How do we get summer campers to winter retreats?

I want to thank Cassy for sending me this question: We have off season retreats that we do throughout the year. How can we get the kids interested in attending those after the summer is over? Our numbers are getting lower for those events and we aren’t sure how we are able to increase those numbers and get the campers interested in coming for those.

Like many camps (most often non-profits and faith-based camps) Cassy's camp draws it's summer campers back to camp during the school year.

Here's my thinking: 

To me, I see it as essential to get those kids excited, and even enrolled, during the summer.  I would work to capture their registration at the very moment that they are the most excited about camp programs - when they are IN camp programs.

That may mean that you have to have the staff/volunteers in your congregations very well informed and excited themselves before the summer starts.

I think there are 3 things that will get kids to come to retreats:

  1. Knowing that they can see their camp friends (ie. get kids to commit and sign up while at camp in the summer)
  2. Excitement that they will see camp staff (make sure that you have your staff commitments locked-in in the summer so they can say "I will be there!")
  3. Advocates in their local parishes who can pump them up before a retreat.   I would use your summer database and social media like Facebook Live to help local youth group leaders understand what happens and help you reinforce throughout the year that retreats are just another chance to have camp in your life - when you need it the most.