Winter Campfire - Great Video from Camp Onondaga

Creating great summer camp videos doesn't have to be a complicated production - it just needs to connect emotionally with viewers. Onondaga, a residential camp in Ontario, posted this great Winter Campfire video that really connects.

What Does Onondaga's Video Say To Potential Campers?

  • Onondaga people think about summer camp all year long
  • Onondaga has spirit and is a fun place to be
  • Onondaga staff talk directly to campers and if parent's watch, that's ok, too
  • Onondaga draws leaders from across the country
  • Onondaga values children's voices
  • Onondaga is full of multi-talented staff

Great Camp Slideshows - Part 1

Transient

We are excited to share with you a short series about Slideshows, a great alternative marketing technique for summer camps that was introduced to us on CampHacker 8: Why Go to Camp Fairs? by our 5th Chair guest host, Paul Sheridan.

I’m writing this on a ferry back home, to Orcas Island.  I’ve put some miles down this January and February.  We have a schedule of 18 slideshows to promote and celebrate Four Winds scheduled this winter – four in Southern California, four in the Bay Area, one in Portland, three in Seattle, one in Vancouver, one each in Salt Lake City and Park City, one in Denver, and one in Montreal.  Fourteen down, four to go.

This may seem like a tough travel schedule, but I certainly know camp directors that have it worse.  I actually enjoy the travel quite a bit.  It’s great to connect face to face with new families and campers, parents, and staff that are already well immersed in the Four Winds community.  It gives me a little Camp feeling in the dead of winter.

Moreover, it’s a wonderful way to promote Camp.  It’s a way to reach out and remind people in a very real, genuine way of why Four Winds is so great.  Word of mouth is the best marketing there is.  The slideshows offer a way for families to hear not only from me why Four Winds is great, but also from the parents that have already seen the benefits in their kids.

The shows happen in families’ homes, usually on a school night.  We show up at 6:15 PM, the guests arrive at 7:00, and most families leave by about 8:30.  I’m usually in my car and on my way back to the hotel by 9:30.  People meet, introductions are made, snacks are eaten, and by about 7:20, we gather in the living room, I thank the hosts for hosting and everyone else for coming, and talk for about 10 minutes about why camp is good.  When I’m done, my Assistant Director, Emily, queues up a wonderful slideshow filled with pictures and music from last summer that lasts about another 10 minutes.  When that’s all through, we have questions and answers for as long as people want to ask them.

Camp is about relationships and connections, and the slideshows are too.  Facebook and Twitter, Camp fairs, print advertisements, search engine optimization, listings on pay sites, and mailings are all to some degree less personal than simply meeting in somebody’s living room and talking about Camp.

Read Part 2 of Great Camp Slideshows for Paul's best tips.

Writer Paul Sheridan is the Director at Four Winds * Westward Ho Camp on the San Juan Islands of Washington state.  These days you can find him cramped in coach, flying to another slideshow.

10 Things Every Camp Should Do on YouTube

Marketing your summer is a stressful business these days. As we compete with more and more summer activities it is much harder to set ourselves apart.

Families choose camp (and hopefully your camp) by relying on two strong factors to make the decision: a referral from people they respect and an emotional connection to the camp, it's programs, and it's people.

Video is a strong mechanism to reach those families on both factors.  By creating a great camp video (many, preferably) you give your current camp community something that they can pass on to their friends.  Something that they can use to refer your program to them.

By creating great, intentional camp videos you also show families a bit of yourselves.  Families need to feel comfortable leaving their children in your care, and it is hard to hide who you really are in the medium of video.

10 Things Every Camp Should Do on YouTube

  1. Educate.  Don't use video as a bullhorn to just tell people how great you are.  Teach parents how to choose a good camp, show them how to prepare their child so he/she does not miss home, explain your No-Cell-Phone policy.
  2. Appeal to kids.  You can't go wrong by imagining you're Sesame Street.  Keep the videos short, engaging, full of song and kid-focussed.
  3. Tour a sleeping area.  Parents will feel more comfortable sending their kids to you if they know what it is like inside your cabin/tents (also see #6).
  4. Keep it short.  Video watchers will give you 60 - 90 seconds of uninterrupted viewing before they start to get bored.   If you want them to make to the end of your 3 minute video you better be really letting your awesome out.  Anymore than 3 minutes and they're gone.
  5. Show us your WHY.  You want camp clients who feel passionate about the thing that makes your camp different than the other 15 000 camps in North America. Make sure they know what your WHY is. HINT: it's not your new speedboat.
  6. Show off your food.  Parents want to know where their kids will sleep and what they will eat.   Show off your food and you are farther ahead than 99% of the other camps on YouTube.
  7. Interview your counsellors. Kids who have been to camp will want to see people they know ("Hey! Watch this video of my counsellor from last year!") and new parents want to see who will be looking after their children.
  8. Plan ahead.   I have been using this awesome YouTube video from Camp Ouareau to illustrate this point.   You have 2, maybe 3, months to capture all of the video (and photos) that you will need for next year. Make a list of the shots you want and make it someone's job to complete that list.
  9. Know your keywords. Keywords are those words that people use to search Youtube.   By including good keywords in your description and video tags you will draw in more parents who are looking to make a summer camp purchase.  Check out the YouTube Keyword Tool.
  10. Support your community.  Interview staff or families who are doing stuff outside of camp.   Think of it as karma.

Stay tuned to CampHacker for more information in the coming months about using YouTube for effective summer camp marketing.   I'll spend some time and go into detail about these 10 ideas .

5 NEW Tips for Social Media Marketing Your Summer Camp - Part 3

How do I use social media to market my camp?

On January 29th, 2010, Travis presented his 5 NEW Tips for Social Media Marketing Your Summer Camp to a packed room at the Ontario Camps Association conference.   The presentation is full of practical tips for camps who are looking for immediate actions that they can take to improve their online marketing campaigns.

5 Tips

The five tips include (click here to watch the AWESOME! introduction):

  1. Tell visual stories
  2. Love your alumni
  3. Be a better blogger
  4. Remember your "call to action"
  5. Make the most of your Facebook Fan Page

**Please note: some of these posts are password protected but will become open to anyone to read in the next week or so.  If you would like early access to CampHacker.org content then sign up for our newsletter (it's free).

Tip 2 - Love Your Alumni (part 3 of the series)

Coming next week: Tip 3 - Be A Better Blogger(part 4)

If you are interested in ways that your camp can improve your social media marketing strategy please fill in the form (click here) for a free 15 minute consultation.  You can also call (519.532.7366) or email Travis (travis@walkingmaverick.com).

5 NEW Tips for Social Media Marketing Your Summer Camp - Part 5

How do I use social media to market my camp?

On January 29th, 2010, Travis presented his 5 NEW Tips for Social Media Marketing Your Summer Camp to a packed room at the Ontario Camps Association conference.   The presentation is full of practical tips for camps who are looking for immediate actions that they can take to improve their online marketing campaigns.

5 Tips

The five tips include (click here to watch the AWESOME! introduction):

  1. Tell visual stories
  2. Love your alumni
  3. Be a better blogger
  4. Remember your "call to action"
  5. Make the most of your Facebook Fan Page

**Please note: some of these posts are password protected but will become open to anyone to read in the next week or so.  If you would like early access to CampHacker.org content then sign up for our newsletter (it's free).

Tip 4 - Remember Your Call To Action (part 5 of this series)

Coming next week: Tip 3 - Make The Most Of Your Facebook Fan Page (part 6)

If you are interested in ways that your camp can improve your social media marketing strategy please fill in the form (click here) for a free 15 minute consultation.  You can also call (519.532.7366) or email Travis (travis@walkingmaverick.com).

5 NEW Tips for Social Media Marketing Your Summer Camp - Part 2

How do I use social media to market my camp?

On January 29th, 2010, Travis presented his 5 NEW Tips for Social Media Marketing Your Summer Camp to a packed room at the Ontario Camps Association conference.   The presentation is full of practical tips for camps who are looking for immediate actions that they can take to improve their online marketing campaigns.

5 Tips

The five tips include (click here to watch the AWESOME! introduction):

  1. Tell visual stories
  2. Love your alumni
  3. Be a better blogger
  4. Remember your "call to action"
  5. Make the most of your Facebook Fan Page

**Please note: some of these posts are password protected but will become open to anyone to read in the next week or so.  If you would like early access to CampHacker.org content then sign up for our newsletter (it's free).

Tip 1 - Tell Visual Stories (part 2 of the series)

Coming Monday: Part 3 - Tip 2 Love Your Alumni

If you are interested in ways that your camp can improve your social media marketing strategy please fill in the form (click here) for a free 15 minute consultation. You can also call (519.532.7366) or email Travis (travis@walkingmaverick.com).