Camp is a fantastic opportunity for students and adults alike. But it does come with a cost, one we believe to be worthwhile. Every year we have churches that come to camp that have, in some form, raised money to get their students to camp. We thought that we would shine a light on a church that raises every penny of their cost of camp. Highland Odessa UMC sends kids & youth to as many camps as they would like to attend, provided that the student has put in the work for that. So I asked Angela Apodaca, Youth Minister at Highland UMC, to explain their process, and tips, on raising money for camp!


The first is a continuous type of fundraising. We collect “noisy money”  ( which means pocket change) during the children’s sermon each Sunday. From January-June, all funds collected go towards camp funds. Then from June-December, the funds collected go towards buying toys and games for Four Corners Native American Ministry’s… it’s a great way to collect continuously and it also teaches the kids to give back as well.


We participate in our community’s Lenten Luncheon series. Each year we host one of the Wednesday meals and worship services with the meal proceeds going toward camp funds. All the youth kids and children going to camp help set up the tables and decorations the day before, and bring a dessert to serve, and the next evening help clean up.


It’s an easy fundraiser we do yearly. The kids help serve and clean up, and each kid brings a dessert. We have even started offering plates to go, for those not wanting to stay. We host ours on a Sunday after church, and pre-sell tickets so we have a rough estimate of how much to make.


This one probably requires the most work. We run ours on a Friday/Saturday. We pick the dates close to  the beginning/end of the month, those are typically better weekends. The kids help receive and sort donations on the Thursday before, and church members volunteer Friday and Saturday to run the sale. The kids come back in Saturday afternoon to help clean up. We run ads in the local paper and post on social media to advertise to the community.


This past year we hosted a bake sale, but didn’t run it in a traditional way. We had an assortment of baked goods that were baked on a Saturday by the kids, and sold Sunday morning. Instead of charging by the product, we charged a base rate for a container that the purchaser was able to fill with whatever they wanted.


We hold the kids and their parents accountable for fundraising if they are going to camp. We believe all kids should have the opportunity to go to camp, and we know that it can be financially difficult for some families, especially the ones with lower incomes or multiple kids. We ask that each kid pay a small portion of their camp fee, and that they participate in the majority of the fundraising, and in church functions. At the end of the summer, we have a “Camp Sunday” where we share pictures and videos from their time at camp and they share what they experienced, how they felt at camp, and what camp means to them; it’s a way for them to thank the congregation for supporting them going to camp, and gives the congregation a chance to hear about camp.

I hope this is all helpful for those who fundraise or are looking for ideas.

-Angela Apodaca

So there you have it! If your church has been looking for ways to get the F-U-N in Fundraising, these are some great ideas to implement for your youth group camp expenses.

How does your youth group raise money? Let us know!