Creating a Facebook page is not only free, it’s an easy and safe way for you to stay connected to campers and their families online. Maintaining a place that creates a sense of community while still accomplishing the goals you have set for your camp is not. Here are a few tips that will help your page stand out in a crowd. The biggest rule? Remember that anything you post reflects your organization.
Camps are all about community, and creating a Facebook page is one way to extend that community. The best way to get started is to look how other camps are getting those coveted page “likes.” Here are a few Facebook pages from camps all over Iowa that are making the most out of social media, in no particular order:
The best advice anyone can give you when it comes to taking video is to practice, practice and practice some more. The question is, what things should you watch out for to help you take better video?
Here’s good example that the Lake Okoboji United Methodist Camp and Retreat Center made for one of its summer activities.
One thing every camp should be doing in this digital age is taking video. Whether it’s 30-second clips or a 5-minute film, getting video of camp activities is a great way to showcase everything going on.
This can seem pretty daunting at first, since many people don’t have a lot of experience taking video. Just like with photos, a common misconception is that you have to have the best equipment available to take quality video. Knowing what to look for in a cheaper camera is much more important than having something expensive that does everything.
Here are a few starter cameras that won’t break your camp’s budget.
Animoto.com is something every camp should consider if the staff is taking photos or video during camping sessions. Animoto provides an easy route for creating beautiful photo presentations, and doesn’t require too much knowledge about photo or video editing. Here’s a great example of what a camp could do to promote an upcoming season, courtesy of the Lake Okoboji United Methodist Camp and Retreat Center.
Signing up for an Animoto Plus account ($30 per year) gives your camp almost unlimited access to quality video creation tools. The biggest plus? Using Animoto’s software is very simple. If you aren’t sure you want to make that purchase yet, check out the free 30-second slideshow version. Remember that at any point you can choose to upgrade your account.
After creating an account, click “get started” on Animoto’s homepage. This will lead you to a screen that shows different styles you can use for your slideshow. Usually, I choose the basic Animoto, Water, Fire or any other style that don’t have too much going on. Some styles can get distracting and make your photos lose value.
Everyone has used some type of camera in their lives. Whether it be film, digital or even on a cell phone, we all have a little experience taking photos. Sometimes though, taking a marketing-quality photograph can be tricky. What can you do to improve the photos you are taking or the photos your staff takes?
So you’ve taken photos or video of everything that’s gone on during a single camp session, and maybe even taken the next step in editing it all together, but how are you going to mass-produce it for the five to 500 campers you had this week? By purchasing a CD/DVD duplicator, you can quickly and easily create multiple copies of an original disc that is burned off of your computer.
There are many different types of digital cameras out there, all designed for different purposes and for different skill levels. Many people think you need to have the most expensive camera in order to take the “perfect” photograph, but in my experience this isn’t always true. Luckily, in today’s digital era there are many inexpensive cameras that will work well for most camp needs.
The biggest thing you need to decide is if you want one more expensive camera, or several cheaper cameras. If you have a smaller campsite or one staff member dedicated to taking photographs, it may be worth it for you to purchase one high-end camera. If you have several activities, a larger campsite, off-site trips or several staff members helping out, I’d suggest buying a few lower-end cameras. Another upside to buying cheaper cameras is that they will be easier to replace if one breaks or is lost, and let’s face it: Anything can happen at camp.
I remember the days when every child came to camp with a disposable film camera ready to capture 36 perfect moments during their stay. Camp stores used to sell them, and it was easy for parents to drop them off at the drugstore to develop on the way home. Campers would get the photos a week or so after the whole experience was over, and maybe half of them would have been clear or bright enough to keep.
Today, the disposable film camera is practically a dinosaur. Go on, ask one of your 9-year-old campers what film is. They will stare at you like you like you are speaking another language. Parents don’t buy film cameras for their children anymore. They send them with cheap point-and-shoot digital cameras that can take thousands of pictures instead of 36, and if they don’t like one of the photos they hit the delete key and take a new one. Many of these cameras even video, and the quality of this video is getting better with every new camera release.
What do these digital and film cameras still have in common? The photos on them are still taken by children. I’m not trying to make it seem like campers shouldn’t be taking their own photos, but think about what a child sees versus what you or a parent would want to see.
I spent some time looking through my own photos from when I was a camper and realized most of them were just silly pictures of my new friends and counselor. My parents always seemed a little disappointed that they couldn’t see more of what I actually did at camp besides be a goof. Yes, these photos were important for my own memories, but think about how much better I could remember it if there was someone else taking photos for me.
As a camper, I couldn’t get on the dock and take a photo of myself in a canoe, or smile at my own camera while I was roasting a marshmallow. Staff members can though. A counselor can take a few moments to back up and take pictures of the activities going on all around the camp.
By taking these photos, families can see all the good you are doing at your camp. Think about the word-of-mouth marketing you could create by giving a photo or video DVD to every child at the end of their session, whether it be a week or just a day. Children share these photos with friends and parents will show them to other parents. In this way the DVD you make isn’t just a keepsake, it’s a marketing tool.
The digital camera has turned the disposable camera into a dinosaur, and while it may seem crazy now, every camp can turn this change into something profitable.
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