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Bible camp:

Technology takes you there & keeps you connected


ummer is still a way off, but per- haps you’ve already noticed an announcement in your church bulletin alerting you to Bible camp dates. Since about 125,000 young Lutherans will attend camp at one of the 145 ELCA outdoor ministries this summer, your family might be making such plans.

In Ohio, making those decisions can be done in a new way. For the first time, Lutheran Outdoor Ministries in Ohio is using QR coding to direct peo- ple to camp information. Each month leading up to the summer, LOMO pro- vides bulletin inserts to congregations. Each insert includes a different theme and bar code. If worshipers scan the code with their Smartphone, they’re taken to the section of LOMO’s website ( that matches the bulletin insert’s theme. One month the insert might focus on testimonials, said Corey Wagon- field, marketing director, so the QR code will direct people to the testimo- nials website page.

But that may not be the only way the Ohio camps will use technology, Wagonfield said. He hopes to go high- tech out in nature too. “Normally you go to a spot on the nature trail where there’s a plaque telling you about the qualities of a tree, for instance,” he said. “If we incorporate bar codes on the nature trail, when it’s scanned, it can take you to a short video about that tree.” Wagonfield recognizes the incon- gruity of camp—historically an escape from technology—using such

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devices. “I still think we can incorporate technology in the camp- ing experience without making it distract,” he said. “It’s a fine line.” Technology is also a friend to parents who can’t seem to get that letter or package sent to their little camper awaiting mail call. Lutheran Retreats, Camps and Confer- ences (El Camino Pines and Yolijwa) in Southern California ( uses eCamp Services through their online registra- tion company, Thriva/Camp Register. Ten dollars buys 10 e-mail credits which can be used to send 10 e-mails that are printed and handed out to campers each day.

Parents (and others) can even pick

out the stationery for the notes to be printed on. The $10 member- ship also allows access to peruse and purchase online photos from a son’s or daughter’s week at camp.

ECamp allows parents and other family mem- bers to see daily camp happenings, said Desta Goehner, LRCC execu- tive assistant.

“The campers love get-

ting the e-mails every day and parents love feeling connected to their kids while they are at camp,” Goehner said. “We’ve found that using eCamp helps parents, who might be nervous about sending their child to camp, relax right away at the beginning of the week when they see pictures of their kid having a great time.” 

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