Essential Tools: Canva.com for FAAAAST creation of posters, social media photos, etc.

Getting Things Done as a Camp Director is Easier with this Essential Tool

I haven't written about Canva.com on the blog yet.  I can't believe it!   I've shared this tip with tons of directors this summer.

Canva is a simple editing tool for creating great, beautiful posters, Facebook headers, Instagram pictures with text over them, Pinterest images.   Almost any thing you can think of! It's FAST.

Canva for Camp Pros

To start using Canva (once you've got your account set up) you pick the kind of design you need (see picture above). It will then show you a ton of designs that you can use as starting off points.   

Usually I pick the one that most suits what I'm looking for and then I put my own spin on it.  Those designs are really well done so you may choose one that will fit perfectly from the start. 

You can use the background image that has been provided or upload your own.  Some of those backgrounds are free but many are stock photos/designs that you can purchase when you finalize your poster. 

I usually upload my own images from the folder if great camp pictures that the CampHackers all share.  That means that the majority of my designs are free.

Check out some of the designs that we've made on Canva that have been featured on the CampHacker Instagram account.

A "Hint" about Camp Surveys from Joanna Warren Smith

Summer Camp Client Input Motivates Good Decision Making

True summer camp review at Pearce Williams Christian Centre

True summer camp review at Pearce Williams Christian Centre

Just this spring, a well-respected camp assured me that it wasn't necessary to do camper and parent surveys 'because it only makes people focus on the bad parts of camp'.

Needless to say, that is not the current thinking of businesses that plan to thrive in a very competitive environment. Certainly retention rates reflect satisfaction levels, but they are not the immediate feedback that can improve your program session after session.

Plan for age-appropriate on-site camper surveys and let parents know that at the end of their child's last session, you will be requesting that they complete a short survey to help you in your 'ongoing quest for excellence' or 'efforts to make the camp experience even better.'

You can also give parents an incentive to complete the survey by a specific date with an entry into a drawing for a free session of camp, a camp store gift certificate or a myriad of other options. Larger incentives usually increase the number of responses.

TAKE ACTION NOW! 

  • Treat the Camper Survey with Respect.  Set aside a time for the business to be done usually around lunch on the day BEFORE kids are going home.  Have a BRIEF introduction by a respected staff member in a conducive environment for writing.  Tell kids how important their input is and ask questions for which you really want the answers.   Two critical questions ... 'Do you want to come back to camp next year?' and 'What would make camp even better?'. Collect surveys by groups, review immediately and take action.
  • Evaluate the Parent Experience.  Certainly, parents can tell you if they have seen growth in their child's swimming ability, responsibility or social skills; however, they should not be asked to interpret their camper's experience because they will skew the input. Critical questions for parents include ... 'Did the camp experience benefit your child?', 'Do you want your child to return to camp next year?', 'Will you refer us to other parents?' and 'Were we responsive to you during the summer?'.  Allow for only YES or NO answers. 

Scrutinize the survey results, prioritize issues that will improve your program and then market those changes to parents.  They will appreciate the fact that you listened and more important, the action you've taken.

Joanna

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/)

1 Neat Trick to Make Your YouTube Videos More Professional

Reach more summer camp families

Professional videos have a number of things in common: video quality, audio quality (*the #1 thing to worry about), preparation, and good editing.   Many of these things we can emulate in our camp videos.   With each video we put up we should strive to get a little bit better.

One other thing they have in common is that they have a "sting" at the beginning of each video.  This is a simple, quick "station identifier" that let's everyone know what channel and company the video belongs to.  

YouTube makes this easy

There is a new feature in YouTube that will allow you to add a < 3 second sting to each video. It can be done individually or to all videos on your channel.  It's FREE!

Check out the images below.   I'll show you how to set it up.

Click to the Video Manager - you will find this link at the top right of your YouTube page when you are signed in.

Click to the Video Manager - you will find this link at the top right of your YouTube page when you are signed in.

Open your Channel Settings - they will have appeared in your left column after clicking Channel Settings

Open your Channel Settings - they will have appeared in your left column after clicking Channel Settings

Then click InVideo Programming

Then click InVideo Programming

Click on Branding Intro. Then link this to your &lt; 3 second intro video. &nbsp; You can make your Intro Video Unlisted and it won't show up in your channel.

Click on Branding Intro. Then link this to your < 3 second intro video.   You can make your Intro Video Unlisted and it won't show up in your channel.

Bonus Branding Tips

Don't forget to upload your Branding Watermark and pick your Featured Playlist to round-out all of YouTubes In-Video branding!

Don't forget to upload your Branding Watermark and pick your Featured Playlist to round-out all of YouTubes In-Video branding!


5 Important Concepts for the Next 5 Years of the Summer Camp Industry

A CampHacker's Vision of Important Camp Ideas for the Near Future

There can be no arguing that summer camp is on the edge of massive change (or, at least, that those who change their marketing massively have the greatest chance of survival).  

The Midwest Association of Independent Camps asked me to speak at their luncheon at the Mid-States Conference in April 2014.  I decided to think about what I consider to be 5 essential skills of a modern camp director.

I think you need to be considering:

  1. It's all about the VISUALS (any piece of communication that you begin to write... you should figure out who to say it visually).
  2. Get comfortable with TECHNOLOGY. Even if, like me, you believe that campers need a break from Technology, you still need to have a basic knowledge of and comfort level with technology in order to keep doing your job.
  3. Learn to RELAX.  Take up meditation, go for walks, play games with the campers - anything you can do to relax during every day will be essential to manage the stresses of managing a camp business.
  4. Make your marketing ABOUT THEM. Stop talking about you on your camp marketing; start talking about them and what they get out of camp.
  5. Make BOLD STATEMENTS. Be prepared to clearly state the WHY of your camp... and to find more of the right families because of that!

My Bold Statement for 2014

I want to help the summer camp industry be so good that you feel like you fail as a parent if your kids don't go to camp.

What bold statement are you making at your camp?  
Leave it in the comments below this post.

CampHack: Found at a Camp for Visually Impaired Children

Creative Method for Keeping Blind Campers Safe

I spoke at the annual ACA Wisconsin Educational Event at the Wisconsin Lions Camp.   Lions Camp folks were super-nice to us all and were very kind to me!   It was such a cool opportunity to spend the day sharing ideas with brilliant camp people (and so nice to meet so many #CampPros!)

Check out what they have done at Lions Camp.  Many of their campers are visually impaired.   In order to make their life at camp a little easier, the camp has put wind chimes outside the doors of many of their main buildings.   What makes this so S-M-R-T is that each building's chime is tuned to a different chord!   

You want to go to the dining hall... listen for Cmaj.  Health Centre (sorry... Center) - there's F#.

What I don't know is if the chord names are know.   How cool would it be if the chimes were in the key of G (G, C, D chords) - they would be in the key of 90% of the camp songs ever written!

Listen here:

Getting Things Done At Summer camp

 Control Your Camp To Do List

Running a summer camp is a stressful business. In this presentation, summer camp consultant Travis Allison works through ways to "kick the arse of email, hand stress it's hat and out-muscle your To-Do list".  This is very practical seminar that is available for you to download to use in your training (click on the Slideshare link).

Because Travis doesn't use a One-Slide-Many-Bullet-Points presentation style you may not get everything that this presentation has to offer just by looking at the slides.

If you are interested in Travis giving this presentation to your summer camp or private school organization, please fill out the Request a Speaker form.

Getting Things Done at Summer Camp - 2011/2012