Starting From Scratch - CampHacker #73

Radical thinking about the Future of Summer Camp


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Now THAT's what I'm talking about!

This show. 

THIS is the moment that CampHacker was created for. We had the best discussion today. Joe had the awesome idea to talk about what it would be like to start a camp from scratch.  If you weren't burdened by tradition (and a property) what would you do differently?

THAT lead us in to how would you radically change summer camp.  If our mission is to provide a transformative experience for children and teens (and staff) are we reaching as many people as possible with our programs being so remote? 

Outward Bound Canada has done something HUGE.  They sold off their remote sites so that they could build in downtown Toronto - now they serve tons more people. They still do remote trips but they are much more accessible for day programs.

Dan was kind enough to share the nine points that Frost Valley uses when they consider a new program:

  1. Demographics
  2. Audience
  3. Mission
  4. Goals
  5. Staff
  6. Traditions
  7. Sustainability
  8. Site
  9. Quality

(He explains them in the show!).

What would you do to start summer camp from scratch?  Leave us a comment below!

Tool of the Week – Make Yourself a Better Camp Director

Sources of Legal Music to Use in Camp Videos

Royalty Free Music sites (pay for it once and use it as needed)

  • Audio Bumpers/Stings/Logos
    • search for "music genre" + sting or bumper or logo

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(Thank you!)

Thanks for the evening, friends.

Facebook Secrets for Super Summer Camp Marketing - CampHacker #63

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I'm so grateful to Blake Sunshine of for joining me on this webinar.   I've chosen to put it up as a podcast (you can watch the YouTube version here or click along on the slides below).

The format of the webinar was pretty simple: I talk about great Facebook Content and Blake helps us understand how to create effective Facebook Advertisements.

No TOWs this week, sorry!

Combating Communicable Diseases at Summer Camp - CampHacker #56

Preventing Spread of Norwalk and Other Infections at Camp

Podcast: Subscribe in iTunes | Stitcher App  (search for CampHacker)

I have often said that camp would be an amazing place for a public health researcher to take a look at the ways that diseases are spread throughout communities.   I have watched little things like pink eye or head lice (traumatic, but not life-threatening) run through camp in less than a day.

In this episode of the CampHacker Podcast Gab and I were thrilled to bring in Marty Ferguson from YMCA Camp Chief Ouray in Colorado.  Camp Chief Ouray has developed some very smart protocols to protect their camper and staff from diseases that can spread at camp.

We also had John MacDonald, my step-dad, who is a retired Health Inspector from Ontario, Canada.   John has had a long career in the public health field and was always a great resource to Beth and I.     

Thank you to both of them for being on the show! 

Download our Camp Kitchen Compliance Record

We hope you get lots from our discussion.   

If you have any questions about communicable diseases at camp please leave them in the comments below or send us a tweet to @CampHacker using the #CampPros hashtag.


Tool of the Week – Make yourself a better Camp Director

Gab: Twitter for your desktop
Marty: Season of Life by Jeffery Marx
John: HACCP training 

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Thanks for the evening, friends.

Retaining Campers - CampHacker #51

Keeping campers is much easier than finding new ones

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Podcast: Subscribe in iTunes | Stitcher App  (search for CampHacker)

One of the great tricks of being a good camp director is finding ways to keep campers coming back year after year.

I have heard a number of directors, when I talked to them at conferences, who have said that they feel like they need to add something new and exciting to their program every year.   I know from my own experience that it was never the programs that I remembered each winter when I was at school but it was my counsellors and the other kids that I went to school with - many of whom are still friends today.

Dan, Joe, and Gab share great, easy to implement ideas from their very successful camps.

How to you make sure that as many campers as possible will return year after year?  Please leave us a comment!


Tool of the Week – Make yourself a better Camp Director

Travis: Strobist Ducktape Keyfob
Joe: Google Ad Words Grant
(US -  (Canada -
Dan: ACA’s 2013 Emerging Issues Results
Gab: Wireless speaker Bluetooth speaker - Philips Sound Shooter

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Thanks for the evening, friends.