Gary Forster - CampHackerTV Interview

Gary Forster was the Camp Consultant for the national YMCA of the USA.  In this CampHackerTV interview he shares with us some of the lessons that he learned from his years of research on the summer camp industry.

Another great thing about a conversation with Gary is what he has seen at summer camps across the US.  He collects all of those great ideas (what I would call Camp Hacks) and shares them.   If you join his newsletter you will get lots of great ideas!

Find Gary Forster online:

Chris Thurber ( -

Summer Camp Staff Training Videos

On tonight’s CampHacker TV we welcome Dr. Chris Thurber from Expert Online Training.  Chris talked about his camp story and how he came to create Expert Online Training.

If you haven’t check out EOT you can request a Lite account to see a few of the videos and figure out how it will work for your summer camp staff.

Marketing To Mom's - CampHacker Interviews Michael Staires

I interviewed Michael Staires, Director at Taconic Retreat & Conference Centre and reformed marketer ;-),  after his presentation at the Tri-State Camp Conference.  Michael's session was called Marketing to Moms.

Michael had some great ideas about how camp directors can focus their efforts on the women who make most of the purchasing decisions in a family.  Thinking about communicating to mom's means focussing your website in such a way that they will know and trust your camp.

This video is a great how-to for planning this year's summer camp marketing.

Marketing to Mom's - CampHacker Interview with Michael Staires from Travis Jon Allison on Vimeo.

[Apologies to Michael for taking so long to post this - it's been a long few months of technical difficulties in the CampHacker office. Also, we'll work on a better location for this year's conferences so that the sounds a lot better.]

CampHack: Ouareau's Frisbee Golf Course

Beth and I lead a 2-day summer camp senior staff training for the leadership team at Camp Ouareau last week.  Ouareau is a bi-lingual girls camp north of Montreal.

It was a great program that introduced our new staff supervision model: T.I.M.E and S.P.A.C.E. with Grace.

While we were there I filmed a CampHacks video featuring their inexpensive disk golf course.

Global Arts To Go - Tri-State Vendor Profile

CampHacker was excited to get to speak to so many of the great vendors at the Tri-State Camp Conference in March.   We will be posting videos from them over the next month.

In this video:  Global Arts To Go - Leadership Training, Music Programs, Dance Programs

Linchpins at Summer Camp (video) - Seth Godin

Seth Godin's summer camp interview from Tri-State 2011

We need our summer camp staff to be willing and able to be indispensible in their jobs - creative, energetic and steadfast.    At the Tri-State Camp Conference Travis had a chance to talk with best selling author Seth Godin about how we can inspire the Linchpin mentality.

Being a CampHacker Podcast Co-Host

Many people have asked us about joining the conversation as a CampHacker Summer Camp Podcast co-host.   We are always eager to have a new voice or two on the show.     Watch our "Being a Co-Host" video and let us know if you are interested.  We record every other Tuesday, usually at 2:00 p.m. Eastern Time.

We look forward to hearing from you!

Kids and Online Privacy (video) by Cory Doctorow

When parents monitor their children's online activity they are doing nothing to teach them to guard their own privacy.

Cory Doctorow, my favourite author and blogger, gave a great talk at the TEDxObserver conference this past month.    He believes that Facebook teaches our children to be less and less private by rewarding them for giving away information about themselves.

I am, by no means, a Facebook hater but I think Cory gives us some points to ponder about what kids are learning from the experience.   I do LOVE his idea about teaching them to not accept being spied on by anyone (parents, schools, local businesses, etc.) and to value privacy as a diminishing commodity.

Tool of the Week - Common - CampHacker #12

Last summer I was introduced to the work of Alex Bogusky by a couple of good friends. I sat and watched some of the video's on Fearless Revolution and became re-enchanted with the world of advertising and how it connects to us who choose to do summer camp for a life.

A COMMON STORY from m ss ng p eces on Vimeo.

Mr. Bogusky has created - with others, a new concept - a new brand - called Common.  From the site:

COMMON is all about connecting people with good ideas to like-minded creative professionals who will help launch their socially beneficial businesses. Our community is dedicated to shifting from the tired old concept of competitive advantage to a more meaningful system of collaborative advantage. We believe that a single brand with shared values can spin off hundreds - if not thousands - of progressive businesses that spread love and prosperity to all stakeholders.

I have been searching for the "future of summer camp" not just for where I am at, but for all of summer camp - as an industry.  This is another puzzle piece that fits into my head and into my weekly reading.

It is an unconventional tool - but one we should all have in our heads.

Dreaming of Camp,

Joe Richards

Free Range Kids at Summer Camp

I had an amazing opportunity to have a chat with Lenore Skenazy from the Free-Range Kids book and blog.  We talked about her experience being "America's Worst Mom" (not my words - Lenore has proved she's an awesome mom to me) and what that has taught her about parents.

Lenore has some great stuff to say near the end about how summer camps can better speak to parents about getting their child to have an amazing summer camp experience.