A HINT to Put More Heads in the Beds - Joanna Warren Smith

Focus now before you get distracted

I don’t get it.  This month alone, I’ve encountered numbers of Directors who are so consumed by hiring and preparing for camp that they have no time to focus on their critical job of recruitment.   This is especially true for those who are content with enrollments that are ‘running about the same as last year’.

Yes, camp is only 4 months away and there’s lots to do, but please make recruitment your absolutely #1 priority!


  • Encourage 2015 ‘NYE’ Parents to Re-Invest in their Children.  Those who have ‘Not Yet Enrolled’ need to be reminded AGAIN of the benefits for their children and teens.  Be precise in your messaging and use language that features a parent’s Return on Investment.
  • Connect with 2015 ‘NYE’ Campers with Exciting News.  Perhaps you’re announcing a new program element, returning campers or staff.  You might encourage campers to go to a link on your website to see the videos that you showed at the conclusion of camp or the bios and pics of staff.  Parents also love seeing the counselors who will be role models for their children.  All you need is an 'appropriate' picture, name, school and some camp-specific comment.
  • Request a ‘Cut and Paste’ from 2016 Families.  Craft a powerful, 3 sentence statement of what your camp experience does for kids with a link to your website.  Send it to 2016 parents requesting that they 'Cut and Paste' it into an email to friends, family and colleagues with the subject line: This is where my son/daughter goes to camp.
  • Court 2016 Inquiries.  I encouraged you to do this recently.  Hopefully, you confirmed that each inquiry has been and is treated with care.
  • Reconnect with 2014 and 2013 Camper Families.  Use that same powerful message with a ‘Knock their Socks Off’ visual or two to bring campers or their younger siblings back to camp.  If possible, reference the year they were with you.
  • Target 2013-2015 Inquiries.  Again, use that 'crafted' message with a great visual to ‘entice’ families to consider your camp again.  If possible, reference the year they contacted you.
  • Challenge Yourself to Target a NEW Acquisition Network.  Is there a school or new community that you should approach?  Is there a community event or family-friendly festivity that is planned that you could attend and establish a presence?  Identify the network that demographically is most in keeping with your parent profile and saturate that market to develop new acquisitions.

Always position yourself as ‘Partnering with Parents’.  Don’t just sell to them, build relationships and keep your enrollments increasing.     


Need an objective perspective on any aspect of camp?  Give me a call at 310-451-1876 or email joanna@camp-consulting.com

(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/)