Yes I just used hyperbole to grab your attention – but it is true. We know some people have really struggled being “stuck” at home, and our campers kept expressing their frustration at missing out on camp. It’s crazy just how much camping is a highlight of the year for many people from school kids, to church families and youth. People need and rely on those incredible times of connection, community and encouragement.
So, as an organization, we began brainstorming how we could help our valued camping community in ISO to adjust to not camping by giving the people an online portion of what they are missing. We came up with a plan to offer daily content that would bring joy-filled memories, as well as practical things to do at home. Here are some of our specifics:
On Sundays, we have started dropping video segments of “Cowboy Chapel”. Shot in the historic 1888 chapel out at Milly Valley Ranch, we go through our famous kid’s songs that have been sung for generations. The team run through the actions for those who are unfamiliar, then invite you to join them in the shenanigans. We finish by explaining what the song really means and why we love to sing it.
Cowboy Chapel has been a huge hit with our online community with many tagging each other in posts as they reminisce old times. A parent who used to come and camp as a kid commented
“So great to be able to share this with my kids now… they loved it.”
Another parent from a recent family camp said: “The kids and I are still singing the songs from the Family Camp in March – so glad we got to have a fun weekend before all this isolation business. The kids talk about it all the time and can’t wait to come back…Oh and “I Just Wanna Be a Sheep” is the catchiest song ever – it stays in your head for weeks!” and another said “Miss these days, memories and songs at the Ranch. So grateful to be able to hear them again and straight from the chapel… lovely to see familiar faces and hope there is more to come ????.”
“Testimony Tuesdays” are where we shine a spotlight on some of our incredible “Vollies”, staff and campers. We hear their stories of connection and transformation through their involvement with Baptist Camping over the years. Many, having come as campers themselves, continue to come back and serve or sponsor other campers because of the impact camping had on their lives.
On “Throwback Thursday” we take a pictorial trip down memory lane celebrating some of the best and most memorable moments of the organisation’s 70+ year history. For most people, camping holds some of the most unique and rich experiences of our life. By putting up these nostalgic and momentous occasions, we are seeking to help people reconnect with their own special camping moments and spiritual highlights. People have gone crazy tagging each other in posts of old photos which has reconnected many people who were important in their past.
Finally, on Fridays we are putting up short videos for teachers, parents and kids of the fun, initiative camp games that you can do at home. With the current health crisis forcing us to bunker down with just our immediate family, we have all become aware of the precious gift that family is – in whatever capacity you refer to your family. Games done together create connection, fun and memories, so keep an eye out for Friday fun games you can do at home with your family too.
It is a privilege to put up content that is triggering such happy memories and experiences for people during this time.
If the easing of restrictions keeps its trajectory, we are hoping to be back in operation and running camps by the July school holidays – maybe wishful thinking, but were as keen as mustard to be back. If the timeline changes, we’ll let you know –keep checking in on our social media for more updates, activities, songs and trips down memory lane.
Thanks and stay having fun!
Steve and the team at Baptist Camping Victoria.