As camp facilities are gearing up for the 2015 summer season, many are looking for ways to add features and programs to enhance the camp experience. Camps want — and need — to distinguish themselves in a market that is getting increasingly competitive. Here are our top five ways camps can improve their facilities and programs and gain an edge in the marketplace.
- Millennial Marketing! While most camp directors know they need a nice brochure and website, they may not realize how they can merge ongoing marketing activities with their programming. There are lots of ways to use your website and social media to market your camp, as well as provide an enriching learning program. Design programs that allow campers to be part of your camp’s online presence. They can monitor and post to your camp’s social media accounts, upload photographs to your website, and more. Give them a camera and have a photo contest on your Facebook or Instagram page. Develop a fun hashtag and encourage campers to use it on their posts. Getting campers involved in your online marketing makes it more creative, more fun and more successful.
- Exciting Enhancements! Most camps have the potential to be more fun than they already are. Adding an AquaClimb to your aquatic facilities, for example, is an easy way to generate a splash with your campers that they would not likely get elsewhere. Safer than slides and dives, an AquaClimb wall gives kids (and adults) a climbing experience that is such fun that they don’t even realize they’re also getting fit. AquaClimb walls are challenging in a positive way — inspiring kids to achieve. Even children who are not terribly athletic or fit find that AquaClimb allows them to build confidence and gain strength. Plus, it makes a great ‘photo station’ for social media and website pics (see item #1 above.) If funding is a problem, remember that an AquaClimb wall provides local and national businesses with a rewarding sponsorship opportunity. Sponsors can place their logo on the AquaClimb for fantastic exposure and the satisfaction of helping to support the healthy development of kids.
- Personalized Programs! Develop age-specific programs that are unique to that age group. That way, campers have something to look forward to each year and the experience is kind of like an achievement badge. With an AquaClimb, there are many possibilities to create activities and challenges that are age-specific. Older kids can not only climb and compete, but they can also set-up and run an AquaClimb photo station. Younger kids can focus on developing climbing skills. Involve campers and parents in your programming development before, during and after camp ends — ask for ideas and feedback so that you can continue to give campers a more personalized experience.
- Fantastic Facilities! Besides adding exciting enhancements like an AquaClimb wall, there are other fairly inexpensive ways to improve your campers’ satisfaction with your overall facilities. Create fun “campy” signs to place around your grounds and buildings. They not only make sure parents know where to drop off, pick up, etc., but they also create a friendly atmosphere. Look for areas in your building that can be spruced up with a little paint. Cover outdoor areas that are usually muddy or unattractive with wood chips supplied from a local tree service. Be sure the facilities are CLEAN — especially the bathrooms.
- Super Staff! Your camp’s staff has a big impact on how parents and kids view the camp. A great training program can mean the difference between subpar and super staff. Your staff training program should be dynamic and educational with a balance of team building activities, fun stuff and workshops that enlighten them about the seriousness of being a camp staff member. Beyond the required training items, be sure to include a special event, an overnight activity or a road trip, and input from guests. Parents, former campers, former camp staff and more can all provide valuable information, tips, techniques and ideas.
Summer camp should be about new experiences, new achievements and new friends. But most of all, it should be fun. Find out more about how to add an AquaClimb to your camp facilities and give your campers an experience they’ll love.