Last week, Worship Times and PCCCA announced a unique partnership. Together, they offer an opportunity to bring the summer camp experience online and into homes across the country through a Virtual Camp Portal. Due to the Coronavirus pandemic, many camps and conference centers will be closed for the summer season. While quarantine may prevent overnight and in-person camps from functioning as they normally would, the Virtual Portal brings the summer camp experience home.
But what does that actually mean? We know new technology can seem confusing, so here is a break down of the different parts of the Virtual Camp portal. It’s actually incredibly easy to use.
What is a Virtual Portal?
The portal offers a secure environment for summer program content to be hosted. Content includes live-streamed or pre-recorded videos, downloadable projects or pdfs, and can cover a variety of topics. Whether you create your own content or are using copyrighted material, it will be stored safely behind a password. Only registered users with a password will be able to access the content.
Youth can interact with each other and their program facilitators! No one outside of the registered users will be able to interact with campers. Create a secure online environment for youth to play and just be kids.
Customize Your Portal
After sign up, a facility can customize the look and feel of their portal. The portal can feel like a part of your website. Add a logo, your camp name, and create a subdomain. A subdomain is an extension of the virtual camp url that includes your camp or church name. There is an example summer program set up for Camp Fun at https://campfun.virtual-camp.org/.
The portal homepage offers the opportunity to create a welcome video, connect to social media channels, and give instructions on how to enroll for summer programs. Make this page shine with the personality of your program.
Summer Program Creation
Programs can be day camps, week-long, or multi-week endeavors. Camps for elementary, junior high, senior high, or the whole family are supported. With the option to charge a fee, allow for donations, or to give free access to your campers, the Virtual Portal can meet the needs of any program.
Creating your program content is the best part. Use all of your creativity to bring the joy of in-person summer programs to the homes of your campers. The ease of the Virtual Portal allows you to post program content just like a blog post to a website. Categories attach icons to each piece of program content.
Who Can Use the Virtual Portal?
Regardless of religious affiliation, any summer program can utilize the Virtual Portal. In fact, “Ten denominations have endorsed the Virtual Camp Portal for their camps,” said Joel Winchip, Executive Director PCCCA. “I am truly impressed by the ecumenical collaboration that is happening during this critical time in the history of our camps.”
Do not feel limited by the words ‘summer camp’ or ‘Presbyterian.’ The portal can be used by anyone in need of a secure site for summer programming. Are you looking for ways to bring Vacation Bible School, retreats, or mission trips to your congregation? Do you run summer programs for scout groups, neighborhood parks, or community groups? The Virtual Camp Portal can work for you, too!
Worship Times is a full-service digital marketing and communication team that specializes in helping ministries of all sizes and denominations reach their people. During Covid-19 quarantine, we know how important it is to have the best tools at your disposal to stay connected. With over 1,000 partners and even more websites built, we can help you find the digital tools you need to lead your ministry through this uncertain time.