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Technology can connect campers year-round

Jim CastroLang, acting pastor at First Congregational UCC in Colville, led a workshop on using technology to keep in contact with campers through the year.

Jim CastroLang

Jim CastroLang leads workshop on technology and camps.

“If you send a slide show out immediately after camp, the campers are fully in the energy of the camp,” he said, suggesting sending it out two to three months later as a first “touchpoint.”

Then at six months, Jim said to remind campers of the excitement of last year and look ahead to next year.

He suggested blogging, texting and tweeting, using the tools the campers are using.  Just to send a brochure to sign up for the next camp is not enough to keep their excitement.

“We need to remind them using the tools of technology to bring back memories of the good experience,” he said.

“Facebook is too public,” he said, “but you can set its security.  It’s important to let parents know what technologies you will use and what security there is so they use technology and don’t abuse it.”

“Facebook has taught us the power of simplicity, streaming tidbits rather than four paragraphs,” he said.  “There will continually be new technologies.  We need to experiment with them and discuss if they enhance our connections.

Technology can detract from or enhance the camp experience. 

For example, because young people expect immediacy in their communications, technology may keep campers in contact with friends and family outside camp, diminishing community building at camp.

In contrast, if several enjoy and take photos of a sunset, those photos can be shared as part of an evening worship service to enhance the worship and the experience of the sunset, Jim said. 

In helping lead a camp, he doesn’t plan worship ahead but lets it come out of the experience of the camp, bringing together things from nature and the beauty of the environment. 

Jim said that the new technological tools need “to be incorporated organically so they enhance camp life.”

Copyright Pacific Northwest Conference News © December 2009


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