Encouraging the Next Generation of Camp Pros - CampHacker #103

Because you won't be around forever.

Okay, that was harsh. You'll be around for awhile. We're sure of it. We love you.

That being said, the reason that we budget, vision and innovate is so that camp will be around for a long time, or as Joe says, "for today's camper camper". That means you need to take a second to think about the type of person you want to be the future stewards of your site and program.

It's a humbling experience to think about a future at camp without you. What makes that humbling experience also comforting is when you know that you've intentionally fostered the people who will take up the torch.

We had the rare opportunity to have Travis, Joe and Dan all in the same room leading up to the Society of Camp Director's dinner, so of course we were going to record an episode! Can you believe we've been doing this for 10 years and it's the first time Dan and Joe have met? Our 3 CampHackers are joined by our producer Matt Honsberger (who feels slightly awkward typing his own name in right now) to discuss their stories of being mentored into their current roles as well as the things they do every day to set the future of camp and the industry up for success.

Take a quick second to think about how you got to where you are today. Who planted the seed of possibility in you? Make sure you thank them and then tell us the story in the comments below! 

Tool of the Week – Make Yourself a Better Camp Director

Travis: www.camelcamelcamel.com - Amazon price tracker
Dan: Bored and Brilliant by Manoush Zomorodi
Matt: The Better Board - Message Matt for a more detailed explanation
Joe: Google Photo Scan - iOS - Andoid

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First Impressions Last - CampHacker #102

If your first impression was your only impression, how would you fare?

Podcast: Subscribe in iTunes | Stitcher

Podcast: Subscribe in iTunes Stitcher

For most of us, it's off-season proper. We're almost at the point where summer is no longer leaving, it's approaching.

Your autumn may have been full of Outdoor Education groups, clean-up from the summer (seriously, who left the tie dye out!?), or closing up a seasonal site. Now that registration is up, or will be shortly, and your marketing plan is starting to take shape, grab a coffee, a comfy chair, and get critical.

This is the time to start thinking broader about the polish that can be added to your initial customer experience.

How do your staff answer the phone? What story does the home-page of your website tell? Who meets families on opening day? How do you train your super-awesome, yet awkward teenagers to talk to parents? What is your camp's "wow factor" that people experience as they are driving down the camp road?

Take a second and answer those questions super honestly. How are you doing? If there are any aspects of your first impression that made you mentally (or physically) hang your head, no worries, the CampHackers are here to help.

Travis, Gab, Joe, Dan are joined by returning guest-host Jalisa Danhof from Camp Newaygo to absolutely blow your mind with their experience and ideas on how to make your camp's first impression memorable for all the right reasons. Again, have a pen and paper handy for this one.

What special touches do you put into starting off on the right foot with camper families? Let us know in the comments, we'd love to know!

Tool of the Week – Make Yourself a Better Camp Director

Travis: https://www.bonjoro.com
Dan: The Awakened Family: How to Raise Empowered, Resilient, and Conscious Children 
by Shefali Tsbary, Ph.d.
Gabz: LED Twinkle Lights
Joe: Mixed Media Book as an example - Canson Art Pad
Jalisa: The Beacon 8000

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Camps and the Environment - CampHacker #101

Because Camps are a Catalyst for Environmental Stewardship

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It would not be a huge revelation to say that at most camps, kids have a unique ability to discover and foster a relationship with the environment.

It would also not be a huge revelation to say that most camps are inherently taking on sustainability and green-education.

Whether it's teaching kids about the local animals and trees, having a no-food-waste policy or even something as simple as encouraging as campers to take shorter showers, it's safe to say that our industry is off to a pretty good start in terms of "going green".

But...

In the world of technology, nature deficit disorder and climate-change, it's time for camps to raise the bar. From the philosophies, to the policies, to the on the ground environmental practices, we need to start thinking intentionally about what we can do to be leaders of environmental stewardship.

To discuss ways that we can step up their sustainable game, Travis is joined by three new guests - Danny Sudman from Green Camps and of the first partners of the Green Camps Initiative, Jacob Rodenburg from Camp Kawartha and Seth Herschthal from Blue Star Camps. In this episode, you're sure to find both the philosophical motivation and the practical means to make your camp shine green next season!

What are you already doing to be a sustainable and environmentally focused camp? Let us know in the comments section below!

Tool of the Week – Make Yourself a Better Camp Director

Seth: Relentlessly focus on your core values
Seth: The Ideal Team Player
Jacob: The Big Book of Nature Activities
Jacob: Websites: Drew MonkmanStep Outside
Danny: PDF -  10 Free Camp Sustainability Solutions
Travis: Fidget Spinner

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Working Well With Camper Parents - CampHacker #99

Be the partner that camper's parents deserve this summer

Podcast: Subscribe in iTunes | Stitcher

Podcast: Subscribe in iTunes Stitcher

Way back in the way back - 2013, we talked about Partnering With Parents. Back then, we were living in a world where Social Media coming from camp was still a pretty newish thing and there weren't nearly as many channels of connection between camp and a camper's home.

Also, in the last 4-5 years, more and more camp pros have been rolling their eyes at parent emails requesting things like more photos and thinking, "ugh, helicopter parents". In online circles and at conferences more and more, we see camp directors waging war against parents, who at the end of the day simply love their kids and want them to be well while they are away.

Friends, it's time to remember that just as much as we're here for the kids, we really are here for their parents too - and not just because they are the ones who click "Register".

Think about someone that you love and care about - now think about them deciding to go on a SpaceX flight to Mars. How terrified are you for them!? Why? Because we've never been to space! How will our loved ones eat? What is anti-gravity like? For Pete's sake, where will they go to the bathroom!?

Too far? Not really!

Parents, especially those who haven't been to camp before, are putting an incredible amount of trust in you to care for the most important thing in their world. They absolutely deserve for us to show them that we are worthy of their trust.

This week, CampHackers Travis and Gabz are joined by Cory Harrison of YMCA Camp Greenville and Stacie Simpson of Stacie Simpson Consulting who are taking parental partnership to the next level in their circles. This is definitely another "get your pen and notebook out" type of episode. Even one of the small, 1 hour of work implementation, ideas is bound to improve your relationships with your camper parents. There are lots of fantastic ideas to do NOW, in the summer, and at the end of the season.

Take a listen and tell us what you think! What is the ONE thing that you are going to do THIS SUMMER to foster relationships with your camper's parents? Please tell us in the comments section!

Tool of the Week – Make Yourself a Better Camp Director

Travis: Paperform

Gabz: http://stickeryou.com

Cory: Interexchange’s CampUSA

Stacie: 30/30 app for iOS

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