A HINT to Increase Engagement - Joanna Warren Smith

Re-Connect with Your Campers!

Camper nutrition classes
Camper nutrition classes

In January, I attended two major camp conferences and had a total of 17 operators admit to me that they had not had ANY contact with their campers since the last day of camp.  UNBELIEVABLE!

Now in all fairness, they did report that their monthly parent outreach since campers went home had been a good balance of ‘relationship-building’ and ‘sales’ messages.  I applauded those protocols and then reminded them that they have two clients … the one who pays for camp and the one who has the experience.  I also helped them to see that the only way a child will return is if both the parent and the camper stay connected to camp throughout the year and have on-going conversations and references to the value/memories/impact of camp.

I encouraged them and you to …


  • Leverage the upcoming holiday!  Redefine February 14th as ‘I Love Camp’ Day.  At minimum, send 2016 Campers not yet re-enrolled a Valentine that reminds them of what a great time they had last summer.  AND send registered 2017 Campers a Valentine that tells them how excited you are that they will be on board this summer.
  • Run a camper contest.  Challenge kids and perhaps staff to don their camp swag and take pictures to post on your Facebook page on the 14th to celebrate ‘I Love Camp’ Day.  Incentivize participation by making the rules simple and promising camp store gift certificates to the funniest/most creative/interesting visuals.
  • Recycle end-of-session or end-of-camp videos.  If kids haven’t seen them since the close of camp, send them a link on a snail mail Valentine or via a parent email with the subject line ‘Please print this for your camper.’
  • Creatively re-connect kids to your camp culture.  If there’s a special song, that everyone sings and loves, post an MP3.  If there’s a translatable ritual, story or joke that ALL CAMPERS will relate to, use it as your vehicle to make connections with kids that will get them talking about camp with their parents.

Want help figuring out a unique outreach for you?  Call me at 310-451-1876.

(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 these HINTS in your email - in the left-hand column of Joanna's website: http://camp-consulting.com/)