7 Helpful Tips on Running a Smooth Summer Camp

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As the news continues to change daily and the spread of COVID-19 continuously impacts our lives, it can be challenging for camp directors to plan for the upcoming summer camp season.

However, while there is still plenty of uncertainty in the air, we can still be cautiously optimistic as we begin to prepare for camps this summer.

Running a summer camp is already challenging under normal circumstances, but as the world continues to change, what new considerations have to be made to organize the best summer camp possible?

Here, we’ll break down the seven most important tips to ensure your youth summer camp can run as smoothly as possible, regardless of the circumstances.

1. Managing Logistics

If you know anything about running a summer camp, you know that many logistical considerations have to go into making everything run smoothly. Of course, this all starts by having a vision in place when you start your planning.

Essential considerations include things like:

  • Physical location and/or virtual
  • Required licenses
  • Budget
  • Target campers
  • Target price
  • Theming, if applicable

Once you have these base plans and ideas in place, it’s vital to get your logistics organized as soon as possible. UltraCamp’s Retreat Management add-on can help you keep track of your retreat calendar and location bookings. We can even help calculate pricing for facilities and activities.

2. Hiring and Training Camp Staff

A great camp cannot function without an excellent camp staff. You’ll want to start your process by making sure you get the best possible pool of applicants. Online portals and platforms can be a great place to post job listings.

UltraCamp can also help you in processing your staff applications. We can provide integrated background checks, online reference forms, and even reminders to help your applicants stay on track.

Don’t forget to factor in training and payment for your camp staff. You’ll likely want to speak to an accountant to figure out how to report your payments to the IRS before you make any significant decisions.


3. Spreading the Word

Marketing is a huge part of making sure you actually have campers when summer rolls around. It’s a good idea to start marketing your summer camp as soon as possible, however you choose to do so. Some people even start marketing before they have their final plans locked down.

You can turn to many methods in your marketing process, and it is probably wise to choose more than one. Social media is your friend here, but Google ads, email newsletter advertisements, and joint venture marketing opportunities are great options.

However, when you start your advertising and marketing process, it’s also essential to have an ideal camper in mind. You want to create marketing that they (and their parents) will be most likely to consume.

4. Setting Up Your Registration Process

A well-constructed registration system will save both you and your customers a huge amount of time and energy. Using online forms can help streamline this process, so everything is in the same place.

UltraCamp also features customizable online registration that can help you manage a smooth registration experience for your customers. We make it easy for you to select exactly what your customers need to see, including a variety of payment options, so the process is as straightforward for you as it is for them.

5. Maintaining Healthy Environments

Keeping your campers safe and healthy should always be the number one priority of any camp environment. However, this is especially important right now amid a pandemic.

The CDC has published a series of suggestions for youth and summer camps that is regularly updated. This includes an extensive list of considerations to keep in mind as you plan the day-to-day operations of your camp, such as:

  • Cleaning and disinfection
  • Shared objects
  • Ventilation
  • Water systems
  • Communal spaces, and
  • Foodservice

6. Contingency Planning

One of the biggest challenges to planning a summer camp during a pandemic is that what we know is continually changing. While your plans may seem adequate now, new knowledge may cause your plans to change.

No one wants to make all new plans (or worse, cancel them altogether), so it’s a good idea to have contingency plans in place in case of unforeseen circumstances.

The American Camp Association has a contingency plan framework available that can help you create modified plans in case you have to modify or cancel your in-person scheduling for the summer.

7. Making Fun a Priority

Running a summer camp for kids is always a huge feat, but this year it can feel nearly impossible. Similarly, for many kids, going to camp for the first time can feel scary, too. Imagine how kids might be feeling this year.

Don’t forget that the number one goal of running your camp (aside from keeping campers safe, that is) should be making sure everyone has fun.

Camp is meant to be an escape from the real world. Approach summer camp activities with a fun and positive attitude and schedule programs you know your campers will love.

Creating Summer Camp Memories That Last a Lifetime

No matter what this summer looks like, you have the opportunity to help your campers create summer camp memories that they will take with them for the rest of their lives.

Whether your camp is unaffected by the pandemic or entirely virtual, these tips will help to make sure you can focus on what’s truly important: having fun!

Contact us for more information on how UltraCamp can make your summer camp run as smoothly as possible.

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