A 'HINT' to Increase Retention - from Joanna Warren Smith

It's Unanimous in Camper-Parent Focus Groups this Summer!


Interviewed moms and dads all agree that camps do not provide them with sufficient insight into their child’s summer  experience.  Parents want to be affirmed that they made a good choice by selecting your camp and they desperately want ‘talking points’ so they can engage their kids in conversation.

Having access to photographs helps, but it's not enough.   It may be impossible to recreate specific content for your first sessions, so consider doing a ‘summary’ communication for those parents (eliminating those families who are still with you).  For the current and subsequent sessions …


  • Create a communication template.  Put together a descriptive paragraph that vividly describes a week of camp for a particular group.  Make it as colorful and engaging as it can be to excite parents about your camp experience.  Short and powerful is better than long and boring.
  • Get Unit Leaders involved.  On Monday morning, share the template and tell them that each should create a paragraph for their group group due Wednesday at dinner.  Bring all together for an upbeat re-writing session, then expect the final draft Thursday at lunch.
  • Connect with parents.  Thursday evening or Friday morning, send out the emails to groups of parents by camper units.

My prediction is that you'll get such positive response from your parents that weekly reporting will become a critical element of your communication plan.  This small effort will emotionally connect your parents with camp and encourage conversation between client #1 (camper) and client #2 (parent) to plan on returning next year.



Need more encouragement?  Email me at

(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/)

Hello Camp Mavericks! If you're interested in this post you'll LOVE the "10 Commandments of Camp Marketing" that Joanna and Travis have written. Download it here, now, for free and get a free subscription to the Go Camp Pro newsletter AND Joanna's HINTS email.

Travis Allison