You have permission to copy these in print format for use with your own staff and board, or to e-mail to individuals as “homework” for upcoming discussions and decisions. Please respect the authors by not posting on-line, publishing in any commercial format, plagiarism of content (except for credited excerpts), or distributing without the by-lines and contact information. Thank you. Now enjoy…
Gary's Big Confession – Money can't buy happiness, and it turns out, it can't buy a great camp program, either. Necessity is the mother of invention, and invention is more fun than any big "toy."
"Don't Wait!" Program Ideas for Gathering Areas – Kids need practice in friend-making, yet we give them very few tools. Having a variety of "pick-up" games that kids learn by watching other kids is way better than the standing-around-waiting that happens before meals and before "activities" at average camps. I collected these from "Great" Camps!
Buddy Up! – Most waterfront staff don't know why they use a buddy system. Their waterfront is dangerous because they have a false sense of security in a procedure they're doing wrong. This might be the fastest way to make your camp safer.
Punch Out a Punch List – Here's a list of things SO MANY camps get wrong at the beggining of the summer, that YOU should use it as a double-check! Solutions, too.
Camper Return Rate: Building Friendships
Teaching the Skills of Friend-Making - No, it doesn’t “just happen” at camp; (not at most, actually). But it could…
Portable GaGa Pit Drawings and Rules. - The hottest new camp game of the last 10 years, and a great place to make friends.
Permanent GaGa Pit Plans & Construction Photos - Thanks to "The CT Camp Guys" for these easy-to-follow plans.
Camp Program Design and Analysis
Camp…Is it REALLY Magic? – Or are the good camps just well run businesses? It turns out there IS a recipe for the magic outcomes, with specific ingredients.
Who Designs Your Camp’s Program? – Is your daily schedule solving problems…or causing them?
Storyboarding – The best organizational tool I've ever used. It helps me prioritize, collect and evaluate ideas, and get lots more done. And I learned it from Walt Disney.
Marketing: Mom is the first Customer
The Elevator Speech - Every day we sell our camp; and most of the time we blow it. Until you have this task finished, don’t spend ANYTHING on marketing.
Are You Shutting Out Your Own Customers? – Camps spend SO much to get parents interested, and then make it hard for them to take the final steps.
Teaching Parents to Talk to their Kids – Use examples of open-ended questions, and parents can help their kids share their stories of camp.
Feeding the goose that lays the golden eggs - If you don’t have a financially successful summer camp, focusing on ANY OTHER time of year will actually prevent you from ever breaking even.
Facilities, Maintenance & Design
Camp Showerhouses: Designs and Materials - Bathrooms are the ONE facility you just HAVE to get right. I've built many and seen hundreds. I make it easy for you to make choices you (and your campers and parents and maintenance staff) will be happy with for years.
The Hobbit Cabins of Camp Collins! - Now THIS is creative! When a great dream, a smart designer, and a detail-driven execution all come together, something really special (and "green") can happen!
Evaluating a Camp’s Facilities and Site - We should be asking: “Is this place effective at doing what parents send their kids to camps for? And if it is, what are the components that make it successful?”
The Art and Science of Dining Hall Accoustics - Would you go back to a restaurant where you couldn’t hear what your friends were saying?
It’s Hammer Time - Being a less efficient handyman can make you more effective… at changing lives
The Best Bunk Bed Ever - Lots of photos of several applications; drawings and dimensions too.
Consistently Good Food – Here's how foodservice professionals insure quantity, quality, timing and price every single time.
The AT&T Foundation’s grant to the YMCA stipulates that these documents be made available for use by any camp. The Y asks that you please leave the copyright marks so that the content cannot be sold.
POWER Hiring – “How-to Interview PDF.” Guide to Behavior-Based Interviewing.
POWER Hiring – “Let’s Go Fishing PDF.” Camp Staff Recruiting Guide.
POWER Hiring – “Interview Form Worksheet.” - Four pages, meant to be printed on 11”x17” and folded into a 4-page booklet. Edit in your own camp. (Downloads in MS-Word for you to SAVE).
POWER Hiring – “Ten-Factor Scoring Sheet.” - The data collection & decision tool. (Downloads in MS-Word for you to SAVE).
POWER Hiring – “Telephone Reference Form.” - Two pages, print front and back. (Downloads in MS-Word for you to SAVE).
POWER Hiring – “Pre-Interview / Phone Screening ”- Use to evaluate candidates before scheduling a full interview. (Downloads in MS-Word for you to SAVE).
Camp Mission Statement as a Credo - What if your camp's mission statement could be shared by all of your staff members, campers and guests?
“Is Quality a Priority at Your Camp?”— Before you say, "We've tried everything to get more campers," share this article with your board, boss and staff.
Reading List for Camp Professionals - My suggestions on the MUST READ books for making smart decisions. "But I don't have time!" I guarantee that each of these books will save you more time than it takes to read it in the very first year. You'll fill your camp because you are EFFECTIVE with campers, parents, and staff.
Sample Phone-a-thon Script PDF
Secrets of Phone-a-thon Success! PDF
– Face-to-face is the best fundraising method, but getting lots of volunteers to make calls is still a very effective way to teach fundrasising skills, access future prospects, raise a moeny fast, and HAVE SOME FUN!