- cheryl goldstein
It’s time to start thinking about how you are going to recruit campers for summer 2021 without coming in contact with anyone face-to-face. There will be no in-person open houses or home visits and no reunions or camp fairs. However, this should not prevent you from launching registration.
Start by letting families know, with a digital campaign, that you hope to reopen next summer. Through email and social media you can communicate that your programming and activities are not finalized, but your camp spirit is alive. Your values and the heart of your camp will not change despite COVID-19.
Notify parents that if you are unable to open, their deposit will be refunded or applied to a virtual program. This reassures them that they can commit now without any risk.
Design a digital brochure and get creative. Unlike your website, a brochure should only highlight key elements of your camp. It acts as a “teaser” to entice families to explore more about your program. Kickoff your registration campaign by emailing your digital brochure to current and past campers. Use it as a marketing tool to grab attention and follow up with potential campers, and consider using a purchased, targeted email list. Showcase what your camp has to offer without incurring the print costs.
Host your live events virtually. Today’s technology allows you to provide interactive experiences without being on-site. Guide campers through your property via a virtual open house. This can be a live or prerecorded event. Offer a series of sessions for parents online. You can hold a Q & A session, host a packing tutorial, go over forms and guidelines, and treat first time parents to a virtual welcome party.
Continue to provide online content for campers throughout the year. Make sure to mention Summer 2021 to the kids at every session. Chances are if they are enjoying the virtual programming they will ask their parents if they can attend “real” camp.
Video testimonials from campers and parents are a great substitution for in person introductions. Ask happy campers to answer a few key questions on camera. They can record their answers on their phones or tablets and simply email them to you. It’s easy for you to assemble into a file that can be emailed to potential families. These are also great videos to share on your social media and website.
Stretch your imagination as you navigate recruitment remotely. You can still make personal connections with your campers and potential families using modern technology and a little creativity.