How Can Your Camp Tell Stories Confidentially?

by Kevin Martone, Technology Program Manager, JCamp 180

You have likely heard that stories engage people much more effectively than statistics. And we all know that summer camp provides a trove of stories that can show the life-changing camp experience and the incredible impact donors' gifts have in making these experiences possible.

But how can we share the most emotional, personal (and most effective!) stories when the subjects are often minors? How can we show the impact of scholarship funds without inadvertently breaching a family's privacy? In other words, is there any way for camps to share their most effective stories while maintaining the confidentiality of their subjects?

Enter HONY

Have you heard about Humans of New York (HONY)? It is an ongoing series of photos (mostly taken on the streets of New York City) that tell the stories of a wide variety of subjects. Many of these stories are very personal in nature and confidentiality must be taken seriously. So how does HONY share these "emotionally-charged narratives" and gripping photographs without sharing personal information about their subjects?

This article by Pamela Grow shares a few examples from HONY that effectively communicate incredibly personal stories without providing any personal details - not in the stories or even in the photos. The photos HONY provides in these cases still manage to gain the reader's attention and evoke emotion. If HONY can successfully (and confidentially) share engaging stories about people's experiences with suicide or homelessness or other highly personal situations, surely camps can find ways to do the same?

What Next?

Has your camp hesitated to share its greatest stories for fear of breaching confidentiality? These examples from HONY should show that it is possible to put these fantastic stories out into the world while still maintaining your subjects' privacy.