6 Types of Camp Management You Need to Master

To lead, to head up, to rule over—these are just a few of the more colorful ways of saying “to manage”.

But they all mean the same thing—handling the administration of an undertaking.

In your world, that undertaking is running a camp.

But thinking about camp management as one giant skill does a disservice to your ability to improve at it.

It’s like thinking of writing as the mere act of committing words to the paper, rather than as a collection of many skills, from research to prose to storytelling.

So, we’ve broken camp management down into six smaller areas that you can work on systematically.

Let’s see what they are and how to do them more effectively.

Staff and Volunteer Management

Staff and volunteer management consists of training, monitoring, coaching, and empowering your team members in an effort to help them work as productively as possible.

It’s about providing them with the personalized advice, standard protocols, and tools, especially software tools, they need to succeed.

To add to that, it’s also about keeping them happy. Happiness leads to productivity. You don’t want them burning out on the job due to overwhelm or boredom.

Keeping your staff happy and motivated is one of the best reasons to invest in camp management software.

Camp management software automates a lot of the tedious and repetitive work that weighs down your staff, thus freeing them up to rise and perform more fulfilling functions—like helping a child overcome a fear of heights, or dreaming up a new social media marketing strategy.

Another big aspect of volunteer and staff management is task management. You need to clearly communicate what needs to get done. Otherwise, work falls through the cracks.

To complete some of these tasks, your team members will need to access sensitive data kept in your systems. But that can be a risk.

The more eyes on financial data, the higher the risk of it being stolen.

Fortunately, camp management tools allow you to control user access to certain types of information.

That way, you can make sure that sensitive data is accessible only on a need-to-know basis.

Staff and volunteer management is probably the most difficult and crucial form of camp management.

Nothing hurts a camp’s reputation and a camper’s experience like a bunch of inefficient, unhappy, and confused people running it.

That said, devote serious time to mastering this art of people management.

Registration Management

Registration management consists of overseeing and facilitating the camp registration process.

To succeed at registration management, you must ensure smooth and convenient registration for your parents and campers.

They should be able to do it from their mobile devices, laptops, or tablets. They should be able to sign up entire groups and pay the registration fee online.

And they should never feel confused or annoyed at how long it’s taking.

If your registration process is frustrating, you risk annoying parents and driving them to other camps.

To streamline camp registration and automate registration management, consider using a camp registration software, like Regpack.

Source: Regpack 

You can use Regpack to create custom online camp registration forms that you can embed into your website. It’s easy to customize them with the drag-and-drop editor.

Source: Regpack 

Regpack also allows for individual and group registration. A parent can register multiple children from their own family, or even multiple children from several families, in one sweep.

And Regpack’s conditional logic forms guide parents through the process, ensuring that the information within is always complete, correct, and submitted on time.

After the form is set up and live on your site, you’ll start automatically collecting all the info you need from your customers to successfully run your camp.

And you won’t have to do a thing.

This allows you to focus your energy on helping the families that call in and have questions about your camp or about registration.

Payment Management

Payment management refers to all that goes into collecting, tracking, and reporting on family payments to your camp.

Examples of tasks involved include sending out a late payment email, collecting payment information from a new customer, or working with a family to set up a custom payment plan.

Camps with a strong payment management process get paid the right amount on time, every time. And they leave their customers feeling happy about the payment experience.

We touched on registration management software in the last section, and want to note here that these tools usually offer payment management features as well.

For instance, Regpack allows you to integrate payment directly into your registration process via online payment forms.

Source: Regpack 

That way, at the end of registration, parents can select how they want to pay, then submit the required payment details and process the transaction.

Regpack also enables you to offer payment in various forms, from credit and debit cards to ACH bank transfers or even PayPal.

Plus, you can offer personalized payment plans where parents pay for the camp gradually at set intervals using recurring billing, according to their desired schedule.

For example, this camp offers three payment plans at checkout:

Source: Regpack 

Offering this type of payment flexibility is the best way to ensure you receive the money you’ve earned in a timely manner.

When the payment process is convenient, families are more likely to go through with it when they’re supposed to.

Camp management tools also help automate communication around payments, which can save you a lot of time.

For example, here’s an automated payment invoice template from Regpack’s system.

Source: Regpack

Whenever a parent submits a payment, they’ll receive this, albeit the words that are written in magenta here will be replaced with their specific information.

When you take payment management seriously, you’ll improve cash flow and reduce the number of headaches you receive from hunting down late payments.

Account Management

In essence, account management is the ongoing process of making sure that your families are delighted to keep their children enrolled in your camp.

It’s relationship-building for the purpose of keeping them as paying customers.

It goes without saying that this involves a lot of email communication, before, during, and after the camp session. This high workload is one of the biggest challenges for many camps.

You need to do things like tell parents what they need to do before camp starts, update them on their child’s progress, and promote next year’s programs.

And you need to provide them with content you think they’ll enjoy, from a picture of their kid riding a horse to a report on their child’s development in math.

This consistent and personalized communication builds trust, which is the lifeblood of your relationship, and strong relationships keep your families coming back year after year.

When you have to keep in touch with a large number of parents, email communication can quickly get out of hand, so a lot of camp managers have begun using automated emails for some of the messages they send out often.

These are templated emails that go out when a specific event occurs, whether that’s a late payment or a successfully submitted registration.

When it’s sent, the template is auto-filled with the recipient’s personal details.

Source: Regpack

To illustrate, you might set up an automated reminder email that automatically goes out to parents five days before the camp session starts.

This email might include information about what parents should do to prepare their child for the session, the things they need to buy, forms they need to fill out, etc.

With all this talk about email, it’s easy to forget that real conversations are especially effective for building relationships with families.

So, try to talk with parents every once in a while. Call occasionally. Put a face to the camp at events or when parents drop off or pick up their kids.

Attendance Management

Attendance management is essentially tracking and reporting on the attendance of your campers.

It’s making sure that everyone is where they’re supposed to be, whether that’s on the bus leaving the field trip or in the cabin on that first night of camp.

Some camp managers still use paper and pencil for this, but that’s prone to human error and quite inefficient. Plus, markings on a piece of paper aren’t exactly amenable to analysis.

You can’t easily run calculations to glean insights into attendance patterns. But you can do this with camp attendance tracking software.

Source: Regpack

With the right platform, counselors and staff can easily track where the campers are at any given time, by pulling out their smartphone and opening the dedicated tracking app.

They can sign kids in and out with a click of a button on their touchscreen. This is much faster than paper and pen.

Plus, all the attendance data is saved into a database that allows for custom reporting, allowing you to answer questions like, which days of the year do we have our lowest attendance rate?

Or, are there any campers regularly missing camp?

An answer to a question like this one will help you alert parents and make sure that the child isn’t skipping without their knowledge.

Performance Management

Performance management is all about evaluating your camp’s performance and uncovering ways to improve it.

It usually involves a hefty dose of reporting and statistics.

These allow you to objectively take a look under the hood of your camp to find weaknesses to fix, as well as strengths to praise and double down on.

For this reason, it helps to have a camp management software with reporting features.

This way you can generate reports with the click of a button, and automatically share them with the people who need the intel to make data-driven decisions about how to improve the camp.

For example, you might run a registration report to see if their online registration form abandonment rate is higher or lower than last year.

Then you could use your judgment based on experience, or better yet, a series of other reports, to identify the cause of this rise or dip.

Often, successful performance management relies on your ability to ask the right questions about your camp and investigate them.

Here are just a few examples:

Is enrollment down or up from last year? Why might that be?
Did our email marketing campaign contribute to this increase in enrollment?
Why was our average rating from campers lower than last year?
Is our counselor training missing anything important?

The more you practice asking questions and searching for the answers with reports, the better you’ll become at performance management.

And as a result, the better your camp will perform.


Running a camp involves so much work. You have to track attendance, collect payments, register campers, and constantly look for ways to improve the efficiency of these processes.

Mastering all aspects of camp management might seem like a lot, and that’s because, realistically, it is.

Therefore, we recommend focusing on one type of camp management at a time.

Spend one month getting better at staff and volunteer management. Then, the next month, prioritize registration management. And so on.

After six months, you’ll have improved tremendously as a camp leader, and you’ll have done so without burning out.

For more tips, check out our article on camp management best practices.

About The Author
Asaf Darash

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