What Not to do When Starting a Summer Camp

Our IYCA Ultimate Performance Camp & Clinic Checklist makes it easy for anyone to get their first summer camp going. It is a step-by-step approach to getting all the essential tasks done that will make your camp the best in town…

And it’s 100% free. 😉

Interested in putting together a great summer camp this year?

Here is what you should avoid.

Wait till the last minute

This seems obvious. Waiting till the last minute will diminish the value of your camp, and likely make it sub-par. It takes effort, planning and a timeframe to allow for that to happen. Start now with planning your camp for the summer. You won’t regret it.

Not set a deadline

Establish a registration deadline for both early birds and regular registration. This is essential in creating a sense of urgency for signing up. Without a clear deadline and expectation for registration, it will be hard to gauge the baseline numbers for your camp.

A deadline 2 weeks prior to camp will allow you to get all the supplies needed to launch a dynamite program

Try and Do it Alone

Camps are a lot of work, don’t try to do it alone. College and High School athletes love opportunities to get experience working with kids. Leverage your current staff to optimize the process, and look for high school volunteers or college athletes to help implement the program.

You probably want to build community relationships with league coaches, middle schools, high schools—and leverage them to help you market. Getting the word out needs to be a joint effort. I recommend that you look for 2 internal opportunities and 1-2 external opportunities to get the word out about your camp.

The One-and-Done Approach

Camps aren’t meant to be a one-and-done opportunity. You may offer multiple camps per summer, but if you really want to grow your program, offer camps on an annual basis. This will help you spread your word of mouth marketing and generate a fan base.

Getting traction with camps can take time. If you fail your first year, evaluate “what worked” and “what didn’t work” and learn from the process. Get feedback from attendees and staff. Even though you’ll be exhausted, it’s best to do this immediately after the camp while everything is fresh on your mind. Once you had a good list for what went well and what didn’t, you can start planning next year!

Each year it will get better, parents will expect it and kids will look forward to it.

Want to minimize the work in planning for camps and clinics?

Some people may enjoy the novice approach of figuring out on their own, and that’s ok! But if you want a tried-and-true system for planning a camp or clinic, download our Camp & Clinic Checklist today to help you get started.

Download Checklist

About the Author: Julie Hatfield

Julie Hatfield (1)Julie is the Executive Director of the International Youth Conditioning Association (IYCA). She grew up as an athlete and played collegiate softball at Juniata College. She currently owns and operates her own youth fitness business pouring into young athletes. Her areas of expertise are youth sport performance, youth fitness business and softball training/instruction. Julie grew up on a dairy farm and can challenge the best of the best in a cow-milking contest. 😉

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