We just returned from a very large group outing—a three day camping trip. The group rents a whole section of a campground each year for the outing and each family uses a site. They keep one (large) site free for the gatherings and everyone brings their own chair and place setting there for special events. Our favorite group activity was an evening talent show and BBQ.
There are organized activities but of course impromptu ones as well. People meet up with their friends, hit the park and beach and play Frisbee along the road. The most popular activity by far is bike riding. It seems that everyone brings a bike—even the smallest of kids—and they ride around the circle constantly.
Here are tips from the organizers:
- Don’t try and tackle it alone. Gather a team.
- Plan ahead-way ahead. Campgrounds in particular might need up a year in advance to reserve the right amount of spots. See if you can reserve with a deposit and then have everyone pay for their own spot when they arrive and register.
- Decide on the amount and type of group gatherings early then publish a flyer that includes all of the information. Make sure you have at least one potluck when everyone brings a dish.
- Keep a To-Do List, a To-Buy List and (closer to the event) To-Pack List.
- Plan for RAIN.
- Plan for any rental items needed for group events and transportation to get the items to the camp.
- Keep a master list as people RSVP and assign them a spot. A map of the campground might be helpful—write their last name right on it.
- Become familiar with any rules and regulations of the area. In particular check for rules regarding pets and motor vehicles.
- Have one organizer arrive and post signs with each family name at the campsite assigned to them as the sites empty from the previous tenant. Cover the paper with plastic and staple them to stakes that you can pound into the ground.
- For the sites where an organizer is staying—put a special sign or symbol on the family name sign so that people know where to go with questions.
- Don’t spend all your energy getting ready. Make sure that events are planned and staffed with the appropriate amount of staffers. Follow up to ensure that they have everything that they need. Assign them the event from the planning to the finish line, including running it at the show, but don’t be afraid to check in with them to see how it is going.