We had a great chat this week with Zach Landres-Schnur, Director of Camp Kee Tov. Kee Tov, a summer day camp in the Berkeley, CA area, has been a staple of the Jewish camp community for almost 50 years. After years of using a basic excel document to manage their campers and simple, emailed paper forms for registration, they switched to Regpack’s camp management software and have never looked back!
From hassle-free reporting to a simple and user-friendly interface for parents and campers, Regpack has improved the registration experience for both Kee Tov staff and their families. Below, we talk to Zach about what makes his camp special and unique and how using Regpack’s camp management system has helped Kee Tov complete their mission to give parents and campers, from start to finish, an amazing experience.
Read our interview with Zach below.
Tell me about Camp Key Tov.
Kee Tov has been around for years. It’s been a staple of both the Berkeley and East Bay community and also the Jewish community for nearly 45 years. It’s a day camp running from 9-3pm each day. Campers range from Kindergarten all the way to 9th grade. Campers can start working at Kee Tov as soon as they enter 10th grade, so our staff ranges from 14-15 year old high school sophomores all the way to counselors in their late 20’s.
As far as activities go, we have a wide variety across the board. It’s basic camp stuff, lots of field games, singing, dancing, arts and crafts, drama. But really what sets Kee Tov apart from any other camp out there is the community feel and what the staff brings to the table. Most of our staff were campers here and grew up at Kee Tov, in this community with these rich traditions and have grown up to be almost adult campers in a way. They have as much energy and enthusiasm and optimism as our campers do and they bring so much life to camp. They can make a simple activity with red balls and pipe cleaners into the most magical activity there is possible.
What system were you using for camp registration before Regpack?
The system we were using was just a totally dated system. Our basic camp registration software was online, a simple sign-up but then as far as data entry and database creation went, it was all kept basically by hand. We were using an excel document essentially as a running log of all of our registration and the system really could only do the bare bones. Once someone signed up we still had to email them all the basic documents and forms to fill out for the campers. So again it was fine, it was sufficient but just totally dated. Asaf, the CEO of Regpack, approached us about his company and we were definitely open to getting a new system since ours was so out of date. He told us about Regpack and it sounded really cool and we pretty much took a leap of faith and it has worked out really nicely so far.
Was it complicated to transfer your previous paper forms into the Regpack system?
It was pretty straightforward, our forms were pretty basic, getting parent signatures, filling out emergency contact information, etc. Regpack took all of our hard copy forms, put it online and made it look pretty identical to our hard copy. They made it super user friendly and easy to navigate, just a complete and positive experience for our customers.
Have you enjoyed using the email management function of Regpack’s software?
We use the email management system pretty frequently to send out mass emails to the over 900 families in the Kee Tov community, so the email function helps us get the information out that we need to communicate. We use the filtering system on the back end of the registration site to get specific emails out, for example, if someone hasn’t filled out one of their key forms, we only email those people who haven’t filled them out or if there is a group of people who still haven’t closed their balance we can email them directly. We can accomplish this simply by more or less clicking a few buttons, which is super nice rather than having to go through a spreadsheet. We can just do a bunch of different filters, sort and send, which is so helpful.
Have parents commented on the new system?
We have a post camp survey asking about the new camp registration software and more or less we get only positive feedback about it. I think people really appreciate that it’s all online, it’s really user friendly and that it’s pretty easy to navigate. We work with all kinds of parents, so we have people who are super techy and could probably write the code for our whole website and we have others who still have no idea how to get to google. And it sounds like from the most computer savvy person to the least, parents are still able to navigate the system with ease.
How do you enjoy the reporting function of Regpack’s camp management software? Has that helped in your day to day tasks?
It definitely helps us out. Really the biggest part of it is when we put together our reports on the campers for our staff. The reporting function makes putting together our lists and documents super helpful. The simplicity of our new camp management sofware is what has been a big change. We can manufacture things a whole lot quicker than we could beforehand, which is a huge time saver. The efficiency of the system is so much quicker than going through multiple spreadsheets and filters.
Why would you recommend Regpack to other camps?
For two reasons. One being, the campers and especially their parents, are essentially customers. I don’t think anyone in the camping world likes to necessarily think of it like that but more or less it’s a customer service industry and we want these customers having the best possible experience from the get go, from the minute they express interest, which is pretty much the sign up point, to the minute they finish camp. In order to have that great camp experience, you want a flawless system. Regpack is the first step in that experience since it is just so user friendly and clean, works perfectly and it looks good. To have something as simple as the aesthetics of it and creating a registration that is simple and user friendly, that’s huge.
Secondly, the back end of the camp management software makes the staffing side of it so simple since you can produce any sort of report you need within minutes. The system allows us to get in contact easily with parents and campers either before the summer or while the summer is going on. The system is so easy to use and you have a database right at the click of the finger, that’s what makes Regpack worth it. So you have the great customer experience that makes it so much smoother for everyone. And ideally it helps get more kids in camp.
Any final thoughts?
We run Kee Tov like a small business and I want to see everything through from the minute that campers and parents express interest to the minute that camper completes a summer, having had an amazing time. At no point do I want there to be a flaw, and our registration system is no exception. That’s why we went with Regpack because it looked so smooth, it’s clean and it’s easy to use. We want parents thinking, “Oh wow, Kee Tov has it together”. They have a great registration system, obviously the camp is great, but from the minute that they are interested we want everything running smoothly. Regpack is more or less that foot in the door, it’s the first thing parents see when they’re getting into camp so it better be good.
We want to thank Zach for speaking with us! It was so amazing to learn all the great things Camp Kee Tov is doing with campers every summer. Camp is always a special place and every camp has its secret to fostering community and creating a space that campers flock back to year after year. Kee Tov’s secret seems to lie somewhere in the fact that their staff is made up of former campers, who can’t resist coming back for more each year! Learn more about Camp Kee Tov on their website or follow them on Twitter to find out more of the great things they are doing each summer.