Campers and staff make your business thrive. Without them, your camp quite literally wouldn’t exist – an appreciative “Thank You” is a must!
We’ve come up with a few simple ways you can ensure staff and alumni feel the love year-round. Let’s start with why it’s important.
Why it’s essential to say thanks
Making sure the people you work with feel appreciated isn’t just “being nice.” In fact, it’s an essential part of being a leader and building a camp culture that keeps people coming back. Here are a few other benefits of expressing your gratitude.
Retain top talent
According to a study by the American Psychological Association, employees who feel valued not only feel better about their work but are more engaged as well. Showing your thanks will help you retain your talented staff members and keep them interested in doing their best.
Build a culture of appreciation
Your camp’s culture is the core of everyone’s experience there, regardless of their status as staff or camper. Ensuring you thank everyone from counselor to camper establishes gratitude as one of the tenets of your camp’s culture.
Enhance word-of-mouth marketing
When people feel valued, they’re more likely to share their experiences. Alumni and camp staff who feel appreciated at your camp will be the ones spreading the word for free.
Our top 3 ways to say thanks
These are simple ideas for enhancing your culture of gratitude. Feel free to add your own flair!
1. Social media highlights
Show camp staff and alumni that you care by giving them a shout-out on your camp’s social media channels. Here are some things you could post about:
- Accomplishments at school. Have they won an award? Earned a top sports title? Been accepted into their dream school? Let everyone know about it.
- Testimonials from campers. Ask campers what they love about a staff member or former camper and compile those quotes into a heartfelt post.
- Simple fun facts. Ask the alum or staff member for a fun fact about themselves. It’s a small thing to share, but it can still make someone feel special.
Whatever you share, make sure you include a flattering photo of the staff member or alum. They will feel truly recognized (and happy you got their good side!).
2. Gift cards
Unlike social media highlights, getting gift cards as a “thank you” will cost a little money. Save it for special occasions or personal milestones.
Although it’s easy, try to avoid the generic Visa or Amazon gift card. Try these more personal ideas instead:
- Local coffee shops. Camp staff and older alumni who love coffee will appreciate your support of their caffeine addiction. Plus, getting a gift card from somewhere local is a great chance to build a relationship with another small business.
- College bookstores. Are your former campers or staff members moving on to college? Show you care about this big step by getting them a gift card to their campus bookstore.
- Toy stores. Younger camp alumni would be delighted by some extra toy money. Just be sure to clear this one with their parents first.
- Camp merch stores. If your camp has swag, say thank you with a voucher for something that will let your alum or staff member show their camp pride.
3. Service awards and superlatives
Host a ceremony at the end of the camp season and invite staff and alumni. You can give thanks and have a party at the same time!
Use these awards/superlatives to get you started:
- Years of service. If a staff member has returned to your camp year after year, give them an award to commemorate how much time they’ve dedicated.
- “Most likely to” certificates. Make up some camp-related superlatives for alumni and ask other campers to vote. Campers will feel appreciated for being thought of in unique ways.
- Leadership recognition. Get senior staff members together and choose a few counselors who showed the most initiative. Give them an award to say thank you and recognize their potential.