Fellow camp professional, I think you’ll understand …
Even after 15 years of being a Camp Director, I would often fall into bed saying “Just one thing, please give me one thing that I can control!”
I’m Travis Allison. You might know me from Summer Camp Professionals on Facebook, Camp Code & CampHacker podcasts. My colleague Joanna Warren Smith (Camp Consulting Services) and I have created our 10 Commandments of Camp Marketing. (sign up here)
This article is yours for free and when you download it, you’ll also receive our monthly ‘Marketing Mondays’ Tips, each of which includes two items to help you get control of your camp marketing madness.
Please share this flyer to all your campers and staff and encourage them to wear their camp clothing on the weekend of April 29 – May 1, 2016 and proudly announce their camp affiliation to the world!
The CCA has been invited to participate in an exhibition in Beijing, China in April where parents can look at the opportunities to send their children to Canadian camps. John Jorgenson will be there in his role as International Camping Fellowship President and will also represent the CCA component of the exhibition. We need your help to create an awesome Canada presentation that represents our industry nationwide.
We are asking for:
Please email pictures or links to video/vimeo clips to Jill Dundas at firstname.lastname@example.org. These must be received no later than Wednesday, April 1 in order to be incorporated prior to Jorgi’s departure.
Thanks so much!
All camps that are members of a provincial association are permitted and encouraged to post the CCA logo on all their promotional materials. Announcing your affiliation with the Canadian Camping Association enhances your camp’s credibility.
You can download the logo by clicking here and using the following to login:
What does camp mean to you? Maybe it’s a week of fun in the sun, arts and crafts, and canoeing. Perhaps it’s a couple weeks of dipping toes in the water, finding a place at the chow table, feeling confident about mastering a new activity, and endless campfire stories and giggles.
To your child, a camp experience is all of that and more. At camp, your child is able to play and learn, take chances and try something new, and build friendships that last a lifetime. It’s an opportunity to foster important life skills such as problem solving, leadership and self-confidence. Most importantly, camp is where your children can feel free to be themselves.
Every child deserves to go to camp and the Our Kids Camp Expo can help you find an amazing summer camp by introducing you to directors and staff from many different types of camps across Ontario and Quebec all in one day. Explore day and overnight camps that specialize in a range of programs including arts, sports, technology, special needs or an overall traditional experience.
The Camp Expo is the perfect place to discover your adventure and get your questions answered. Learn all about the benefits of camp, how to pay, how to prepare, what to pack, how camps deal with safety and homesickness, and more.
Be sure to bring the whole family to see live animal shows and participate in camp activities, games and crafts. There will be lots of prizes to be won, plus $2,500 in camp scholarships, and each attending family will receive a free 2015 OUR KIDS Camp Guide featuring 230+ programs to choose from.
In support of the Kids in Camp charity, which seeks to send underprivileged kids to camp, Our Kids will donate $1.00 on behalf of each attending person.
Sunday, February 22, 2015 from 12:00 PM to 4:00 PM
Roy Thomson Hall: 60 Simcoe Street, Toronto, ON
Pre-register for FREE admission valid for a family of four at http://www.ourkids.net/campexpo/register.php
For additional information, please contact 1-877-272-1845 or email@example.com.
On November 17 and 18, 2014, twenty-nine Canadian camping leaders met for the National Leadership Forum at the Toronto Airport Holiday Inn. The participants included the CCA Board, Provincial Presidents, Executive Directors and National Committee and Task Force Chairs.
On the second day, after hearing reports from every province and committee the participants focused on three priorities: marketing, education and lobbying.
Chair, Liz Kovach (Executive Director for Manitoba) with assistance from Gabrielle Raille (ICF Representative) of Quebec will form a task force of provincial representatives to develop a National Marketing Campaign. Before seeking professional input, they will begin by answering two questions:
John Savage (CCA Board Representative for New Brunswick) with assistance from Sean Day (CCA Board Representative from Quebec) is committed to hosting a Canadian Camp Directors Course in New Brunswick in the Fall of 2015 with leadership from Jane McCutcheon (former CCA Treasurer) and Jeff Bradshaw (Camp Wenonah).
Currently, Mark Diamond (Director of Camp Manitou, Ontario) is the Chair of the CCA Lobbying Committee, which was established in the Spring of 2014 to address pending federal legislation affecting camps. Jill Dundas (CCA President) and Jonathan Nyquist (CCA Board Representative for Ontario) are members. The intention is to expand the committee to include a representative from every province to act as a watch dog for pending legislation affecting their camps and disseminate relevant information to their camps.
Earlier efforts, which were focused on Transport Canada legislation, were successful in negotiating a camp-specific course for camp boat drivers that is less onerous than the Small Vessel Operator Proficiency. Decisions are being made on how and by whom this course will be delivered to camps for summer 2015. Work is ongoing on insurance requirements for camp boats.
Attention then focused on Foreign Workers Legislation. The hope is for current exemptions for charitable and religious camps to continue while gaining an exemption for all camps. CCA is budgeting to cover all costs of lobbying on national legislation pertaining to camps.
Camp Fairs and Expos have become popular vehicles for both day and overnight camps to reach a broad market.
Anybody who has been a camp director for more than 10 minutes knows this: camp is changing quickly. Looking at the pace of change since I started directing summer camp in 1994, I think we are in store for more change at an even faster rate. We are at a critical point for the summer camp industry.
For camps to be equipped to deal with change, directors must force themselves to think beyond the daily struggles of their jobs and consider what is going on in the rest of the business world. Consider this: for those camp staff entering college in the fall of 2015, many of their job titles do not yet exist. In this changing environment, we must be willing to transform ourselves and our camps.
As we navigate our changing world, I hope you’ll consider the following five concepts that I believe are essential to running a successful summer camp over the next five years.
Creating an emotional story about your camp must involve visuals. Think back to how, just this morning, you quickly scrolled through your Newsfeed on Facebook. Think about the stories and posts that captured your attention. I guarantee you that a vast majority of them involved some sort of video or an engaging photo.
Summer camp is such an emotion-driven consumer purchase because it involves children and parents. We need to become great at telling emotional stories through photos and videos.
My challenge to you: every time you sit down to type out a communication or message, try to figure out how you can use photos, images, or video to replace your text.
This skill will become essential to telling the story of the transformations that happened because of summer camp.
Technology is intimidating for everyone. Even those of us who are comfortable being surrounded by and experimenting with new technologies can be quickly overwhelmed. That’s why I think we must, as responsible business managers, figure out a way to keep on top of technology. Even an exercise as simple as the Hour of Code™ can help us keep learning.
While I strongly believe that summer camp itself provides an important opportunity for kids to get away from the stresses of technology, I also know that the willingness to use new tech is essential for camp professionals.
Make It About Them
We have fallen into a trap.
When we talk about our camps, on the web or in person, we tend to talk about ourselves. We try to recruit families — many who don’t understand summer camp at all — by telling them about our camper-to-staff ratio or how we are a “traditional” camp. This style of discussion assumes that parents have a baseline knowledge of how camp works. Many of them don’t.
If we are to reach more families without prior camp experience, then we must talk about camp in completely different ways. One important method to grab their attention is to stop talking about ourselves. Instead, parents need to see themselves in the stories we tell. Can you imagine how much camp would stand out from all of the other summer activities if your website focused, in part, on what life is like for today’s families? For example, imagine supplementing that photo of three campers hugging each other with an image of a stressed-out mom attempting to talk to her kids while their faces are buried in their phones.
By including this type of imagery on your website, it demonstrates to today’s families that you understand their lives. This will allow you to craft the story of the transformation that will happen to their family because of summer camp.
Because we spend our days creating safe and welcoming environments for other people’s kids, we tend to describe our amazing product in very boring terms.
I love the quote by Simon Sinek who says that “people do not buy what you do, they buy why you do it”. What Sinek is saying is that people need to understand the very foundational ideas upon which your camp is based. They need to understand your why.
I believe that your why needs to be bold so that it stands out among the many competing summertime options for families.
Our goal with the CampHacker network is to create an industry-wide message so strong that parents will feel they are failing their children if they don’t send them to camp. That is our bold statement.
I know that the words “failing their children” will be alienating to some camp leaders. By design, bold statements are unapologetic, direct, and evoke strong emotion. It is safe to say that those camp professionals who do not connect with the CampHacker message may not want to work with us. Those who do are willing to wear their passions on their sleeves.
Implementing these concepts can be strenuous and tiring, and that’s why my fifth concept is about balance. To maintain the energy required to run successful camps and transform lives, we need to take the time to consciously relax. It’s essential to our ability to do this job.
I think that each person must find his or her own way to relax. For me, it is early morning trail walks with the dog or taking 100 meditative breaths per day. We need to put as much intentionality into finding balance as we do improving the lives of our campers and staff.
There are many important changes coming to the camp industry over the next five years, and I intend to be along for the ride. I hope we’re in it together.