In the face of an unprecedented time of disconnection and isolation throughout the world, we are looking for ways to facilitate "global spiritual connections." This current situation is challenging our traditional thinking on staying connected, and through Swamp Virtual Camp, we are taking the Swamp culture online to build spiritual relationships across the globe while keeping to our overall purpose of helping kids see God via the safest place on the planet besides your home.
Swamp Virtual Camp is an opportunity to attend camp online with campers around the world, building friendships and connections across the continents. Because of quarantine restrictions imposed in most countries, Swamp has developed an online camp on a virtual platform to help our campers experience the safe culture of camp digitally, connecting them to each other and pointing them towards God. There are Bible classes, devotionals, cabin time, challenges and plenty of mingles.
So glad you asked. The gecko is Camp Swamp's friendly mascot and brand icon. The longitude and latitude lines behind the name Swamp Virtual Camp signify the scope of our connections. The tag line, Global. Spiritual. Connections., is such that each word taken separately describes Swamp Virtual Camp. When the periods are removed, the phrase conveys the primary desired result of the Swamp Virtual Camp experience. The color green represents the Earth and the color blue in many societies is a symbol of safety and refuge, and the bold color of the word 'connections' is a main focus.
Because of the platform, this virtual experience is focused on campers ages 11 through 18 (unless specified and determined differently by the event). In the future, we are looking to possibly broaden the scope and reach to accommodate our younger (9 and 10 year old) campers and families too. Many of you will ask why not 9 & 10 year olds. The main two reasons are 1) the scope of this venture kept getting bigger and bigger as we tried to meet all the different safety and anticipated program needs for each age group, so we just needed to make some decisions in the time existing time frame, and 2) this is so new that none of us nor anyone else we consulted had an inkling of how this would go, thus we needed decided to go with an older audience in order to learn and see how it goes and see what challenges were presented with the youngest campers. Again, we will learn a lot and perhaps have the bandwidth (no pun intended) to handle broader scope and the needs of younger campers. We know its not the answer that the 9 & 10 year olds want to hear and yet it seems the prudent thing to do right now.
We are currently offering the Virtual Middle School Retreat October 16-18.
We are scheduling our online sessions (except for the North American Teen Camp*) from 9:00 a.m. Eastern U.S. Standard Time (EST) until 12:00 p.m. EST, to accommodate all the time zones where campers from the above locations live.
When it is 9:00 a.m. EST, it is:
7:00 a.m. in Nicaragua and Honduras
8:00 a.m. in Jamaica
9:00 a.m. in Bahamas & Barbados
10:00 a.m. in Brazil
3:00 p.m. in South Africa, Zimbabwe, and Mozambique
4:00 p.m. in Kenya
6:30 p.m. in India
6:45 p.m. in Nepal
8:00 p.m. in Cambodia and
9:00 p.m. in Taiwan.
With this schedule, we can truly have an international camp together.
* North American Teen Camp: July 13-17 is from 12:00 pm - 3:00 pm EDT daily.
YES! This way he or she can build as many global relationships as desired.
For U.S. campers, the cost is $125 per week, which pays for the platform, administrative fees, gamification, helps subsidize international camper fees, and provides summer employment opportunities for many of our U.S. based counselors. For international campers, the cost is $15 U.S. per week, which pays for 40% of the platform, gamification and administrative fees.
DEVICE: Each camper will need a device to access the internet, whether a smart phone with video, tablet or computer with a camera and audio capability. Computer or laptop offers the best experience. NOTE: Be sure your software and all drivers are up-to-date.
BROWSER: Chrome is recommended.
INTERNET: The camper needs a data or internet connection. For the best experience on the platform, the minimum internet requirement is either hard-wired or 2MB up/10 down for Wi-Fi. You can test your internet speed at https://www.speedtest.net/. If you have the ability to plug into your router using an ethernet cable (Cat5 or Cat6), this is the most stable.
BANDWIDTH: If you have multiple campers online be sure your internet service can handle the bandwidth necessary.
Yes, every camper will be in an online cabin, comprised of two (2) counselors and eight (8) campers. The online software platform only allows 10 people per cabin to be seen by video. We prefer it this way in order to facilitate closer connections and online behavior accountability.
Keeping in mind our value of safety for our campers, we have worked diligently to identify a platform that meets our standards with adequate safety features. There are three levels of security built into the online platform and with a fourth and best level of security being you the parent.
1. Parent Child Expectations. The first step to ensure safety for your child is to review our expectation with you and all other parents of children who will attend the same week as your child. This will be in the form of a mandatory Zoom video meeting, which will be recorded, to be held before your child’s week of camp begins. The safety features and online policies, including the prohibition against campers or counselors recording any part of the virtual camp experience, will be covered in this meeting. There will be two date-and-time options you can choose to attend. It is the expectation for parents to agree to all policies and explain these rules to their child. If a parent does not complete the call and assume that responsibility, their child does not receive their individual link required to join Swamp Virtual Camp sessions. If the call is not completed, the child’s registration will be deleted or will be moved to another week until the parent agreement has been obtained.
2. Password Protected Account. The second step to ensure safety is the requirement for your child to set up a password-protected account in order to access the platform.
3. Individual Invitation Link. After the personal account is created, your child shall receive an individual link that allows him or her access to the events for the week registered (camp). Without a link, your child cannot enter the platform and participate in camp. No one is allowed entry into your child's cabin without a personalized link.
4. Counselor Approved Entry. The third online safety feature is the requirement for a moderator (counselor) to approve each camper entering cabin specific events. The counselor has the tools to deny entry for anyone not identified as a camper in the cabin and to terminate entry if the camper engages in inappropriate behavior antithetical to Swamp culture. Each counselor will have a list of registered campers and a master list for the entire camp by which to cross check approvals.
To keep Swamp Virtual Camp safe for all participants, there is absolutely no recording allowed. If it is determined that a camper recorded any portion of the camp (i.e. we see an unauthorized recording on social media), they will not be allowed to participate in any further camp functions virtually or physically and may be open to legal action against them. This is your responsibility, please take it seriously. We have professionals who will be making plenty of promotional videos and each cabin will possibly make their own video to capture their collective experience, which will be managed and overseen by our staff.
Yes. We always welcome new faces, and yet we want all new campers to clearly understand the culture and behavior expectations at Swamp, whether at a physical location or online, so Swamp can protect the safety and culture of camp. It is a great opportunity for parents to explain to the prospective camper’s parents what makes Swamp so special.
We want as many campers to join us online, and we don’t want money to be an obstacle. First, think locally and look for ways to help campers in your congregation attend Swamp Virtual Camp. Work with your local Camp Director or if you know the camper, be present when he or she registers and offer to pay right there on the spot. If you are interested in helping international campers, travel to (Ha. Ha. Pun intended—see we can go places!) the Donation page on the Swamp Corps website (https://www.campswamp.com/swampcorps/donate/) and select Option One; use the description field to designate who or where you want the funds to be directed; even designating an entire country where you want to assist campers.
In light of the current and developing economic situations, we are also setting aside $5.00 from every U.S. camper’s fees toward helping sponsor international campers for Swamp Virtual Camp. This fund will will be managed by local Camp Directors as funds become available and go towards a portion of the total cost for one international camper. You can also make undesignated donations to the Swamp as an undesignated donation. Click here to make a donation; use Option 1 and put 'Help an International Virtual Camper' in the description field.
"The Safest Space on the Planet, Inside Your Home."
Why Virtual Camp?
We are known for being a "second home" to so many campers. We look forward to being in your home, helping your child connect with God and build global friendships.
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