by Matt Lantz Posted Aug 14, 2014
The Pine Cove Shores offers tons of exciting activities, including warball, boats, ropes courses, theme nights, and so much more. As of last summer, The Shores is blazing new trails in connecting these activities and campers to their parents and friends without skipping a beat. Using a new technology, campers are now able to wear Shores SmartBands that link up to their Facebook pages and allow them to share photos, videos, and links throughout the week.
The bands serve three purposes: they are used to identify who should and should not be on the property, they are linked up to camper camp store accounts allowing lines to move quickly, and they present the camper with the option to share via Facebook throughout the week if they so choose.
Each opening day, campers line up to get their SmartBands. As they leave the gym with the bands linked to Facebook, they encounter a box at each door with a sensor that allows them to share preloaded content immediately to their Facebook by simply tapping their Smartband to a reader on the box. The process is instant, reliable, and requires no sign-in from the campers so they can do it in passing. Throughout the week there are multiple camp-wide shares that take place as well. Examples of content shared include all camp photos, theme night activities, pictures from the lub, or the weekly skit characters at lunch. The boxes are great ways to let others at home know how much fun is being had at camp!
Another great feature is what we here at the Shores call “mobile sharing”. This expands the sharing opportunities beyond the gym and dining hall and out onto the field, the ropes courses, and even the boats—wherever the campers are, there they can share! Our small social media team walks around camp with a camera, iPad, and mobile “sharebox” and is able to take pictures that campers can share right there on the spot. Campers can then access photos of themselves or their cabin immediately from their own Facebook accounts when they return from camp. This not only makes it easy for campers to catalogue their time spent at the Shores, but it helps share their experiences with family and friends before they even return from camp.
We provide each camper with a passive (non-tracking) radio frequency identification (RFID) band. On opening day, this band is linked to both the camper’s Facebook profile, as well as their camp store account. They are able to see the photo or video content that is available for sharing on multiple kiosks in the gym and dining hall. The kiosks have RFID scanners connected to iPads via Bluetooth technology. Upon scanning, our custom, in-house-made software reads the band ID, which is linked in our software to the individual camper, and the content is shared to their Facebook account.
We want campers to be separated from the world (and their cell phones/computers), but we also want to give them the opportunity to reach out and connect with friends and possibly evangelize to them. Our desire is to accomplish this without ever giving campers access to their social media feeds, without them ever typing a word. The goal is to remove the distractions of keeping up with a Facebook or an Instagram news feed, while still allowing campers to share a small segment of what they are experiencing at camp. Because these campers are experiencing “the best 6 of their 365,” so how can we help them share that with their friends and family? And ultimately, with over 1,000 shares happening each and every week (compared with just 10-15 on our own), our campers are sharing not only the fun they are having, t the lessons they are learning. With each camper having an average of 400 Facebook friends, there are potentially 80,000 people hearing the name of Christ proclaimed every single week!
Pine Cove wants to ensure that campers have the most memorable time here at camp. These sharing opportunities ensure that the fun times, lessons learned, relationships built, and other memories from camp are easily accessible when not on the campgrounds Beyond just reminiscing about the fun moments of camp, we want to provide campers with tangible reminders of all that God did in their lives during their stay at Pine Cove. We know that the distractions of life, technology, and high school can smother a camper’s return home, so it is our hope that the Shores Shares technology will aid in reminding the campers of how truly amazing it is that Jesus came to die for us.