Fun Event & Activity Ideas

Survivor – More Than A Survivor Weekend

This idea, submitted by Jamie Vaughan, is intended for a weekend retreat that starts in the late afternoon or early evening. Supplies should be dispersed at various points on your camp grounds.

Scavenger Hunt: Gather Supplies

Teams have 5 minutes to elect a tribal leader and tie members of their tribe together at the waist.

Challenge: All items needed for challenges are located at various points in the (name of) camp area. Tribes are required to stay together and will be tied together at the waist. You will need to find each item listed below. The first tribe to gather ALL items and return to the (name of main meeting area/lodge) wins this challenge. Winners get to pick tribal bandanna and tribe name first.

  • Ziplock bag of leather gloves

  • Ziplock bag with 3 matches

  • Ziplock bag with 2 garbage bags

  • Ziplock bag of rope

  • Water bucket

  • Coffee Can with holes for fires

  • Tent

  • Propane Stove

  • Ziplock bag w/challenge instructions

  • Ziplock bag with length of leather

  • Ziplock bag with 2 dice

  • Ziplock bag with 20 lengths of yarn

  • Ziplock bag with material for flag

  • Zipclok bag with compass

  • Ziplock bag with net

  • Ziplock bag with 12 balls

  • Popcorn container

  • Ziplock bag with 2 plastic cups

  • Bag of Popcorn

  • Dunk Bag

  • Ziplock bag with Paper Plate

  • Tribal Torch (candle holder w/ candle)

  • Saran Wrap

  • Cooking pot

  • Measuring cup

  • Plastic 5 gallon bucket

  • Spoon

  • 2 bowls

  • Duct tape

  • Cutting board

Pup Tent Relay Race

Teams have 10 minutes to elect a tribal leader, plan a strategy and review tent set up. They may take their tent out and practice set up with their tribe.

Challenge: Place your tent at the tent set up area, about 50 feet from tribes. Tribes line up in a straight row. Members in each tribe are partnered in twos.

At the leaders whistle signal, the first group of 2 from each tribe runs to the bag, takes out and sets up the tent. They go inside the tent, zip it closed. They unzip the flap, climb out of the tent, and take down the tent. Roll up the tent.

Run to the line and tag the next group of two from their tribe. When tagged the next 2 run to the tent and do the same as above.

The first team to complete, sits down in a straight row, grabs hands and yells as loud as they can. Note that some may have to run twice to make sure that the teams are equal in number.

Supper (or dinner, depending on the region your in.)

After Supper: Build a Fire

Teams have 10 minutes to plan strategy, gather wood and required safety items, plus elect a tribal leader. Give each team only one match.

Supplies Needed: Gather all items required for SAFE fire building.

Challenge: Build a fire large enough to burn through the string that has been tied to a stake at your fire site. Gather all of your items and take to your tribal table.

At the whistle the troop leaders will inspect all equipment and will approve or disapprove your advance to your fire site. Say, “You have been given 1 match for your fire. If your match blows out you may send 1 person to the leader to get 1 match.”

The first tribe to burn through the string wins.

Find the Survivor (Words)
You have 2 minutes to elect a tribal leader and plan your strategy.

Challenge: Be the first tribe to find all of the words on the attached word search. (Note to Staff: Provide a word search of your choice for tribal members.)

Note: every member of the tribe does not have to find all of the words, the tribe as a group has to find all of the words. If no tribe finds all of the words after 10 minutes the game ends and the tribe with the most words wins.

Devotions Around Campfire

Saturday Morning


8:00—Morning Devotions

8:30—Challenges Resume

8:35—Fresh Water Challenge

Teams have 15 minutes to elect a tribal leader and complete this challenge.

Supplies Needed: Saran wrap, rocks, cup with tribe name on it and a stick to dig with.

Challenge: How to survive without fresh water? Make your own little cloud!

Dig a hole in moist ground deep enough to put a cup in. Place cup in hole. On surface of the ground stretch a piece of plastic wrap across hole and secure it with rocks. In the center of the saran place a small stone to weigh it down so you are creating a run off over the cup. Leave it sit in the sun all day. The heat from the sun will cause the moisture to evaporate from the soil and collect as condensation on the saran. It will drip into the cup.

8:50—-Would You Eat It?

You have 5 minutes to elect a tribal leader and plan your strategy.

Challenge: Listed on pieces of paper in a bowl are various African delicacies, frog eyes (olives), spiders (chocolate candy), cricket legs (pretzels), cow brains (plain yogurt), beets, onions, muenster cheese, prunes, carrots, salami, lima beans and peas. One by one each tribe picks an opposing tribe and draws a paper. At least one member of the opposing tribe must eat the food listed or that tribe is out.

When it is down to 2 tribes: if an opposing tribe refuses to eat a food the challenging tribe must eat the same food or it is considered a tie.

9:30—Cats Tails

Hang long strands of yarn all over the camp grounds. You have 5 minutes to elect a tribal leader, plan your strategy and review the type of knot that has been selected for your tribe members to use. (Note to Staff: Some groups required their teams to use only the overhand knot. You would need to give your group directions on whatever type of knot you use.)

Challenge: Make the longest tail.

Each tribe has a different color of yarn. The yarn has been hung in the camping area. Your tribe yarn color is: _____________

One person from each tribe is chosen at the cat. The cat from each tribe stands in the center of area. At the leaders whistle signal, all other members search for the pieces of yarn for their tribeÁ_s color.

The first person to find a matching color piece of yarn runs back to the cat and ties it, using an specified knot, to the cat's belt loop. Each time an additional piece of matching color yarn is found, the member ties it to the first piece of yarn, then the second piece of yarn, etc. Each person may bring only one piece of yarn to tie to the cat at a time.

The winner is the team with the longest tail after 5 minutes.

9:45—Don't Fence Me In

You have 5 minutes to elect a tribal leader and plan your strategy.

Supplies Needed: Baggie with pieces of yarn.

Challenge: The playing field consists of posts in rows. Tribes take turns tying a piece of yarn of one post to another post in order to eventually make a square. The tribe “owns” each square they are able to close off during their turn.

The Tribe who “owns” the most squares wins.

10:15—Build a Shelter

Elect a tribal leader. You have 30 minutes to complete this challenge.

Supplies Needed: 2 trash bags, assortment of rope, compass, and any other items you can find in nature or in your tribal supplies.

Challenge: Build a lean-to that will protect 2 people from a storm that is coming in from the South. We will test the construction by placing 2 tribal members in the structure and throw a bucket of water on it. Who ever comes out driest wins. If the weather is cold you may substitute 2 pieces of paper instead of the 2 tribal members.

10:50—–Can You Catch It?

You have 5 minutes to elect a tribal leader, plan your strategy and gather supplies.
Supplies needed: 12 balls, bucket and tribal bandanna for blindfolding

Challenge: Each tribe is given 12 balls. One member stands 15 feet away with a bucket. Each person in the tribe takes their turn tossing the ball at the bucket. The member holding the bucket tries to catch the ball in the bucket while blindfolded. Tribal members may shout directions to help her catch it.

Tribal members will line up relay style. On leader's whistle the first person in each tribe will toss their ball while their partner tries to catch it. Leader will yell, “1-2-3!” and give the whistle signal for the next set of team members to toss, etc. This will be a very fast paced game and tribes must keep up.

The tribe that catches the most balls wins.


12:00—-Blindfold Obstacle Course

You have 5 minutes to plan your strategy and elect a tribal leader.

Supplies Needed: Net, tribal bandannas, rope

Challenge: Pick one leader to give directions and guide tribe members through an obstacle course. Tribal leaders may not touch any member any time during the competition; they must give verbal directions only.

The tribe members will be blindfolded, tied together and covered with netting. If your netting falls off the entire tribe must stop and put it back on. The tribal leader may not help put the netting back in place but they can give verbal instructions. In this challenge, a tribe is only as fast as its slowest member and as good as their eyes (tribal leader). The first tribe to successfully complete the course with all of its members across the finish line wins.

Play appropriate music (think movie scores, Olympic/sports, dramatic, Survivor theme) through the P.A. system, if possible.

Idea submitted by Jamie Vaughan


Jonathan McKee

Jonathan McKee is the author of over twenty books including the brand new The Guy's Guide to FOUR BATTLES Every Young Man Must Face; The Teen’s Guide to Social Media & Mobile Devices; If I Had a Parenting Do Over; and the Amazon Best Seller - The Guy's Guide to God, Girls and the Phone in Your Pocket. He speaks to parents and leaders worldwide, all while providing free resources for youth workers on Jonathan, his wife Lori, and their three kids live in California.


  1. Jeremy
    April 2, 2013 at 12:00 am

    Great Theme for Retreat

  2. Tommy Jones
    June 7, 2019 at 8:08 pm

    This looks great! We might give it a try- anybody try it yet? Any helpful tips? Any updates to the challenges? Thanks for posting.

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