
Because there was always work that had to be done, I found myself constantly stressed out and too tired to even think straight. It affected me at home, at my workplace and even when I was around friends and other people.

SI Hayakawa was right when he said, "Learning to write is learning to think. You don't know anything clearly unless you can state it in writing.” 

   I have learnt that a written checklist is an absolute must for planning an event. Before you plan an event, sit down and take some time to visualize what the possible needs might be before, at or even possibly after the event. If you are doing this for the first time, I suggest you ask veterans who have done it before, if there are any. Let the whole event process flash by in your mind. And as you see them visually, put it down on paper. This should help you have a rough framework of the work that has to be done.

This first post on event planning should help you get started for your event. Delegation and team work is also a huge part of event planning; more on that however, in the next blog post!

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