Resource Library

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.

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"He did what?" "She never acted like that when she was a camper." "Are you sure that’s what happened?" Do these comments sound familiar? Camps offering leadership development programs are sometimes surprised at choices young people make — even if they were known as campers. The responsibility of training young adults is clearly one of the biggest challenges camp administrators face. Many aspects of running a camp change from year to year, but few are as complex as teaching the group who are no longer campers and yet not old enough to be paid staff.

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Many campers as young as three and four years of age engage in many of the same sports activities as their older counterparts. Sports such as soccer, tennis, basketball, and hockey are routinely part of a camp schedule. Many sport specialists ask for the youngest children not to come to them, because they believe the children do not get anything out of the activity. Some activity directors may also believe that scheduling children this young for sport specialist activities is a waste of time.

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It's a Good Day: A Personal Essay
Published Date: 2013-07-01

The gray rain wall dropped out of the sky. Lightning. Then thunder.

We, the already-tired crew on the feature film Yellow Day, were stuck. We quickly covered the large cameras in heavy plastic and donned rain gear while Bob, our Dutch production manager, called it for the day.

Not good.

Forty employees sitting idle is not cheap. And I’m the executive producer/writer of Yellow Day. I’m looking at every rain drop and thinking each one costs us a dollar.

I look out onto the set, which is anything but a set.

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I spent a lot of time in a foggy, hormone-soaked haze when I was pregnant with my first son. I was in law school at the time, and it was much more entertaining to ponder the future contents of his nursery bookshelf or the tears I'd shed on his first day of kindergarten than the details of civil procedure and contracts. Before I'd even begun to show, I'd stocked his bookshelves with my own childhood favorites, and the list of possible boy and girl names had already been affixed to the refrigerator door.

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The Making of a Lifelong Camper
Published Date: 2018-07-02

I started going to camp when I was six, or more accurately, I was sent to camp at six years old. I was dropped off on the shores of Lake George for two weeks without any prep, and let’s just say it was not the most enjoyable transition. What I didn’t know as a small child was that my mom sent me to camp to keep me out of the house during a divorce proceeding at home. Camp was meant to protect me.

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Picture ziti pasta shells strung into a necklace with yarn or glued onto flimsy paper. Think back to dried leaves and flowers cracking and falling off of cardboard squares, or paint peeling off of the tips of pinecones. Envision images from coloring book pages filled in with crayons and dried-out markers. And what about countless misshapen pinch pots with paint slapped on in a hurried dash out the door?

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As a camp professional, I, like you, have literally thousands of affirming anecdotal stories — the camp experience is not discretionary. And, if anyone needs more evidence, ACA's outcomes research confirms what each of us already knows. Our CEO, Peg Smith*, has been telling the world that opportunities for growth and development exist in natural settings that promote experiential learning, improve social skills and physical fitness, teach children to take calculated risks in a safe environment, and expand the creative mind.

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The Launch Pad Versus the Pinnacle
Published Date: 2016-11-01

When I entered his home, I thought this would be a routine stop on my camp fundraising tour. As a camp alum, a former staff member, a camp parent and grandparent, I also knew that my request would be met with generous support.

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Do you ever wonder what other camps offer for programs? Are your facilities similar to those at other camps like yours? Are there differences in sites, facilities, and programs based on characteristics such as type, sponsorship, or geographic location? Every three years ACA conducts a randomized survey about sites, facilities, and programs of our accredited camps. The following brief overview offers you a snapshot of some of the information found in this year's survey. Looking at the findings through various lenses of camp characteristics provides a picture of our camp community.

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