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7 Tips for California Summer Camps to Increase Enrollment

Posted by Jason Mellet on Jan 5, 2021 8:00:00 AM
Jason Mellet

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Summer camps in southern California have super-diverse offerings and settings. From oceanside to urban, desert to national forests, there’s something for everyone. Getting enrollment filled up with all of this variety and competition might seem daunting, but there’s a thriving and enthusiastic community for California summer camps to draw from.

Let’s take a look at how some of the great Los Angeles summer camps (and those in the surrounding area) have tackled this challenge:

These 7 California Summer Camps Know How to Drive Enrollment

1. Put together a great promo video.

Camp Mountain Chai isn’t messing around with their sensational 9-minute promo video. This Jewish camp positively shouts fun, friendship, discovery, and exploration in their highlight reel of good times in the great outdoors at the San Bernardino National Forest.

There’s no better way to increase enrollment than with a high-impact, shareable, evergreen asset like a comprehensive promotional video. Music, staff interviews, and action-packed intercuts of live camp will get everyone psyched to check you out.

2. Keep community kids involved post-middle school!

Los Angeles summer camps can keep the enrollment pipeline strong by using junior counselors that will also interact with and relate to potential campers outside of camp.  Monarch Camps uses a Junior Counselor Program to recruit volunteer high school students (aged 14-17) to assist counselors in organizing activities and working with younger kids. Many of the JCs were former campers themselves and even get volunteer hours for school.

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These sorts of programs can boost California summer camps’ profiles in the community a ton with word of mouth. The high school helpers can chat with their friends and other families about the fun they’re having with their summer job and spread the good word.

3. Give parents schedule flexibility and care options.

Music Rhapsody has put on a Los Angeles summer music camp since 1983. Their campers get to work with diverse songs, instruments, puppets, and visuals to foster their creativity and love for music.  However, the camp also knows that parents have responsibilities and schedules can sometimes be tough to line up. 

They have extended daycare options available upon request. Publicize this sort of flexibility and you’ll get enrollments from families that didn’t think they’d be able to work it out otherwise!

4. Motivate retention.

Strong enrollment is much easier for California summer camps who master the retention of eager campers from last year! 

Mountain & Sea Adventures gives kids a chance to live on a ship near Santa Catalina Island and learn about marine science while snorkeling, kayaking, hiking, and more. One way they ensure great retention—beyond just being an awesome camp—is their Science Ocean Adventure Challenges program (SOAC’d). Campers choose things to learn beyond required activities and reach up to Level 3 (mastery level) during their trip. High-level campers can become counselors in future years—a strong motivator to return and keep earning levels! 

5. Use testimonials!

California summer camps know that families are their best marketing asset. Gather testimonials and share them everywhere—brochures, flyers, videos, social media, etc. You can tell how much Second City Summer Camps’ families love their program from the glowing testimonials they share at the end of this promotional blog post!

6. Start a scholarship.

Dance Ten Studio awards the Pat Jackson Memorial Dance Scholarship to one dancer in their program every year. This kind of benefit can make a huge difference in one camper’s life.  Parents, sponsors, fundraisers, and a slice of revenue can all help make this initiative a reality (and an attractive reason to join camp!).

7. End with a bang (and early enrollment).

Looking for co-ed sleepaway camps in California? Camp StarCrest brings campers aged 7-15 on adventures in the San Bernadino mountains, and they know how to leave a lasting impression. 

Their summer always ends with a fun-filled Color Clash competition! The camp is broken up into three teams that vie for the championship crown in an action-packed event. Super Stars (final year campers) are presented with gifts at the end to connect them with camp forever.

This kind of event is the perfect way for overnight camps in California to leave campers hungering for next year—and to launch an early enrollment drive before families get back to their normal post-camp lives.

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Topics: Summer Camp, summer camps