Top 10 Items You Should Add To Your Summer Camp’s Packing List 

Summer camp is an exciting time for children and parents alike. It’s a time for fun, adventure, and making new friends. But before your campers arrive, it’s important they and their parents make sure they have everything they need.  Packing for summer camp can be a daunting task, but there are a few things parents can do to help their kids feel confident and prepared.

A few quick packing tips

First, encourage parents to involve their children in the packing process as much as possible. Children can make a list of what they think they’ll need, and then review it with their parents to ensure they have everything necessary. 

Additionally, ask parents to label all items with their child’s name to help them keep track of their belongings and feel more responsible for their things. Finally, tell parents to consider packing a few special items from home, such as a favorite stuffed animal or a family photo. This can help children feel more connected to home while they’re away. 

By following these tips, parents can help their kids feel confident and excited about their summer camp experience.

Top 10 items to pack for summer camp 

1. Sunscreen

Protecting campers’ skin from the sun is essential. Add a sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30 to the list, and make sure there will be enough to reapply regularly.

2. Insect repellent

Bugs can be a nuisance and some can even be dangerous. Make sure campers pack a good insect repellent to keep them protected from bites and stings.

3. Water bottle

Staying hydrated is important, especially during hot summer days. A reusable water bottle is a must-have item for any summer camp packing list.

4. Comfortable shoes

Campers will be spending a lot of time on their feet, so make sure they have comfortable shoes that are suitable for hiking, running, and playing.

5. Swimsuit

Whether campers are going to a lake or a pool, a swimsuit is essential for any summer camp. Don’t forget to add a towel to the list as well. 

6. Rain gear

Summer weather can be unpredictable, so it’s important to add rain gear to the list so campers can keep dry during any unexpected downpours.

7. Flashlight

A flashlight is a useful item to have at summer camp, especially for nighttime activities or trips to the bathroom.

8. First aid kit

Accidents can happen, so it’s always a good idea to have campers pack a personal first aid kit with basic supplies such as band-aids, antiseptic wipes, and pain relievers.

9. Hat and sunglasses

Protecting children’s eyes and faces from the sun is important. Make sure they have a hat and sunglasses to keep them cool and comfortable.

10. Personal hygiene items

Don’t forget to add personal hygiene items such as toothbrushes, toothpaste, shampoo, soap, and deodorant. These items will help campers stay clean and fresh throughout their summer camp experience.

Final thoughts

With this list of must-have items, you can ensure that parents and campers feel prepared for anything that comes their way. If your camp has specific requirements, add those to the packing list and make them very clear. With the right preparation, campers can have an even more fun and memorable summer camp experience.

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6 Ways Camps Can Help Parents Prepare First-Time Campers

If a child has never been to a camp before, they may not know what to expect. This can cause anxiety that their parents may have trouble navigating.

Here are six ways summer camps can help parents ease those pre-camp jitters!

1. Make it easy to learn about your camp online 

Your website should enable parents and their first-time campers to easily discover what your camp will be like. Add photos, videos, stories, and links to your social media accounts – anything that will convey what it really feels like to be a kid at your camp. 

Parents and their campers can then review your website together and discuss the information they find. Accessible information on an organized website will help your new campers set expectations and get them ready to experience camp for real. 

Try CampSite’s seamless web integration to enhance your site’s experience by incorporating the look and feel of your website into forms and dashboards. Consistent branding sets a trustworthy tone for parents. First-time campers will be more at ease knowing their parents are too. 

2. Share alumni stories

Talk to former campers about their experiences and post them on your website and/or social media. Encourage them to be honest. What were they afraid of at first? How did it get better? 

New campers may relate to these vulnerable stories of overcoming fears of camp. One day, they could have an inspiring alumni story of their own! 

3. Ensure registration is stress-free

Registering for camp should be an easy experience. Use a digital system such as CampSite’s online camp registration feature to reduce both stress and paperwork. 

With all forms, payments, and electronic signatures in one place, parents and campers will have no problem tracking down the right information and getting signed up. This will reflect positively on the organization of your camp and make first-timers feel secure. 

4. Design a camper-oriented packing list 

Make a thorough packing list of the basics a camper will need. Then, design it into a kid-friendly worksheet that they can use to pack for themselves. The more agency they have over their preparations, the more confident they will feel. 

Make sure to add “a reminder of home” to the list! This could include their favorite stuffed animal, a framed photo, or a special blanket. A memento can cut down on homesickness. 

5. Create a first-timer group

On social media or via email, contact the parents of first-time campers. Arrange a get-together for them before camp starts. 

Many first-time campers may find it easier to make connections in smaller groups, so this gives them the chance to make some new friends and prepare for meeting the larger group when camp starts. 

6. Streamline drop-off time

Extended goodbyes can make new campers even more hesitant to leave their families. Schedule a short drop-off window and ensure you have clear signage to make things efficient.  

Additionally, discourage parents from making “pick-up deals” with their campers. A “pick-up deal” is formed when a parent promises to pick up their child from camp if something goes wrong.

Even if this is an option, giving first-timers an “out” may make them feel like their parents don’t think they’re up to the challenge of camp.


4 Reasons to Use Camp Counselor Nicknames

Whether it’s group sing-a-longs, roasted marshmallows, or competitive color wars, every camp has its own set of traditions. Camp traditions are an integral part of camp; kids and adults alike look forward to them. They deepen connections and create lasting memories. And also, they’re just plain fun! One, of many, traditions campers and staffers enjoy is the use of nicknames. If you’ve never considered swapping out your counselors’ real names for something a bit more unusual, here are five reasons to start.

1. It Creates Magic

Summer camp is a special place where kids can explore away from home, build new skills and create confidence. They are new and exciting, sometimes mysterious, and always an adventure!  

Listening to campfire stories from a couple of counselors named John or Jennifer is okay. But somehow, you already know Hawk and Meatloaf tell them better. Offbeat names create an instant kind of magic and hint that there’s a secret to share. 

2. It Keeps Things Light

Fun camp names give kids a way to relate to adults and also remind adults not to take themselves too seriously. It’s a good time for everyone involved. 

Announcing a quirky nickname is a great ice breaker and conversation starter. The answer could be completely serious or catch you by surprise. You never know and that’s all part of the fun.  

Maybe Hawk just knows cool facts about birds of prey. Or maybe his eyesight is so sharp he can spot campers sneaking snacks from a mile away. And maybe Meatloaf really likes meatloaf for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Or, maybe it’s something random she mumbles in her sleep. Either way, the names create intrigue, and it knocks down walls and eases first-day jitters. 

3. It’s Simple

Nicknames keep things simple by eliminating same-name counselor confusion. Instead of Ashley A, B, and C they could be Bug, Fairy, and Lavender, and the problem is solved. What’s more, nicknames can actually help campers to remember their counselors better, too. That’s because, with catchy names, kids can make personal connections and relate.  

4. It Unifies Staff

Coming up with nicknames creates a unique counselor bonding experience. After all, it’s not every day someone gets to pick a new name for themselves or friends. 

So, what’s in a name, anyway? That’s for each counselor to decide. The good news is, there isn’t a right or wrong way to go about it.  Here are two options to get going.  

  • Present the nickname idea to new camp counselors and give them a week to choose their own. Encourage them to draw inspiration from nature, interests, or whatever calls to them. When the week is up, form a huddle and allow each person to reintroduce themselves to the group.  
  • At the end of counselor training, hold a special naming ceremony. Each new counselor will stand on the stage in front of their peers and wait for a new name. The other counselors will then brainstorm names for their friends based on things they’ve learned about them. They can use their personality, background, and hobbies they’ve shared. Discuss some ground rules beforehand, too. This way no one ends up with a name they dislike or are uncomfortable with.  

Are you in the market for an all-inclusive camp management software that also offers Staff Management?  Request your free, personalized demo today!


8 Ways Counselors Can Help Homesick Campers

In a previous post, we shared ways that the camp as a whole can help campers who are feeling homesick. But the people who are most likely to need to handle this from day to day are your counselors. We’re sharing 8 ways counselors can help engage with kids to combat homesick feelings. 

Some campers need extra nurturing from a trusted counselor. And with a little help, they can overcome their sadness and join the fun. Here are some ways a counselor can offer their support. 

1. Sit and listen

People want to feel heard and kids are no exception. If a counselor spots a camper who appears down, they can offer to sit with them and lend an ear. Asking them questions and listening to the answers will help the camper feel seen and heard. It can also shed light on what type of encouragement they could use from their counselor. 

2. Validate their feelings 

Campers get homesick for many reasons. Maybe it’s their first time away from home, and they feel weird in a new space and routine. Or maybe making new friends has been harder than they thought. 

No matter what they are feeling, counselors should let them know it is completely normal to feel homesick. They are not alone. Many campers go through it and get past it and so can they. 

3. Offer them a pen and paper

Sometimes, a quick check-in is enough to help an upset camper feel better. Other times, there is more they need to express to get it off their chest. For those campers, counselors can offer a quiet space with a paper and pen (and fun coloring tools!). 

Writing a letter to family and friends back home is familiar and soothing. And they can either mail their letters out one at a time or create a journal. A daily journal will help them log their adventures and accomplishments and give them something to look forward to sharing when they return home. 

4. Get them outside 

Whenever possible, camp counselors should get their kids up and outside. That’s because it’s hard to feel bad with fresh air in your hair and warm sunshine on your skin. Plus, few people enjoy being asked to breathe when they are feeling upset. But when someone steps outside, it’s an automatic response to inhale and exhale. That’s because nature knows best. 

5. Distract them

It’s like the old saying goes, “Out of sight, out of mind.” If campers sit inside for too long with their thoughts, their sadness will consume them. Counselors should introduce campers to a world of possibility at camp. There are so many activities to get into and start exploring. The more activities a camper gets involved in, the less chance there is of them remembering they are sad.   

6. Give them purpose  

Assign the camper a task. It’s the same thing as distracting them but better because it gives them a purpose. Asking them to take charge of certain tasks at camp can help them feel important and included. Because, they are! 

7. Encourage connections 

Connections can be powerful, especially for a kid. Making friends with someone who is feeling the same thing as you can create a special bond. In the same way, finding an older camper who has been through it before and survived can be uplifting. 

All friend connections at camp are special. Some come right away through shared interests and similar backgrounds. Other connections are built through team-building activities. Camp counselors can help encourage both, by introducing certain campers they think will hit it off and by planning plenty of group activities. 

8. Stay connected 

Once a counselor has checked-in with a camper, they should be sure to keep up with them. The campers will look forward to it.  Sure, summer camps are about those kid connections, but they’re also about having great adult role models. 

One nurturing and thoughtful counselor can teach a camper many things about leadership, self-identity, and self-worth that will stick with them for the years to come. Counselors should make it a point to sit with their campers for a couple minutes each day and talk. It could make all the difference. 

We, here, at CampSite understand how important it is to help campers combat homesickness. With that, we offer features that help campers stay connected with their loved ones while at camp, which include add-on modules like Phone Call Scheduling and a Parent to Camper ​email communication module!

To learn more about CampSite and these modules, Request your free, personalized demo today!


How to Productively Gather Feedback from Summer Camp Families 

Feedback from your campers’ families will help your business evolve and improve. Unfortunately, collecting that feedback can be a complicated and confusing process. 

Families need guidance to give you the opinions that matter, whether they’re negative or positive. In this article, we will review some of our favorite pointers for gathering meaningful feedback from summer camp families. Use these as a springboard for building your own surveys and feedback methods.  

Pre- and post-camp surveys 

You want to understand family expectations before camp to better judge feedback after camp. Create both pre- and post-camp surveys for families, and make sure the questions connect. 

For example, ask parents in the pre-camp survey if they went to camp when they were younger. Did they enjoy it? What did they like/dislike about it? How does that inform what they expect from their child’s camp today? 

In the post-camp survey, ask how they think their child’s camp experience compared with their own. Looking at the pre- and post-camp answers side by side will give you an interesting picture of a family’s expectations, the reason for those expectations, and how your camp did or did not meet those expectations.  

Clear rating systems with standardized answers 

Some open-ended questions are okay, but most of your feedback should be gathered through short questions with a standardized answer or rating system. This makes it easier to quantify results rather than struggle to compare qualitative answers. 

One way to do this is to establish standardized answers in the beginning of your feedback survey. Families could rank statements from 1 (strongly disagree) to 5 (strongly agree). 

You could also write survey questions in a multiple-choice format with more detail than the number system. Here’s an example: 

How does your family feel about the quality of recreational activities provided at camp? 

  1. Great! I can tell my child enjoyed activities at camp. 
  2. Good. My child seems to have had fun during camp activities. 
  3. Fine. My child had no complaints about activities at camp. 
  4. Not good. My child has actively complained about camp activities. 
  5. Other: _____________________

These types of questions are definitely more time-consuming to write, but also give parents or guardians more context and the option to write their own answers. 

Incentivize completed survey results

Completed feedback surveys are very valuable to your business, and you should treat them as such. Consider rewarding families who finish their surveys with gift cards or having a raffle for which you must give feedback to enter. 

If budget is a problem, it’s always an option to make a few short survey questions part of both intake forms and checkout forms. This way, it’s built into the required forms. 

Follow up on very negative and very positive responses 

Negative feedback results (as painful as they may be) are an important part of your camp’s growth. Reach out to families who rated your camp poorly and ask if they would like to elaborate. The more detail you can get, the more effectively you can make impactful changes to your camp structure. 

Similarly, positive results are important for knowing what your camp is doing right. Follow up with families who left glowing feedback to gain more insight into what’s going well. You could also ask permission to quote their responses in a case study or testimonial section of your website. 


Storytelling Tips for the Ultimate Campfire Story

For sleepaway camps, campfires are a quintessential part of the camper experience. Some of the most magical moments for campers of all ages happen under the stars around the campfire. There are plenty of activities that are crowd-pleasers: s’mores, sing-alongs, and stories. But nothing can compete with the thrills that come with a good campfire story.

Looking to tell a tale that’s spine-tingling but won’t result in comforting night terrors all night? Check out these tips to nail your next campfire tale.

Know your audience

Whether you’re writing your own tale or sourcing from the internet, keep your campers in mind before starting the spooks. If possible, run the story past some parents or caretakers you know and get their feedback on what age they think it would be appropriate for. There’s a delicate balance between a good twist and going just too far for those over-active imaginations.

Practice Your Telling

The most entrancing stories come when the teller knows the story like the back of their hand. While you don’t have to get each word exactly as written, practicing and memorizing the bones of the story will free your mind up to play with the delivery. And when you can look around in the faces of your audience as you tell your tale, they’ll be absolutely glued to your words.

Play with Delivery

Think of the best campfire stories you’ve heard. They build emotion, anticipation, and make the listener hang on to every word. Two big elements that really grab attention and pay off are volume and tempo. You might drag out every word of “but there…was no one…there” or speed up “and they ran faster and faster and faster –” to up the ante. And don’t forget the power of silence – “and then there was a great CRASH––…” will surely get a gasp from your crew. 

Consider Sound Effects

A simple tambourine or drum can really take a tale to the next level. Punctuating a tense moment with a badum-badum of a heart beat or shaking the bells of a tambourine while leading up to an exciting part takes a story from good to great. You can also incorporate your campers – think about areas that you could build up with stomping feet, slapping thighs, snapping, and vocalizations. 

Include a Cooldown 

Even if your story wasn’t outright scary but did get heart rates running, it’s a smart idea to help everyone shake it off before walking through the dark back to their bunks. Gather back around to sing a couple more songs, discuss the fun activities coming up the next day, and keep spirits high. 

Great stories are only one piece of running a great camp experience. We want you to be able to focus on creating these moments that campers will remember, which is why we make running a camp quicker and easier than ever. Request a demo to find out how we can help build the best platform for your camp. 


How to Write an Effective Camp Job Posting

Finding the right camp staff members is time-consuming and stressful. An effective job posting will help you narrow down your applicant pool before ever scheduling an interview, saving you time and money. 

This article is a roadmap to writing the ideal job posting for your camp’s open positions. Follow these guidelines to streamline your recruiting process and ensure a high-quality applicant pool. 

Lead with a description of the person you want for the job

Imagine the ideal hire. What are their basic personality traits? What do they want out of this position? How do you want them to show up for work every day? 

Write a short description of this person so applicants have an idea of how they match up with your expectations. 

List specific responsibilities 

The more generic your listing, the harder it will be for prospective staff to self-assess their skills and qualifications. Get really specific when writing about your camp’s job opening. 

For example, instead of writing this: 

“Lead small groups of campers in fun activities.”

Try this instead: 

“Lead groups of 5-7 campers ages 7-11 in activities such as outdoor games, craft projects, and storytimes.”

This gives potential applicants a much better idea of what their everyday responsibilities will be like. It may take a while to write out, but remember: the more time you put into the job posting, the less time you waste down the line interviewing unqualified applicants. 

Emphasize required qualifications 

If your camp is very strict about things like certifications or activity levels, your job postings should emphasize that. For example, say you require every camp counselor to be certified in child CPR. 

Consider adding this to the very top of your posting or putting it in a bold font. Your “deal breakers” should be easy to spot. 

Include a bit about your camp’s culture 

At the bottom of the job posting, include a short blurb about your camp. Explain its history, traditions, and what you envision for its future. 

You want your applicants to admire your camp’s history and be a part of its future, so they should know what your plans are and how you want to accomplish them. 

Include a sentence or two about how the job you’re posting will fit into these plans. For example, if you’re posting an open counselor position, explain how you see counselors contributing to camp growth. 

Be transparent about the hiring process

People applying for jobs gain trust in a company when they are open about the hiring process and what to expect after submitting an application. Consider adding a section about the “next steps” after applying. 

Think about answering these questions: 

  • When can applicants expect to hear back after submitting?
  • How many interviews will there be?
  • Is the first interview a phone interview?
  • Are any technical skill tests required?

The bottom line: Be detailed and consistent

Add as much detail as you can to the job posting so applicants aren’t left guessing. You may receive fewer applications, but this is a good thing. It means the applicant pool has narrowed itself down for you. 

When you finally get to the interviewing process, be consistent with your posting. Know what skills and requirements you put in the job description and be ready to discuss each. If you added details on the interview/hiring next steps, follow them. 

Remember, you’re interviewing your camp candidates as much as they are interviewing you. Build a foundation of trust starting with your posting and following through with the hiring and training processes. 

With CampSite’s Staff Management Module, not only can you track applications for your different job postings but you can also manage leads, record interview responses and overall, simplify your hiring processes!

To hear more about CampSite’s core Camper module features and Staff Management Module,  request your free personalized demo today!


4 Ways to Create Camp Culture in Staff Training 

Your camp relies completely on the staff members dedicated to it. Make sure their training builds an environment campers and staff alike will be proud to be part of.  With that, creating and maintaining camp culture is key.

Why camp culture is important

Building camp culture is like building your brand. It creates the feelings that will stick with campers and their parents. 

Those feelings keep your camp alive in their memories. This can lead to them sharing your camp with others, making camp culture an essential part of your word-of-mouth marketing. 

Additionally, having a cohesive and positive culture keeps campers engaged and enthusiastic at camp. 

Establishing camp culture during staff training

Here are four simple ways to create camp culture while training your staff. To make these even more effective, make sure your training takes place on its own designated days instead of trying to rush it right before camp starts. 

1. Brainstorm shared values 

Team values are stronger when they’re decided on together. Staff will feel invested in the culture since they had a hand in creating it. 

Spend some time at the beginning of your training coming up with camp values in small groups. Use a whiteboard to write them all down. The board may get crowded, but that’s part of the fun! 

Once the board is full, go through the words one by one and have staff vote on their top three. The three values with the most votes will be the core of your camp culture. 

If your camp already has established values, use this time to review them as a group. How were they chosen? What do they mean? 

In small groups, camp staff can discuss what the values mean to them and how they want to instill this culture in the campers. 

2. Thoroughly review the camp schedule together

Knowledge builds confidence, and this includes knowledge of when and where everything at camp is supposed to happen. After discussing camp culture, review everything on the schedule and how it fits into those cultural values. 

For example, let’s say one of your camp’s major values is community. On your schedule you have a sports competition planned. How does this activity instill a culture of community? How can you go the extra mile to emphasize that value? 

Repeat this process for everything on your schedule. You can even discuss meals and break times to see if staff have ideas for connecting “downtime” to camp culture. 

3. Conduct team-building activities 

Team-building activities may seem basic, but there’s a reason so many companies do them again and again. They’re effective! 

Ice breakers, group puzzles, team games, and improv acting exercises are all examples of activities used by professional management groups to bring teams together and create a cohesive culture. 

4. Host recreational events after training

After a long day of training, create some camaraderie by doing something fun with staff. Take them out to dinner, go to a local music show, or do a big group activity like laser tag.

Having fun together kickstarts a positive and inclusive culture for staff that will be a great example for your campers.


Top 7 Qualities to Look For When Hiring Camp Counselors (with Example Interview Questions)

Feeling pressure to pick the right camp counselors? Good – you probably should. 

It’s extremely important that the children/teens at your camp are around trustworthy counselors whom they respect. It’s also essential that parents feel safe leaving their kids with the counselors you choose. 

So, how do you narrow it down and find the counselors of your dreams? Start by checking off all the qualities below. 

Your counselors must have…

#1: Patience 

Working with kids can be exhausting. The right counselor candidate will love kids and have the patience to prove it. 

To determine if your candidate has the required patience, ask them questions like: 

  • Tell me about a time someone really tested your patience. How did you respond? 
  • How would you handle it if a camper was not being uncooperative? 
  • People say patience is a virtue. What does that statement mean to you? 

#2: Respect 

A camp counselor must be respectful not only to you and other staff members but also to the campers they work with. It’s easier for kids to show respect if they’re respected first, and a good counselor will know this. 

Ask these questions to learn about a counselor candidate’s views on respect: 

  • How do you show respect to people younger than you? Give an example. 
  • What would you do if a camper was being disrespectful toward you or another counselor? 
  • How will you earn the respect of campers? Of fellow counselors? 

#3: Leadership

Being a camp counselor requires leading small groups and knowing how to take charge. Determine a potential counselor’s leadership skills with these questions: 

  • Tell me about your favorite leader. What did they do to show their leadership? 
  • When you’re in charge of a group, how do you handle internal conflict? 
  • If a camper or another counselor did something wrong, how would you give them feedback? 

#4: Positivity 

Positive counselors will create a positive atmosphere for campers. This atmosphere will be happier, more collaborative, and easier to manage. 

Ask candidates these questions to gauge their level of positivity: 

  • Tell me about a time you turned something negative into something positive. How did you start thinking about it differently?
  • Pretend there’s a day at camp where everything seems to be going wrong. How do you make the campers feel better about it? 
  • Do you see yourself as optimistic? Why or why not? 

#5: Adaptability 

No matter how much you plan, something surprising will always happen at camp. Counselors should be flexible and able to adapt to whatever circumstances (or campers) throw at them. 

Use these interview questions to determine adaptability in a potential counselor: 

  • Give me an example of a time when something unexpected came up at school or work. How did you adapt? 
  • How do you feel about learning new things? 
  • If a camper was having trouble adapting to a big change, how would you help them? 

#6: High energy 

Camp can involve long days and not much social downtime. Your counselors will need to have the energy to keep up with the campers and all the activities you have planned. 

Here are some questions you can ask about energy levels: 

  • How do you balance your work and/or school life with extracurricular and social activities? 
  • What do you do when you feel like you’re running out of energy? 
  • Describe your ideal daily routine. How would you fit in everything you want to do? 

#7: Open-mindedness

Last but not least, all of your counselors should be open-minded. Your campers will come from various backgrounds and have widely varying personalities, as will the other counselors. Getting along with and accepting others is a must. 

To gauge open-mindedness, include these questions in your interview: 

  • Give me an example of a time when you changed your mind. What made you think differently? How did you react?
  • Why is it important to you to work with people that have backgrounds different from your own? 
  • If a camper was going through something that you didn’t personally understand, how would you react? 


3 Easy Ways to Say “Thank You” to Camp Staff and Alumni 

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.