It’s what you and your team have been painstakingly preparing for – and logistically, you may be dreading it. Your camp’s arrival day sets the tone for the duration of the camp. Here are seven tips to make it fun and easy:
- Organize early.
It’s fun to plan out all the activities you’ll lead during camp. And it’s natural to want to plan the fun things first.
However, none of the fun stuff can happen if arrival day doesn’t go smoothly. Make it a priority to make your campers’ arrival one of the first things you plan.
- Send out instructions.
Just as you should organize early for arrival, so too should the campers. Simplify this for them by sending out arrival day instructions to parents and campers as early as you can.
Then send reminders – a few of them – before camp starts. For example, send instructions with your initial welcome information, in an email a month before start, and in an email a week before. This gives parents plenty of ways to retain that info, even if it gets lost the first (or second) time.
- Use plenty of signage.
New places are confusing, especially when navigating with a vehicle. Make some outdoor signs marking where parents should turn and park.
Also mark where campers should be dropped off, checked in, and hang out post-check-in. Get creative with fun, easy-to-see colors, readable fonts, and decorations like balloons.
Most importantly, post more signs than you think you’ll need. You’re not overdoing it and the parents will thank you.
- Divide and conquer.
Split the work of camp arrival day among all camp leaders, not just one or a few. This could mean dividing check-in by the first letter of last names or dividing check-in into stages.
Let’s break down an example. Say that your camp has one big parking lot and a main building close to that lot.
Place a couple camp leaders by the sign where parents should turn into the lot. This will reassure parents that they’re going the right way, and the leaders will be there to answer questions about parking.
Next, place some leaders by the entrance to the main building. They can check campers in by last name (i.e., one person checks in kids whose surnames start with letters A-M and another checks in the N-Z crowd).
Then have more leaders in place to relay checked-in campers from the main building to the rest of the camp, where the activities can begin.
Ensure everyone on your team knows what part they play. When everyone is in sync, camper check-in will flow like an assembly line.
- Make arrival fun for campers.
Engaged campers are organized campers. Use this to your advantage by gamifying arrival day.
Make it clear on the schedule that there’s a fun activity planned for a time shortly after arrival. When they have something to be excited about, campers will be the ones nagging their parents about being on time.
This can be anything from a game to a prize for the first few kids to get checked in.
- Don’t over plan.
On the other side of Tip #5, remember not to plan too many activities for arrival day. This can add stress by making your team anxious to speed through the check in process.
Arrival day can also be overwhelming for campers. Meeting new people takes a lot of energy, and kids may need some downtime before taking on a more taxing activity.
- Use the CampSite’s Attendance Tracking.
CampSite’s Attendance Tracking gives you the ability to see where campers are at every stage of check in. You can even put the power in parents’ hands by giving them a personalized attendance PIN that lets them check their child in and out on their own.