Have you ever noticed that even those of us who love camp have a difficult time helping people understand why camp is so awesome? We believe that if we can just get our friends (or friends’ kids) to experience camp, they’ll “get it.” But how do we get them here?
Whether you are trying to “recruit” one camper or your whole Sunday School, here are a few suggested steps to follow.
Step 1. Tell Your Story
This sounds like the easy part, but it’s harder than it seems. How many of us have tried to convince someone that camp is awesome, but ended up enthusiastically talking in circles and finally ending with “I don’t know… it’s hard to explain!”
Try to think of some very specific stories that describe how camp has impacted you or your child.
...Did you meet a lifelong friend at camp?
...Did you notice that camp helped your child to be more independent and self-sufficient?
...Did the kids in your church come back from camp full of excitement about the things they learned about God?
It’s also a good idea to think about the potential campers and camper parents you are trying to convince.
...What are their questions and concerns?
...If a child is shy you may want to address her fears about making friends.
...If a parent is anxious about safety and security, you might want to talk to him about the fears you might have had at first and share how a camp gained your trust.
Sometimes our enthusiasm for camp can overwhelm people and make it hard for them to hear our more rational points. It’s ok if people don’t quite believe that camp is a life-changing experience, as long as they can see that there are real benefits. They’ll understand in time.
Step 2. Share the Info
There’s a lot of information for new camper parents to digest, so gather the essential information and walk them through it. For our camp, you’ll want to point them to the following information:
Send them to www.pecometh.org/best-week-ever so that they can watch our camp video, and download the 2014 Brochure. If you are talking to someone who isn't internet savvy you can always download and print the brochure for them.
After they read through the program descriptions in the brochure, they can take a look at the Dates & Rates chart. When looking at the chart it is helpful to keep in mind if there are any dates the parent is trying to avoid, what age the campers are, and what programs they are interested in.
Let them know about our various Payment Options; many people set up a recurring ACH so that they don’t have to pay all at once. A $50 deposit is required to hold your camper’s spot, though.
Make sure to mention that we have Camperships available upon request. We typically give a campership of $150 for an overnight week-long camp. Also, be sure to find out if your church offers help paying for camp - lots of churches do!
Do they have questions? Help them find answers! If there are questions you can’t answer, we would be happy to help. Most camp-related questions can be answered by Julie (email or call 410-556-6900 x128), but we also answer questions via Facebook and Twitter.
Step 3. Get them Registered (and Follow Up)
Give your potential camper-parents some time to digest all that information, and then follow up to see if they are ready to make a decision!
Sometimes people need to be walked through the registration process, so point them to our Registration page where they can download paper registration forms or read step-by-step instructions to register online.
You might want to print out registration forms and help parents fill them out if you are trying to encourage families from your church or community organization to register. This can be especially helpful for grandparents who want to send grandchildren to camp (although plenty of grandparents are computer-savvy too these days!)
After your new campers are registered, follow-up with the families! As the summer approaches, see if they have any questions about the packing list and health form and offer your tips on getting campers ready. You might even help organize carpools if other families are have kids going to camp the same week!
It's like we've said, It's hard to explain why camp is so awesome... you just have to experience it to get it! Ask the future campers in your life to just give it a try, and they'll see what you mean.
And don't forget - if you want to share the camp experience with your adult friends, or with people whose kids are too young for overnight summer camp, check out Friends & Family Camp. You can have the camp experience together!
What do you think? Did I miss any important steps? What have you done to convince someone to register for camp?
Physical Address: 401 Jack Elliot Way, Centreville, MD 21617 * 410-556-6900