Camper Parent Communication during day camp or summer camp can sometimes be a double edged sword for both camps and campers. On one hand, parents want to know what is going on with their children and reassured that they are okay. After all, it’s their children and they are paying a lot of money for this experience, so it makes sense they want to feel tuned in and connected. On the other hand, in the case of overnight camp specifically, frequent contact between campers and parents can exacerbate homesickness and interfere with the independence and character building campers are mastering at camp. So what is the solution? Below are 4 tips and conversation starters to help facilitate the camper-parent communication at your camp.
1. Camper Parent Communication: Level with Parents.
Explain to parents how important the growth of their children is at camp and that frequent contact can throw a wrench in that process. Follow that up with the ways in which you make keeping tabs on their kids easy and fun! Below are a few ideas how to do this. At the end of camp, consider a evaluation form that will allow parents to express themselves and make them feel heard. Here’s a great “how-to” on doing this.
2. Camps and Parents speak instead!
Whether this means you have a dedicated email checked by your staff daily to fill them in or every counselor makes a weekly phone call to their campers parents to keep them informed, share a fun story about their kid, etc. This is a great way to make parents feel as though you are making them a priority. Consider using social media to keep parents in the loop!
Understanding what parents really want to know is helpful in strategizing how best to keep them in the loop. This article from ACA’s Camping Magazine is a great start to understanding what parents want to know.
3. Encourage letter writing between parents and campers.
This can actually help campers feel more independent and ‘on their own’ as opposed to a phone call. Kids get to express themselves in a more passive way but parents still get updates and maintain a connection with their kids.
4. Use social media and the internet!
This can be a daily blog post with a quick update on the activities from the day, a funny story and some pictures. Or maybe you post a few tweets or Facebook status’ about what’s going on. Just sharing things like the dinner menu on Instagram can make parents feel connected to the experience their kids are having. These methods are great for day camps as well as overnight. Mom and Dad can check Twitter or Facebook from work while their child is having fun at day camp and start a conversation when they pick their child up! I wrote a great camp q&a post, which you can find here.
Use your blog posts or tweets as marketing material next year! It’s a great way to preserve your camp activities and memories but also an organic and honest way to share with potential campers and their families what they can expect at your camp. Here’s 3 more camp marketing tips to help you out!
In the market for camp registration software? Check out this camp software comparison chart to get started. Don’t forget to request demos of each software that piques your interest so you can see what you get!