The answer to “what do parents need to know before camp starts” has two answers. One is the long practical list of things they need to know to properly prepare their kids for camp, that is specific for your camp. And the second answer, is the more existential things that parents need to know about camp. The benefits for their children, etc. Creating a comprehensive and unique Parent’s Guide to Camp is a great way to communicate to parents before summer begins.
Have no fear, this post will help guide you to making sure you communicate with parents what they need to know about YOUR camp effectively, before camp starts. Including: best email practices, how to market your mission and much more!
Practical Things Every Parents Needs To Know Before Camp Starts
Whether you’re an overnight camp or a day camp, you need to communicate effectively to parents. This includes registration deadlines, payment balances and due dates. It also includes items needed for camp attendance and dates and times of important events. Important events include drop off in the morning, pick up time, etc. Between a solid registration software and a great Parent’s Guide to Camp, you should cover all of your bases here.
A great registration software will allow you to effectively communicate with parents. From the initial onboarding through to the end of camp, and beyond! Registration software that allows you to set up personalized emails and triggers, will ensure you stay on top of the process with parents, without much effort. This means automated emails when a parent completes an action, like starting the registration process. It also includes completing forms, payment reminders, and payment confirmations.
Your registration software can double as an email management platform as well. Anytime you have new information to communicate to parents (which you can filter by session, if needed), you can use your system to send these out. This includes an electronic version of your parent’s guide to camp. Also reminders as camp session start date gets closer, information on certain sections of your guide like Drop off procedures and reminders, packing list, and more.
Going beyond camp, your software allows you to, especially in your low season, reconnect with and market to parents to inform them of upcoming programs and sessions you have to offer. When it comes to “what parents need to know before camp starts”, you have them covered!
Parent’s Guide to Camp
Depending on the type of camp this might look a little different, but general sections include:
- Pick-Up / Drop-Off
- Time, Date, Locations, Procedures
- Packing List – We wrote a great guest blog on what to pack, here.
- Camp Rules
- Camp Goals
- Safety Procedures and Health Information – Camp nurse, medication dispensing, food issues.
- Camp Policies – emergencies, refund policies, etc.
- Contact Information and Communication
- Who to contact for different situations – emergencies, camp director, counselors, etc.
- Social Media – if you post photos on one or more platforms, what are they and how can parents connect. (Here’s a handy Camp Social Media Q&A)
- How can parents communicate with their children, especially at an overnight camp. (We have more info on this here, too!)
What Every Parents Needs To Know About CAMP Before Camp Starts
Some parents are on the fence about whether or not to send their kids to camp. Or don’t know what camp to choose and just want to find something fast. Whatever the reason is, parents are researching choices for their kids when summer is out and their kids need to be cared for.
Part of your marketing should always be focused on the unique experience your camp provides. Really effective marketing will include speaking to the benefits of camp for children and how your camp achieves this. While there are many benefits for camp attendance, zeroing in on the big reasons can really help focus your marketing. It also educates parents on the benefits of camp for their children.
Those reasons include:
Kids need to learn how to be away from home.
Whether it’s the parent or the child, or both, having some second thoughts about camp attendance, everyone should be reminded that the skills associated with being away from home and coping with feelings of homesickness are important to learn. Especially at first, it’s hard for parents and kids to be away from each other, but the lessons learned are priceless.
Kids need responsibility.
This applies mainly to overnight camps since there are more chores/jobs/responsibilities campers have in overnight settings. But even at day camp, the expectations staff has for campers when it comes to cleaning up, teamwork, working together, listening to instructions, etc really demand kids learn responsibility and taking ownership over their experience.
Camp can improve self esteem and social skills!
This doesn’t mean that kids who don’t attend camp have low self esteem and poor social skills, but camp is a unique environment and experience for children and young adults to grow and learn lessons that are unique to the camp experience.
Visiting camps are a great idea before enrolling.
One thing parents need to know before enrolling their children in camp is visiting a camp is a great way to decide if that camp will be a good first for the child. Just like going on a college tour before your child starts applying, looking at camps before enrolling is a great way to get an idea of what the experience will be like, and if it will work for your family.
It can take time and effort to find the right camp.
In addition to touring camps before enrolling, parents should know that it takes time and research to find the right camp, and that’s normal! Every camp offers something a little different, and it takes time during the research process to get your footing and prioritizing the camp features that are most important. The great thing about the camp world is, usually camps are SO happy to share with parents what they are all about, and how much they enjoy doing what they do.
You have to prepare your kids to camp BEFORE camp starts.
This isn’t just about shopping together for supplies and clothes for the summer. It’s also about talking to your kids before camp starts about feelings or obstacles that might come up over the course of the summer, and brainstorming with children how it might be best to deal with those things. I’d say this is the #1 thing parents need to know before camp starts: that camp can be an adjustment, it can be hard, but talking about it beforehand can make a huge difference in the success of the summer!
Get Your FREE Guide to Camp Registration eBook
Communicating effectively with parents about how to prepare for camp starts with your marketing and ends with the practical side of making sure you are communicating effectively about dates, deadlines and required items. With the right software to manage the practical side of communication, and a great website to help showcase why camp is awesome, and why yours is the best, will go a long way in ensuring your parents are informed, prepared and bringing their kids back year after year!