CLC’s live blog of Maccabia 2012 was a huge success. We thought it would be exciting to share how it all happened behind the scenes!
A couple of days before Maccabia break out, Senior Assistant Director Greg Kellner approached the programming team with a wild idea: to live blog Maccabia. He had just purchased a couple of brand new Eye-Fi wireless SD cards, and was excited about the prospect of keeping our camp parents updated with all the action, via tweets, live blogging, and Facebook updates. As I had been working on the camp blog for several weeks, I made the project my own.
The day of break out, Greg and I crafted a poem about Maccabia and the blog to send to our parents, in order to spread the word in advance. I blogged about the last fake out, break out itself, and then boom! It was game on.
For the first day of Maccabia, I was carrying around a camera armed with the Eye-Fi card, which was configured to send all photos from the camera to my iPhone, to be embedded into the blog and sent wirelessly to the CLC Maccabia Picasa album. I also used my phone as a fully functional blogging machine for photos, text and some video! I used the iOS WordPress app to update the blog from my phone, Tweetcaster to manage the official CLC Twitter feed, and the new Facebook Pages Manager app for iOS to keep Facebook updated.
I was in an interesting position to be the blogger for this event, as this was my first summer at Crane Lake, and thus my first Maccabia. I relied heavily on the assistance of my fellow senior staff members to guide me through each event, and they suggested locations for me to sit in order to see most of the action. I was able to (hopefully) cogently explain each event to the parents who did not know what was going on, because at first I didn’t fully understand what was going on either! Faculty and alumni guests also helped during all-camp events by following the blog and informing me of any errors or things I had missed, helping me identify campers by name, and by tweeting great content for me to re-tweet!
Each day, during the morning and afternoon sports games, senior staff took outstanding photos of campers in action for me to post, making it manageable for me to keep up with several of the 7+ activities happening every hour.
Senior staff also helped by sending important updates for me to include in the blog:
During Apache Relay, I traveled by golf cart, sitting on the back next to the camp photographer as we traveled around camp gathering footage and timing events. The time differences were announced over the PA system, making it easy to keep the audience at home updated. Greg’s idea to live stream Rope Burn and the Torch run were made a reality easily and for free via Ustream.
We received a large amount of attention for the blog’s traffic, as thousands of people watched the action from the comfort of their own homes. It was very exciting to be a part of a revolutionary way to keep parents connected to camp. Our Captains and Generals are excited to go home and relive the excitement through the blog. In fact, as the event was going on, our campers didn’t even know that parents could peak in from the outside, and only found out at the end that all of our CLC families could be a part of the magic (since we have a no phone policy for camp, all of our tweeters were incognito). Parents, former staff members, and Olim ’11 all left us encouraging feedback throughout the week, for which we are very grateful.
Thank you to all who joined us on the blogging journey, for making this a gratifying and exciting experience!