The Quest at Christopher Lake: November Video Contest Winner!

It’s November 1st… which means we’re ready to announce the winner of this month’s video contest!

Congratulations, The Quest at Christopher Lake!

Check out their super fun and upbeat video:

This video is great because it is so upbeat, and also because it looked like it took a lot of coordination to pull off! Seriously, how did those kids on the jet ski know exactly when to drive by and wave? Amazing job. All of the campers look like they’re having an absolute blast, and their energy and happy smiles will definitely help draw people to their camp. Thanks again for a great video, The Quest!

Now, YOU need to send me a video from YOUR camp so that it can be considered as December’s winner! But here’s the thing: all video entries for December’s video contest MUST show what your camp is like in the wintertime. Even if it’s just a little tour of your own piece of winter wonderland. What kinds of activities do you do in the winter? Do you host Christmas banquets? Do you do sleigh rides? What about skating on the lake? Show me what you’ve got!

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CCI/Canada Video Contest Round Two

Remember how much fun last month’s video contest was? Did you know we’re doing it again?

There’s still time for you to send in a video from your camp to qualify as the October 1st Winner. If you send us your video by September 30th, we’ll consider it!

So do you have any awesome videos of your camps that we can share?

Basically, I want to see a short video of what you think your camp does best — or even a little video montage of multiple things you think your camp is awesome at! I’m going to collect all of the videos and choose one to be highlighted each month on the blog, in our newsletter (the Equipper), on FacebookTwitter, and our YouTube page.

Your video can highlight an activity, a fun game, a campfire skit, an interesting camp tradition, or just showcase what kind of camp you are and what kinds of cool things you’re doing.

So maybe you already have a video that you think would be perfect, or maybe you want to just take five minutes today to shoot a little something on your camp — either way, send them my way and look forward to October 1st, which is when I’ll be highlighting the winner on all of our media. Even after October 1st, you can feel free to send me more videos — there will be a new winner every month!

This contest will run until I stop receiving videos. So if you want some awesome exposure for your camp, and if you want to be involved in a fun way to connect with one another and see how others run their camps, then you should totally get on board with this!

CONTEST RULES AND INFORMATION:
1. Videos can be of anything camp-related, but make sure they’re appropriate.
2. Videos should be kept brief — please, no longer than 5-10 minutes.
3. Videos must be sent to Deanna at communicate@cci-canada.ca.
4. There is no real deadline for video submissions, as videos will be chosen each month regardless of submission date. Please note that any videos sent after September 30th will not be considered for the October 1st Winning Video Reveal, but will be considered for November 1st’s video winner.

So send me your videos quickly and you could have your camp featured on all of CCI/Canada’s web media outlets.

Ontario Pioneer Camp: CCI/Canada’s First Monthly Video Contest Winner!

We are proud to present the first ever winner of our monthly camp video contest, Ontario Pioneer Camp!

 

We loved this video because we truly thought it captured the meaning and ministry of this camp. Not only did it highlight the camp’s strengths through programming and activities, it also displayed the purpose of Christian camping: to provide a safe, fun environment where kids can experience God. The video showed both fun activities and quiet God-moments. We loved seeing the way the staff were interacting with kids to show them God’s love.

I should mention that this contest was an extremely close call. We received so many fantastic videos showing off your awesome camping ministries. It really was hard to choose.

We’ll still consider the videos we’ve been sent to date for next month’s winner, but feel free to continue submitting camp videos for consideration. Next month’s winner could be your camp!

Promotional camp videos, search engine optimization, and why it’s important to your camp.

A great video is an excellent way to promote your camp. So you’ve made that great video… how great are you at making sure it’s seen on the Internet?

Here are some tips!

VIDEO HOSTING IS FREE! WHY DON’T YOU HAVE AN ACCOUNT YET?

While I do think it’s a great idea to upload videos to your website, I don’t think that’s enough. Having videos on your site makes for interesting content, and can really help sell your camp to interested clients. But in many cases, a person looking for a summer camp might not first go specifically to your website. For this reason, it’s important to host your videos on other sites as well.

Sites like YouTube, Vimeo, VideoBamBlip, and Viddler will host your videos for free. Putting videos on sites like these not only save you the sever bandwidth, they provide another point of entry to your website. An interested client might find your YouTube video before they’ve even seen your site. (By the way, you can read up on some tips for having a super website here.)

When signing up for an account:
–  Make sure you have a branded user name. Don’t just use someone’s personal account. Make a new account with the name of your camp as your user name.
–  If your camp is part of an umbrella organization (like Canadian Sunday School Mission camps, Inter-Varsity Christian Fellowship camps, etc.) make sure your user name is still just the name of your camp. It’s easy to get lost within a larger organization. If your user name is specific to your camp, it will be more easily searchable on Google and other search engines.
–  Sign up on multiple websites. The more sites your video is hosted on, the better the   chances you have of it coming up on a simple web search. To save time uploading videos to a whole bunch of sites, you can use a web service like TubeMogul’s OneLoad Video Distribution. They will distribute your video across all of your account sites, and they’ll also provide analytics to determine how broadly your video has been viewed. Their basic service is free, but you can upgrade to more MB and more services if you choose.

CHOOSE THE BEST WORDS TO DESCRIBE YOUR VIDEO

Try to think of what a person looking for a summer camp would type into Google. Will it be the exact name of your camp? Probably not. So your video shouldn’t just be titled “XYZ Camp” (or whatever your camp is named), and your description and tags should include specific search-engine keywords.

Ways to optimize your video’s searchability:
–  Think about what kind of camp you run and use those words in the title. If your camp is a wilderness adventure camp in Nipigon, Ontario, consider titling your video something like “[Your Camp Name] Wilderness Sleepaway Adventure Summer Camp, Nipigon, Ontario”. That way someone typing in “sleepaway summer camp, nipigon” may be more likely to find your video.
–  Put a link to your website first and foremost in the description of the video. Then go on to describe your camp, keeping in mind those important search-engine keywords. Although it’s probably smart to include contact information at the end of your video, you’re assuming people are going to watch it all the way through. If your link is the first thing they see in the description, they might click on it even if they don’t watch your video to the end.
–  Use tags! Think of every specific keyword someone might search, and tag your video as such. You can even use descriptors like “exciting” or “inspirational”. Use different words to describe the same activity, like “horses”, “horseback riding”, “Western riding”, “equestrian”, etc. And make sure to include general terms like “summer camp“, “sleep-away camp”, “residential”, “sports camp”, “arts camp”, “horse camp”, etc. Some people know the kind of camp they want to send their kids to, and some people aren’t sure yet. You need to use both specific and broad terms to make sure your video comes up no matter how they search it.

SHARE YOUR VIDEOS WITH SOCIAL MEDIA

You might have a lot of “likes” on your Facebook page and a good contingent of followers on Twitter (and if you don’t know how to use those sites, contact me and I’ll hook you up) — so use that audience to gain some views on your video’s page.

You can set up Facebook to publish your YouTube videos to your camp’s page. Just add an application like this one to your profile and it will automatically publish your likes, favourites, and video uploads from YouTube to your Facebook page.

You can also upload your videos to applications like these ones, which will publish your videos to your Twitter feed. Some of these applications are more complicated than others. For its simplicity and awesome user-friendliness, I’m leaning towards TwitVid, but there are some other great options as well.

ONE OTHER WAY TO GET YOUR VIDEO SEEN:

Submit it to our video contest!

Sorry, I couldn’t help but plug our contest. But seriously, I’m going to post the winning video to Facebook, Twitter, this blog, and our monthly newsletter. That’s an big audience!

Keep thinking creatively to market your camp in our digital age. From the entries I’ve seen in our contest, I can tell that you’re all doing some really great things. The videos you submitted exceeded my expectations. Now you just have to make sure your hard work gets seen!

Ways for you to have fun AND get some exposure for your camp:

Presenting…

CCI/CANADA’S FIRST EVER VIDEO CONTEST:

Do you have any awesome videos of your camps that we can share?

We’re going to be having a fun little video contest! Basically, I want to see a short video of what you think your camp does best — or even a little video montage of multiple things you think your camp is awesome at! I’m going to collect all of the videos and choose one to be highlighted each month on the blog, in our newsletter (the Equipper), on Facebook, Twitter, and our YouTube page.

Your video can highlight an activity, a fun game, a campfire skit, an interesting camp tradition, or just showcase what kind of camp you are and what kinds of cool things you’re doing.

So maybe you already have a video that you think would be perfect, or maybe you want to just take five minutes today to shoot a little something on your camp — either way, send them my way and look forward to September 1st, which is when I’ll be highlighting the winner on all of our media. Even after September 1st, you can feel free to send me more videos — there will be a new winner every month!

This contest will run until I stop receiving videos. So if you want some awesome exposure for your camp, and if you want to be involved in a fun way to connect with one another and see how others run their camps, then you should totally get on board with this!

CONTEST RULES AND INFORMATION:
1. Videos can be of anything camp-related, but make sure they’re appropriate.
2. Videos should be kept brief — please, no longer than 5-10 minutes.
3. Videos must be sent to Deanna at communicate@cci-canada.ca.
4. There is no real deadline for video submissions, as videos will be chosen each month regardless of submission date.

So get going, camp friends! Send me what you’ve got. I can’t wait to check out your camps!

How does your camp deal with crazy weather?

It’s a beautiful day here in Alberta, and we’re pretty stoked. The past few weeks have been a mixture of gentle morning rain, afternoon torrential downpours, evening mists and midnight thunderstorms. Yeesh. When the sun comes out, we all run outside — only to be driven back inside by the crazy, record-high swarms of mosquitos.  Pretty brutal, Alberta… even for you.


But that’s okay! Camp goes on! During times of inclement weather (be it incessant rain or scorching sun), camp staff have to get creative with activities that will keep the kids comfortable, happy and having fun!

What are some of your favourite weather-busting games? Do you have any fun rainy-day activities, or any suggestions for activities kids can play to beat the heat?

We really do have lots of things to say.

Welcome to CCI/Canada’s brand new blog! Since we have so much to say, we thought we should create a space for communicating everything to you.

We’ve been doing all kinds of things to try to better connect with the world of Christian camping, both in Canada and worldwide. We started a Twitter account, we’re all over Facebook, and, if you’re a member you know that we send out a pretty sweet monthly newsletter. And even though our current website is not too shabby, we’re in the process of building a whole new one, which will be really interactive and easy to navigate!

CCI Better Together Logo

I think one of the greatest benefits of membership with CCI/Canada is the opportunity to connect with others in the camp world. We truly are better together, which is why I’ve been bombarding everyone with CCI/Canada’s new social media tools. I really want to continue building on what is already such an awesome community. I’m hoping that everyone involved in camping ministry, including our valued members and supporters, will get involved by following this blog and our twitter, checking out our website, and liking our page on Facebook.  That’s how we’ll know who you are so we can start building relationships with all of you! If you don’t interact with us, we won’t be able to share resources with you and offer you our support.

So, what will this blog be about?

This blog will be a space where we can share interesting links, news and other resources with you. We’ll be able to keep you up to date on the happenings of CCI/Canada. And, most importantly, we’ll be able to connect with you in meaningful ways!

See you around, camp people!