Off to Girl’s Camp

I was hoping to get some post done ahead for this week but I didn’t even come close to making that happen. I’m heading off to girls camp for the week. It is for girls 12 to 18 from our church congregation. I’m co-director again this year and I think we are ready but there are lots of little things that are still a bit up in the air. I’m trying to have the attitude that I’ve done what I can so now I just have to adjust to things as they present themselves.

On the family story side of things, we have asked the all the girls and leaders to be ready to share a story at camp. It can be from their own lives or their family or a distant ancestor. It is going to be interesting to see how that works out. I hope it will be a powerful thing for everyone. I’ll let you know how it goes when I get back.


50 for 50 #35 – Make a Slide Show

Photo & Video Sharing by SmugMug “I Know” slide show

So this week I finally got around to making a slide show. Back in college I took a class on putting together slide shows, but that was the old-fashioned way with multiple slide projectors and fancy dissolve units and a special cassette tape player to record the syncing of the music and the timing of the slide changes. I totally loved that class. The power of images and music together was awesome.

I intended to use Photostory recommended by Stephanie. Remember her “Raising Skyler” video? When I looked at the details of Photostory it didn’t look like to would work for my needs. The slide show I need to put together was going to be show to a group of girls and their parents at our girls camp awards night. And the reviews of Photostory said you couldn’t save it in a high res or burn it to a DVD. The plan was to show it using a┬áDVD player and a television. So I had to pick another program. My research didn’t give me an obvious favorite. But I settled on ProShow Gold. They had a free two-week trial, so I thought I could make the slide shows and then decided if I wanted to buy the software.

I tried it out and it seemed pretty easy. The one problem that I didn’t realize with the trial was that it put a big banner across the bottom of the screen. There was no way I could have that “trial” banner in my finished slide show. I figured this all out the middle of the week and the deadline was Sunday. I didn’t have time to start over with new software. So I went ahead and paid the $69 for the software.

The hardest part of putting the slide shows together was sorting through the photos to find the best ones. I actually did three slide shows. I had selected three songs that focused on three different things to do with camp. One was focused on the beauty of nature with the song “I Know” by Jenny Phillips. The second was another song by Jenny Phillips called “A Light on a Hill”. This song was the inspiration for our camp theme and I wanted it to focus on the girls and how they were an example to others. Both these songs are on her “Arise and Shine Forth” album. The last song “This Little Light of Mine” by The Lower Lights, was our actual theme song at camp. We sang it every day with verses that the girls made up. This show was all about the fun of being at girls camp.

Photo & Video Sharing by SmugMug “A Light on a Hill” slide show

I didn’t have time or the knowledge to really customize each slide show. I just picked out the photos, got them into a rough order and let ProShow do the rest. I let it pick the timing and the transitions. After it synced everything together I went back and adjusted the order of the photos to work with the words better. The software crashed on me multiple times, which was frustration. It did a pretty good job of recovering where I was at but it took a long time to get things back up and running after each crash. By the time I got the last slide show together it was after 5 a.m. Sunday morning. I was exhausted of course.

I got a couple of hours of sleep and then between choir practice and church I worked on figuring out how to get the slide shows onto a DVD. Well that didn’t work. I don’t know why but I could get it to even begin to cut a DVD. So I had to go to plan two. I exported each show as an mov file. This worked fine but it was a very slow process. (My computer isn’t very fast). So by the time I got all three slide shows saved as mov files I needed to go set up for the awards night. There was no more time to experiment in trying to get the slides shows on to a TV. So I just took my laptop and played them on that. Since the screen isn’t big enough to show to a whole room of people we played the slide shows before the meeting started and during the refreshments afterward.

Photo & Video Sharing by SmugMug “This Little Light of Mine” slide show

Now I’m uploading them to the internet so that the girls can download them and have their own copies to enjoy. It was a good learning experience and I can’t wait to do another one. This time with the time to really learn how to control things and not just slap the thing together. ProShow really did a pretty good job but I’d like to see how much more it can do. Hopefully the crashing won’t be too much of a problem because I’d love to put together many more slide shows and I really don’t want to buy another piece of software.

What software have you used for putting together slide shows? I’d love to learn from your experience.


50 for 50 – #29 Camping

the crew at girls camp

When I put “go camping” on my list of possibles to do for my 50th year, I didn’t envision the kind of camping it turned out to be. A few months ago I was asked to help with Girls Camp for the young women in our church ages 12 to 18. The timing wasn’t great but I felt like I should help so I said yes. I had lots of fun working with Cherri as co-directors of camp. We have different strengths but similar views on how things should be handled. She took care of all the food planing and I got to do the kinds of things I like to do. Well this week the rubber meet the road when we headed off to camp bright and way too early Monday morning.

two bucks who walked through camp

We were lucky to have a spot at the wonderful Heber Valley Camp. It is a lovely place with lots of evergreens and quakes. The cabins are nice but simple with electricity. There are flush toilets and hot showers. The cooking arrangements are great too with a fridge and two-three burner propane stoves. The only downside was the fire ban due to the dry conditions.

On our three mile hike

It was a fun week with lots of hard work by both leaders and girls. Not everything went according to plan but most things were successful. The girls got to take part in a challenge course with a pole climb, a walk across a wire and then a zip line. They got to ride in canoes while the leaders tried to navigate the lake in paddle-boats. We had a hike everyday including a sunset and a sunrise hike (I think the girls might hate me for the sunrise hike), plus a three-mile hike to fulfill the requirements for the first year campers.

Pat and Pam in the paddle boats

We made survival bracelets out of paracord and had bedtime stories every night. The food was great and we had more than enough of everything. One of the high lights was when the older girls when on a short overnight backpack trip. We had a small group left in camp with just the first year girls. For a special treat Cherri took clay pots lined with foil and put in a couple of briquettes. Then the girls roasted marshmallows, Starbursts and other things over the hot briquettes. It was lots of fun to experiment with adding things like strawberries to s’mores.

Legacy Lake

Camp was a ton of work and I wish I had been more organized when we left. But overall I think it was a successful week with lots of opportunity for the girls to learn new things and grow in their appreciation of God’s creations.

Monk’s Hood