Survey and Evaluate

You should make it a priority to survey and evaluate every aspect of your operation before, during, and after every camp. You won’t really know how things are going without getting detailed feedback from everyone involved. This process is ongoing with the majority of compiling the information taking place after the program ends. Here are some guidelines on how the ongoing evaluation process can work:


  • Pull your evaluation from the previous year and review notes as soon as you start the planning process.
  • Incorporate this process into your camp staff meetings and trainings to review all the things that came up and how you can improve.
  • Make a plan to avoid your shortfalls from last year and implement improvements.

During Camp

  • Keep a log of notes on all the incidents that occur or things that come up throughout camp. Include all the positives on what is going well and any negatives on what is not working.
  • Constantly get feedback from your staff both individually and as a group.
  • Talk to parents and campers when you can to gather more valuable feedback on their experiences or suggestions.

After Camp

  • Survey parents on all aspects of camp to include feedback on activities, schedules, facilities, etc.
  • Organize your notes from camp to add to your post-evaluation.
  • Survey your staff on their feedback and experience.
  • Hold a post-camp meeting with all your staff and volunteers to go through survey results as a group and gain additional feedback.
  • Compile your notes, staff feedback, and parent surveys into an evaluation report. Make sure to note all the things that came up, what went wrong or didn’t work, what went right and worked well, and any opportunities to improve.

Camp Survey’s

Surveying parents and staff are an essential part of the evaluation process to ensure you get honest, unbiased feedback. Many times you will see feedback on issues that you had no idea was an issue until it comes out on a survey. The same goes for positive feedback that you may not have realized was making such a great impact. Make sure to be as thorough as possible. Since you will only get one chance to get their feedback, make sure the information you gather is useful to you to help your program. There are many online survey tools you can use to help you do survey’s.

Here are some examples on questions you can ask in a survey:

Parent Survey

Keep these anonymous so you get the most truthful answers. Start by asking some background information such as age group, what week of camp they attended, etc. Different groups of participants will have different types of answers so it’s good to be able to filter these. Here are some suggestions on survey information:

  • Use both multiple choice and open ended questions
  • Ask questions on where they saw your camp advertised to help with marketing.
  • Ask if they would recommend the program to a friend and if not, why?
  • Ask if they would be returning next year and if not, why?
  • Ask about their favorite activities and trips.
  • Ask which activities or trips they didn’t like.
  • Ask questions on how the camp schedule worked.
  • Ask questions on communication/organization of the program.
  • Ask questions on their experience with staff.
  • Ask questions on your facilities.
  • Set up a 1-5 ranking system and let them rank all aspects of camp such as activities, staff, facilities, trips, etc.
  • Get their overall experience and suggestions for improvement.

You can expect to get about 10-20% of parents respond to your surveys. If you have never done survey’s before it will be more to start. Once you do them regularly it will tail off slightly.

Staff Survey’s

Make these mandatory for all staff to complete during their last week of camp. You should know who filled out each survey but when you release the results in your reports you can compile it anonymously to allow for open discussion without anyone feeling embarrassed. However, you can always encourage them to share their responses with the group if they want to. Let staff know how the process will work so you get honest answers.

  • Ask similar questions as above on feedback on activities, trips, the schedule, equipment, what worked, what didn’t work, etc.
  • Ask feedback about their training and how it can be improved.
  • Find out what you can provide them before and during camp to make them better prepared and make their job easier.
  • Ask if they would return next year and if not, why?
  • Ask about their experience working with other staff and how the team functioned throughout the program.
  • Ask about the communication from you and other staff.

Evaluation Reports

When you have your notes organized and have compiled your parent and staff survey’s it is time to put it all together in a single report. Your report should have four main components below. You can always add to this to be even more thorough and customize it to fit your program.

  • Program Outline: The program outline is just an overview of your camp. It can include how many participants you had, camp dates, where you promoted or advertised, when you took registration and how it went, how many trips you went on, etc.
  • Survey Results: These are just the raw unedited results to your parent and staff surveys compiled as a group. You don’t need to have every individual survey here just the compiled answers to all your questions.
  • Incidents or Glitches: This is a list of everything that came up during camp or things that may not have worked as well as you planned. You pull these from your notes and all the feedback you received.
  • Opportunities to Improve: This is where you list solutions and improvements on how you can move the program forward as well as avoid shortfalls from the past. From this, develop a plan on how to implement these improvements.

Fine tuning and staying on top of this process is essential to identifying issues within your operation and finding opportunities to improve. Parents and staff will appreciate being heard and will notice when you take action on their feedback. Ignoring the survey and evaluation process will always put you behind and not allow you to move forward or advance your program to meet the needs of your staff and participants. Put the needed effort into this process and take it seriously to make sure your program is operating at the highest level.


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