A "Fix It" Hint from Joanna Warren Smith

Every single camp in the country has at least one programmatic, logistical or operational issue that plagues them every single year and causes families not to return.  Leadership and staff acknowledge the problem and are well-intentioned, but somehow a fix never happens. 

The routines perpetuate and negatively impact systems, enrolments and client relations.  STOP THE CYCLE THIS MONTH!


  • BE OBJECTIVE.  It's hard to do, because you love the people, the place and the philosophy, but it's essential.
  • IDENTIFY THE ISSUE.  Focus on two or three problems and select one or two that you can guarantee will be 'fixed' before the summer.
  • REWRITE THE SCRIPT.  If your issue is Opening Day of each session at camp, study the current game plan for the whole day.  Note where the problems occur and identify timing, logistical or personnel alternatives to efficiently enhance hospitality, eliminate long lines and engage campers immediately.
  • MARKET THE IMPROVEMENT.  Communicate with your families from last year that a new standard has been set and they will realize it on Opening Day.  By doing this, you force yourself to make the change happen and you can positively influence retention.  By telling families who are not yet re-enrolled that you have improved your system, you can get disgruntled parents to commit to another year for their child.
  • DELIVER WHAT YOU PROMISE.  Returning parents will be impressed.  New  parents will know that you run a quality operation and they will leave camp confident that they made a good choice for their child.

Does a commitment to improvement like this make any difference at all?  At Camp Tockwogh, ED Elizabeth Staib King intentionally improved her Opening Day procedures in 2014.  She attributes her current enrolment that is 34% ahead of last year at this time to those changes.


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/)