A quick resource from Camp Augusta to get parents and kids talking about what REALLY happens at camp

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Boost your retention by helping parents understand why your summer camp is so amazing

At every camp conference I go to, there seem to be two major questions at the heart of each session: "How do I get more campers?" and "How do I keep the campers I have?"

These questions are far too nuanced to answer in a single post, but I'd love to share a delightful on how to keep the campers we already have, courtesy of our friends at Camp Augusta.

Helping parents and campers find conversation on the way home

EndofSummer-101It's the last day of camp, and parents are eagerly arriving to pick up their children. For many of them, it's the first time their children have been away from home for more than a night or two.

"How was it?" they'll ask, eyes twinkling.

"Fun," the camper will say, before marching past and heading to the car.

Wait a second! you, as the director, think. Why didn't Grant tell his mom about how he cried at the closing camp fire, saying he'd never forget everyone here? Or how he cackled with glee at the huge all-camp game we played?

Parents and kids: they're not always the best communicators.

At Camp Augusta, they've done an interesting thing to help parents understand what really happens at summer camp.

When parents come to sign their children out, they're given this paper, which points them to an online survey, but also gives them specific questions to help them learn more about their campers' experience.

Instead of trying to fumble around for questions that can be answered with "yup" and "nope" (was the food good?), they will be given questions to ask that can trigger specific memories and storytelling, highlighting the best moments of camp, and filling the car ride home with conversation and laughing.

Parents are fulfilled knowing that they invested their money in an experience that was meaningful and unique, and campers are asked well-crafted questions that they can offer specific answers to without having to read Mom's mind and know that she wanted to know more than whether camp was fun and the food was good.

And your camp? Well, the person who actually paid for camp now knows what she/he paid for, and will be more likely to want to re-invest in the experience next year. Parents win, kids win, camp wins.

If you skipped to the end because you just want the resource, here it is again:

Parent Evaluation and Questions Form

And by the way, this is just a sample of the resources that others have shared with us (and that we've created ourselves) inside of Go Camp Pro. Sign up for our mailing list below, and be the first to know when we go public with our release!

Resources generously shared by Randall Grayson, the Director of Camp Augusta - an organization that runs both a residential summer camp and an outdoor adventure camp for youth in Northern California.

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