Justin Furby, 16, of Omaha works on an animation project Tuesday at Midland Lutheran College. Furby is one of several youths participating in a special technology camp where students are learning how to incorporate technology into their faith.

By Nate Tullis

Tribune Staff

A chance to incorporate technology into their faith has attracted a group of teens to Midland Lutheran College this week for a special camp.

This is the second year Midland has hosted the weeklong camp, which teaches youths how to incorporate today's technology into their beliefs. At the same time, many participants also are learning more about the Internet.

Teens from across Nebraska and even one from Iowa are staying on campus to learn how they can become part of the information superhighway by creating or enhancing web sites for the churches they're associated with.

"The whole goal is to acquaint these kids with technology and the Lutheran faith," instructor Chip Borgstadt said.

There are 11 teens and five adults participating this year. A few are returning from the initial camp held last summer. The focal point of the camp is to develop a better knowledge of the Lutheran Small Catechism while working with a CD ROM. It will help youths prepare for their Lutheran confirmation, and concentrates on the 10 Commandments, Apostles Creed and The Lord's Prayer, Borgstadt said.

"This is a real application-based approach to learning," Borgstadt said. "We've moved it up a notch from what we were doing last year with the program to make it a little more intense."

Ryan Chapel, a senior at Hastings College, is helping instruct the course. He said the opportunity to help will benefit him with his studies since he's a computer science and graphic design major. It also is a chance for him to get hands-on experience of what he may be doing when he graduates.

"I'm learning from teaching, and this was something I was looking forward to doing," he said.

Chapel has been impressed with what the students already know, and is excited to see the results of the camp.

"These kids are really creative," he said. "They have a lot of ideas."

This is the second year Jesse Wiseman of Homer is participating. The past couple of days have been a review of last year, but he believes he will learn a few more things during the week that he can apply to school and home when he's finished.

Jackie Wiechert of Lincoln is participating to bring ideas back to her church group.

"I came because one of our group leaders is really into computers," she said. "This will help out with some of the things we're doing."

Borgstadt said students will learn a lot during the week, and may not finish what they've started this week since they will have a full schedule. However, he pointed out that most of them will complete the projects on their own.

"We'll take what we can get," Borgstadt said. "The goal is to develop something to work on."

The camp concludes Friday. Borgstadt said the program's success probably will lead to another camp next summer.

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