A 'HINT' to Encourage Awareness from Joanna Warren Smith

Resolve to know your numbers - the business of summer camp

Understanding the Business of Summer Camp

The most successful Directors I know can immediately share the details of their enrolments for the upcoming summer.  They are fluent with the total number registered, the gender/age balance of each session and retention.  They stay current because the information enables them to strategize effectively to fill empty spots.


  • Expect weekly reports.  Hopefully, the data can be retrieved easily, but if not, figure out a way to make it happen.  The presentation of stats should be in a simple format and all members of the recruitment and retention team should receive the information.
  • Study trends.  Highlight items that if they continue, will cause issues, like softness in a particular age or gender.
  • Compare to last year or a recent 'banner' year.  Note critical benchmarking to set immediate and long-term goals.
  • Activate the team to respond proactively.   Secure team input for solutions' establish accountability and make things happen.

Avoid the temptation to recruit on 'Auto Pilot'.  Be flexible and responsive to your registration patterns so that you can increase retention and secure lots of new acquisitions.

If you suspect program or camper issues from last summer, go back to last year's bunk lists, highlight the returners and figure out why the others aren't coming back.  Resolve the issues and be in touch personally with parents.  It's a primitive methodology, but it definitely works.


Need an objective perspective on any aspect of camp?  Give me a call at 310-451-1876 or email campconsulting@verizon.net

(Note from Travis:   We are so thrilled to be posting the always brilliant HINTS from camp consultant Joanna Warren Smith!  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/)