Social Media at Summer Camp- UStream Video

Send Live Videos Home to Camp Parents

With the parents of our campers becoming more and more of a younger generation and more open to emerging forms of social media, it is important to develop ways to engage them through different technologies. And this should not be viewed as a hassle, it’s a great thing! Improved cell service in rural areas is giving summer camp professionals a new, fun way to quickly give parents that connection to camp and allowing them to share in their child’s awesome experience.

UStream Videos for Summer Camp

UStream Videos for Summer Camp

For this post, I wanted to focus on UStream. Ever since I’ve heard of UStream, I have often thought how cool it would be to somehow allow parents to get a glimpse in to big camp events as they were happening...LIVE!  First, to quickly go over pricing, UStream is FREE for the basic account, which still gets you live HD streaming, albeit it the live streams will be supported by ads. It is a bit discouraging to see the price jump from free to $99 a month for the next level, but the free services should be good enough!

UStream is used by simply installing an app on your phone or computer and sending a link through Facebook, Twitter, or e-mail on when and where to view the live stream. It’s a great, simple way to get parents…or even nostalgic camp alumni …involved. Here are some instances where I think UStream would be an awesome tool:

Color War Breakout

Every summer after I got home, I would tell my parents how cool breakout was. Like most camp related conversations, they look confused but happy that I had a good time. It’s hard to explain color war to people who have never been to camp. But imagine if parents got to see breakout? I know the date and time is usually shrouded in secrecy, but what if you sent out an email a few hours before saying checking this link at this time to see an important camp event LIVE! This would intrigue parents and also make it so they wouldn’t have time to send their kids an email saying breakout was happening. 

Opening/Closing Day

My first time going to camp back in 2000, I remember seeing my mom tear up when I was looking outside the bus window. Sending their child away for even a few weeks can be daunting for a parent. It would be pretty cool to let them see the buses arriving at camp, and know their child was happy to be there. It may be a little hard to set up a schedule to a parent could individually see their child on the stream, but just seeing the buses roll in to camp and everyone happy, would make a parent’s day.

General Updates

This is the simplest thing. Yes, a phone call is great, but what if head counselors/supervisors took a scheduled 15 minutes out of their time ever week to do a live stream video giving updates to parents about what’s going at camp and what their kids were up to? It’s an easy more personal way to quickly give parents general information.

Learn more about Ustream here

Download iOS app via iTunes.

Download Android app here via Google Play.

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Brian Jacobson is a Group Leader at Timber Lake West Camp in Roscoe, NY. He will be graduating with his Ed.M. from the State University of New York at Buffalo in May and is a lover of all things social media and summer camp! 

Reach out to him at brianjacobson922@gmail.com or through twitter @brianhasfun