Tips for Running a Better Summer Camp Business

Running a summer camp is a noble endeavor. Summer camps impart skills and values to all types of children. Nevertheless, every summer camp, small or large, private, religious, nonprofit or for-profit, is a business. If a summer camp takes in less money than it spends, it will eventually fail. Not coincidentally, summer camps that run well as businesses are usually effective in executing their mission. The same talents and skills required to run a business—focus, persistence, attention, and intelligence—are also required to run a quality summer program.

Growing Camp

Camp director Erec Hillis encourages camp professionals to broadly communicate the fact that “camp creates advantage for kids.” He asserts that this “is a winning argument that camp directors must learn to make . . . . It will help directors fill their own individual camps and benefit the industry as a whole” (Hillis, 2015). I agree that this “life-time advantage” argument is persuasive and encourage camp owners and directors to use it. However, the argument has limitations. It can only be addressed to those who are already in the conversation.

Fresh Tips for Running a Better Summer Camp Business — Sales and Marketing

Like it or not, every summer camp — for-profit or nonprofit — is a business. A camp that does not respect and abide the most fundamental of business commandments, that the monies coming into the camp must equal or exceed those flowing out, will eventually fail. There are two sides to the equation, revenue — the money coming in, and expense — the money flowing out. This article focuses on the primary revenue driver — marketing. The following twelve tips are intended to help every camp improve its marketing, and thereby generate more revenue.

Fresh Tips for Running a Better Summer Camp Business: A Look at Operations

In the 2009 November/December issue of Camping Magazine, we discussed sales and marketing tips to help run a better camp business. But, like any well-run business, camps need to be concerned about more than just sales and marketing. Serious consideration should also be given to the following tips on operations, maintenance, capital expenditures, purchasing, and leadership. Not all tips apply to every camp; however, the principles behind them are helpful and worth considering.