8 Tips to Navigate the Camp Off Season

Whether you run camps all year round or just over the summer, there are always going to be peaks and valleys to your program schedule. When you are in one of those valleys or the off season, there are several things you can do to get caught up on things or get ahead for your next program.

1. Take time off. Getting away will allow you to rejuvenate and get refreshed. When you come back you will be more motivated to get back to work and continue to improve your programs.

2. Plan. Off-season time is also planning time and you should have a plan in place for everything. Finalize your next program dates, and review all aspects of your operation to ensure you are ready to go when the next program comes along.

3. Evaluate your program and processes for opportunities to improve. You should be putting together a post-program evaluation for every program, which includes staff and parent feedback. This is a great way to find out what you need to change or update to improve for your next camp.

4. Research new products and services that you can introduce to your program. Browse catalogs and buyers guides, attend expos, or reach out to others you know in the industry to always stay on top of the latest offerings and see if anything can improve your program.

5. Network with other professionals in the industry to get new ideas and stay on top of industry trends. Join an industry membership organization, online group, or reach out to others in your area. Having a great group of experienced like-minded professionals is not only beneficial to your program and organization but is also what helps advance the profession as a whole.

6. Spend the time, effort, and necessary funds in your facilities to take care of any deep cleaning and maintenance needs. This is one thing that gets overlooked frequently, especially during camp because it can be costly and time consuming. However, neglecting issues with your facility can snowball into much bigger issues or even a safety hazard quickly if the facility is not maintained properly. Get ahead of this by addressing any facility issues as soon as possible.

7. Market and promote your camp. You won’t think about this much during camp, but as soon as your current program is about to end, start to think about getting the dates to the next camp out to all current and past participants. From there, continue to market and promote as registration dates are coming up and you start your next program.

8. Put time aside for yourself and staff for training and education. You and your staff are your organization’s most valuable assets so it is important to continue to invest in resources that will make you and your staff better. There are always new things to learn or new ways of doing things so take the necessary time to make yourself and your staff the best they can be when the opportunity arises.

Most of the above is not possible during peak times as you are then focused on the successful operation of your program. When your program concludes, take the time and effort needed to take full advantage of your off season and it will pay dividends when your programs start up again.

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