Alive and Learning: Connecting With Parents
This summer, our Student Ministry program made the trek to Canal Fulton, Ohio for Alive 2009. Alive is a 4-day “Christian Music” Festival that involves popular CCM musicians and bands, speakers, workshops, seminars, camping, swimming and the opportunity to purchase nearly any popular “Christian Media” you could desire. This post is part of a series aimed at sharing my experiences during the week and what I learned through the process so that you might learn from our successes and failures.
When you take a group of teenagers on a trip of any sort, parents will typically want to be kept in the loop about how their kids are doing. Especially if it involves a week of camping in the elements! This year we tried a couple of new technological advances to keep in touch with the folks back home.
Qik - Qik is a video hosting utility that allows the user to upload (almost) instantaneously any video recorded on your smart phone. I downloaded the application onto my BlackBerry before we left, spent 5 minutes setting up my account, and I was set. Over the course of the week I recorded and uploaded around 2 dozen videos ranging in length between 30 seconds and 2 minutes sharing some of the things happening at Alive. One evening I even got to snag one of our teens by the campfire to share about his experiences that day. The videos are embeddable, and you are even provided with code to stream the most recent video to your website. In fact on Sunday morning I received a text from one of our media guys asking if we could record an update to share with the church in the morning services. A few minutes later and it was live! (Want to see the videos I took? Then go to my Qik site here).
Twitter - Almost everyone knows about Twitter by now, but in case you are among the uninitiated, Twitter is a social utility that allows users to “tweet” status messages about their life, and allows others to receive those “tweets” on their cell phones (among other things). My most recent “tweets” are hosted here on the blog. Over the course of the week I tweeted about how things were going at Alive. We even rigged up a widget on our church’s website that streamed the most recent tweets so that parents (and others) would not have to sign up with Twitter to be kept in the loop.
These two technology advances allowed many of our parents, and several members of the church who did not have teens on the trip to keep in the loop about what was going on at Alive. We set up a page on our church’s website where they were hosted and anyone could check in on the group. In a way, it almost allowed them to be there with us. They were invaluable to us this year, and I already have plans to incorporate them into other trips that are on our calendar.
Other Posts in This Series:
Alive & Learning: Going With the Flow
Alive & Learning: Connecting With Students
Alive & Learning: Schedules & Discipline
Alive & Learning: Isn’t Everyone Here a Christian?
Alive & Learning: Touching Base With Your Group
Alive & Learning: If You’re Not Offended Yet…
Alive & Learning: Bringing It All Home