Videos are great, Twitter has its uses, and I love Facebook, but nothing can match the impact of a powerful photo gallery.

Exhibit A for the power of photography is the photos from the Seventh-day Adventist's Pathfinder Camporee, held in August outside Oshkosh, Wis. We have several photos from the Camporee in a story that begins on page 13.

Prior to visiting the Camporee Web site, I had heard that it was an event that attracts 36,000 youth. That's all I knew. At the Camporee Web site, I looked at a photo gallery (gallery.me.com/japhet#gallery), and within a few minutes, I understood why 36,000 young people travel from around the world to be at the event. Photos of skateboarders conveyed energy, photos of tenting communicated fun, photos from a stage production of the story of Esther demonstrated the dedication and faith of the performers.

Camporee is held every five years, and its 2009 photo gallery acts as a powerful tool for telling prospective 2014 attendees: “This is a can't-miss event!” Youth leaders who are trying to convince their kids to attend only have to encourage their kids to check out the photos from 2009.

Besides being an evangelism tool, photography is essential to your meeting's history. The photos tell people in the future, “This is who we were.”

My Favorite Keynotes

I was looking at the list of keynote speakers for RCMA 2010 and began reminiscing about some of the speakers I've listened to in the nine years that I've attended RCMA. I like lists, so here's a list of my favorite RCMA keynotes:

  1. Keith Harrell, 2001, Milwaukee. His was the first RCMA keynote I heard, and it's still my favorite. The energy he brought to the ballroom was phenomenal.

  2. Ken Medema, 2008, Orlando. I think everybody in the room experienced the entire range of human emotion while listening to Medema.

  3. Debbie Gardner, 2007, Louisville. Personal safety is a dull subject, right? Not when Gardner is talking about it.

  4. Dave Finnigan, 2006, San Jose. I think any speaker who in 30 minutes can teach everyone in the room how to juggle is amazing.

  5. Paul Templer, 2008, Orlando. Templer told his story of nearly being swallowed whole by a hippo. He had a great story, and a fine message: We are the sum of our choices.