Theme: Connections for Kids at Summer Camp
On our latest CampHacker podcast we spent some time talking about how, as directors, it is our job to look after the staff. If we are to compete with other summer employers (goodness knows it can't be on what we pay) then we must be creative with the way we treat and TEACH our staff.
Find our Tools of the Week and links to our co-hosts info here: Treat Your Summer Staff Right - Episode #65
This week we're talking about the connections that campers make at summer camp. Please join us on twitter - follow the #campchat hashtag between 10 and 11 EST.
Excellent resources for summer camp parents from Dr. Chris Thurber
We had a great afternoon webinar with Chris where he and I talked about ways to communicate with parents before the summer camp season begins.
I focussed on the how-to, technical side of running an online New Parents' Meeting for your camp while Chris talked about some of the things that we should make sure to explain to parents.
Check out Chris' videos for camper parents that help them prepare their child for this completely new experience.
Chris has been kind enough to also send us his E-xcellent Mail handout. It teaches parents how to send their kids great emails while they are away at camp. Download it here.
Can you answer this tough question about your summer camp?
Since the last day of each session last summer, which could have been in June, July or August ... how many times have you connected with individual campers?
Postings on social media do not count while birthday cards matter, unless the camper's birthday is in the summer when cards are not sent.
If you have had five or more connections with campers, you are way ahead of most of your colleagues. If you have had less and perhaps even none ... think about it.
You have two clients. One pays for camp and one has the experience.
In order to keep kids talking about camp and communicating to parents that they want to return, you must proactively nurture the relationships. One connection each month with every camper is optimal, but camp is only 3 months away, so...
TAKE ACTION NOW
- Get an MP3 or video clip of the best song that you sing at camp. If you have to generate it now rather than using material from the summer, get your craziest local staff members together to do an animated, exciting and silly version that will make kids laugh.
- Create a fun postcard that has a few musical notes and all of the words. Be certain to add special notes like 'clap/clap' and even hand/body motions if they are part of the song.
- Target three different groups of kids with intentional messages. For first time campers, welcome them and encourage them to learn the song so that they will know it when they get to camp. For returning campers in 2014, suggest that they make sure that they practice before they come to camp so they can help new campers learn the song. And finally, for 2013 campers who are not yet enrolled, encourage them to come back to camp so that we can all sing together again.
- Send the card with a link to the song on your website. Place the link in a predominant position on your home page so that kids can easily find it.
And finally, track enrolments after the card goes out to see if there is a bump in registrations that may be directly attributable to connecting with kids.
(Note from Travis: Camp consultant Joanna Warren Smith nails it every time with her HINTS! If you don't already, you should sign up to receive theses HINTS in your email - in the right-hand column of Joanna's website: http://camp-consulting.com/)
Online Video Introduction for New Summer Camp Parents
Dr. Chris Thurber and I offered a free one hour webinar covering how to talk to camp parents.
Chris has some amazing resources on how to make parents feel comfortable with your camp and how to help them prepare their children for the camp experience. He really focussed on how to talk parents through preparing their children so that they are happy and comfortable beginning their camp experience.
I taught easy (and free) ways to use online tools to co-ordinate the online meeting, set your self up to shoot the video and be able to take live questions from your audience.