Long Point Conference Centre

Young people socialise at a Christian camping event in Sydney

Christian Camping Accommodation NSW

There are many reasons why a Christian church group may be looking for camp accommodation. Traditionally, the words “Church Camp” might conjure up images of a group of young people carrying tents and sleeping bags for a weekend away. Although this still happens, there are many sorts of Christian family camps run by church groups these days – ranging from youth groups, Christian couples’ retreats and team building getaways, to a weekend camp with the entire congregation.

While a suitable venue for a Christian group will have many things in common with a venue for any large group of people, church groups typically have some additional specific needs and requirements for their camps. When looking for a venue for your next church camp, it is important to do your research to help you find a venue that will suit all your needs. This will help ensure the success of your event.

Below you will find some factors that you should consider when booking a venue for your next church camp, including accommodation, catering, program, and leisure activities.

Accommodation for Age Groups Attending

The accommodation you select will obviously depend on the number of people attending the camp, but also on their ages and requirements.

A typical youth church camp will be well suited to a traditional camp venue consisting of cabin or dormitory style accommodation with rooms sleeping groups of people in bunk beds, and shared bathroom facilities. This type of venue may also offer the possibility of camping in tents if there are not quite enough beds for the number of attendees. Make sure to check that the number of bathrooms is sufficient as well. A youth camp may require separate accommodation for leaders or other adults, such as single or double rooms with an en suite, or small cabins.

A Christian retreat for couples, or other group of more mature adults such as a youth workers or leadership team, will be better served by a venue with a number of small cabins or double rooms with en suites.

A camp for the entire congregation will need a mix of types of accommodation for all age ranges and groups attending. As well as the dormitories, cabins and rooms already mentioned, look for larger units or cabins for families with young children if applicable. If older people are attending, small units or cabins with an en suite and a living area to withdraw to and relax in during the day will be ideal.

Check if wheelchair or pram accessibility is required by any of your participants, and ensure the venue has this if needed.

Well insulated rooms and buildings will be more comfortable to stay in during hotter or colder weather, as well as keeping disturbance from noise to a minimum inside. The availability of heating and cooling will also contribute to the comfort of the participants. Check that the venue has laundry facilities if you will be staying longer than a weekend.

Christian camping accommodation with cabins in NSW
A cosy kitchen at a Christian camping venue in NSW
A couple sit outside their cabin at a Sydney Christian camping venue

Catering – Meals Provided or Self-Catered?

Before booking a venue for your church camp, you will need to decide whether you would like meals to be provided, or whether your participants will be catering for themselves – different rates apply. If self-catering, will a catering team be cooking for everyone, or will families or smaller groups be making their own meals? If cooking for the entire group, you will require a large or commercial kitchen. If smaller groups are cooking for themselves, they will need kitchen and dining facilities in or near their accommodation. 

Traditionally, at church camps, everyone eats together – picture rows of long tables in a dining hall. Even if self-catering in smaller groups, having a large dining area enables people to sit with members of other groups to eat. This is a great chance to catch up and fellowship informally with other church members, particularly if you don’t see each other often. Check that the venue has high chairs if bringing babies or toddlers.

If catering for the entire group, ensure the catering team checks if any attendees have food allergies or intolerances, or other special dietary requirements. Make sure your menu caters for them. If children are attending, you may find it useful to plan a separate menu for them, at least for dinners.

Multi-media auditorium with projector, podium, professional lighting and a sound system.
Over 150 chairs are set up in an auditorium in Sydney.

Program – Large and Smaller Christian Groups

Regardless of the specific type of camp, a church camp will typically have a number of program elements such as worship services for all the members, smaller group sessions, and leisure activities. Ensure the venue you choose has facilities that suit the different parts of the program you are planning.

A service for the entire congregation will require a hall or auditorium seating the number of people attending. Check that the venue has a hall with the required number of seats. 

These days a service probably won’t just have hymns accompanied by an organ and a pastor giving a sermon. It could include a live band, choir performances, and multimedia presentations, just to name some examples. 

Check whether the hall has the audio-visual equipment you require, such as microphones, speakers, a projector and screen. A stage can be useful for any performance by a group. Other options such as lighting can further enhance the experience.

Young people converse at a Christian accommodation venue in Sydney

Smaller Rooms for Christian Group Activities

In addition to a service for the entire congregation, church camps will often have sessions for smaller groups as part of the program. Examples could be Bible study sessions, team building exercises, group discussions or prayer groups.

Although these activities could be done in a large hall, smaller rooms are much more suitable for this purpose, as groups will not disturb each other. Check if the venue has enough smaller rooms for the number of group sessions that will be run concurrently. Also ensure that the rooms have any facilities such as whiteboards that you may need.

Leisure Activities – Planned and Informal

Apart from the services and group sessions mentioned above, Christian camps will typically have some leisure activities included in the program. In addition, it can be good to leave some time free for participants to choose their own activities, or simply talk together and share some of their life experiences. Make sure you have options for both outdoor and indoor activities depending on the weather. If the venue does not have many facilities available, check if there are any in the vicinity. Below are some ideas.

“Getting to Know You” Activities

A “Get to Know You” session can be a fun way to start the camp, for example if people from various branches of your church are meeting for the first time. This can be another good use for the main hall.

Organise some fun games and activities that require people to talk to each other, and maybe even a slideshow of photos which the participants can have sent in beforehand. Nibbles and drinks are always popular as well, so check if the hall has the facilities for serving food.

Group accommodation venue with soccer pitch

Sport Tournament

Playing sport is a great way to get some exercise after sitting still during a long service or group session, as well as bonding with people in your team. Find out if your venue has sporting facilities such as a basketball court, volleyball court, tennis court or soccer field, and organise a tournament or match for everyone who is interested.

The non-players can cheer on from the sidelines, or even commentate the action. Check if sporting equipment such as balls and racquets are available at the venue, or if you will need to bring your own.

Other Outdoor Activities for Church Groups

Many church camps have other great facilities for outdoor activities either on site or in the immediate vicinity, particular if they are located in rural areas. Examples could include a ropes course, archery, bushwalking, zip lining and many more.

Find out what is available at the venue and make sure you make the most of it!

Indoor Games and Activities for Church Groups

Those who are less active may enjoy board or card games. These can also be a good program option if the weather is not suitable for sport or other outdoor activities. They can be played as a tournament, or just informally, in small groups.

Video gaming is another popular pastime with many young people today. This can be done on a large screen in the main hall, so many others can watch.

Activities for Children

If children are attending the camp, they will enjoy having some activities organised for them. These can be as simple as the classic egg and spoon race.

Children of all ages will also enjoy a playground and sandpit to play in. Ideally this should have seating nearby for parents to supervise their children. If there are older kids in your group, consider involving them in a play or evening performance of some kind.

If you’re planning a school camp, Long Point Conference Centre is also a popular school camp venue near Sydney, due to it’s wide range of kid-friendly facilities and large open spaces.

Christian camping accommodation with playground for kids

Find the Best Venue for your Church Camp

Finding the perfect group accommodation in Sydney for a church camp can be a challenging task. However, if you find out and list your group’s requirements and preferences for accommodation, catering, program and leisure activities, this will help you select a venue that best suits your needs, and make sure that your next Christian camp will be a memorable event for all participants.