Over the years I’ve used a variety of ways to keep parents in the loop of what was going on at camp. In the early days, I’d shoot my admin a summary email that she would forward on to all the parents. Then in 2003 or 2004, I took a big jump and started using a yahoo group, which worked pretty well. I’ve found that the more I help parents feel connected to what was going on with their kids at camp, the more excited they’d be about the ministry that happens to their kids, both at camp and back at home. A lot of parents are nervous about being away from their kids, so they just want to see pictures of their kids all happy and having fun. These days, it’s so easy to do this, easier than ever.
Our Kids Ministry already has a facebook group, facebook.com/kidsquest. All we did was update the facebook page like crazy. Last year I did a lock-in and I gave 5-8 of my leaders access to the Kids Quest twitter account. It worked well, but only for parents on twitter. If you’re using a facebook fan page, your status updates will sync to twitter, but not the other way around. So, I had a few of my staff just posting status updates with pics as often as they could. As soon as the update published, facebook sent it out as a tweet as well.
The parents loved the updates. We told them where we were on our travels, showed them pictures of what the kids were eating and let the parents know where we were on the drive home (so they could know what time to arrive). I even created “notes” every day with the content of what I would be teaching that day and giving the parents prayer points. It was a good system and the parents went nuts. They felt like they were a part of the camp.
Next year we plan to have even more interaction. On one day we held a contest asking the parents whether they thought the girls room or the boys room was cleanest. A few hours later we uploaded a video. The parents really got into this. Next year I think we’ll do even more stuff like this to keep the parents extra engaged, even creating opportunities for parents to interact some with their kids. I also want to play with the idea of a live feed. I’m not 100% sure you can actually do a live feed with the internet service there, but we could possibly upload the services a few hours later just so parents and families can see what their kids are experiencing.
Click here to jump over to our facebook page and see the kind of content we were posting.
Below is the clean room video contest we posted while at camp.
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