With the daily media coverage of COVID-19, camp families will naturally wonder how this will affect their lives in the coming months. Open communication from your camp is incredibly important at this time.
Camp is all about coming together, caring for one another, and growing with the community. Even if we’re stuck inside because of quarantine and isolation, it’s still crucial that we connect with our network of families—to encourage, to inform, and to listen. Communicate with families to update them on how the coronavirus will affect the program, answer their camp questions, and let them know what they can do while cooped up at home.
Stay Connected During Quarantine and Isolation
In spite of COVID-19, summer camps are still filling up quickly. HoneyRock camp has shared that they’re 25% ahead on camper registrations compared to the same time last year. And it makes sense! After quarantine and isolation practices are over, camp families will be itching to get out of the house and get involved in outdoor, social activities.
If anything, now is the time to be connecting with prospective campers and reminding them why summer camp is important. The best way to interact right now—for many communities—is in the digital space.
Here are a few ideas to get you started.
The least expensive, most consistent way to communicate with existing campers is still email. Parents can access the message at home or on the go via a mobile device, and it’s a low-pressure connection point.
Give folks an update on how your camp has been affected. Are there any programs you’re monitoring, altering, or may plan to cancel? How is your camp prepared to comply with CDC-recommended hygienic practices that prevent the spread of disease?
It’s important to reassure families that your camp is cooperating fully with public health authorities and that you have effective plans and protocols in place to identify and treat illnesses at camp—including COVID-19. Comfort the parents. Let them know that camp is in no immediate danger, but preparations are underway to protect the safety of their children. Promise to keep them informed if anything changes.
Early Registration Campaigns
An “early bird discount” is the perfect incentive for new families who are taking this time to evaluate their summer options while in quarantine and isolation. Encourage the parents who are conducting online research to act quickly and lock-in an attractive price point before spots fill up.
Camps that fill their available slots quickly will operate with the most certainty in their budget and programming. Naturally, this creates a better experience for everyone. Staffing will be better planned, sessions will be more productive, and the immediate cash flow will give you more flexibility.
A waitlist is also a huge benefit, if you’re lucky enough to fill up early. Even if some campers change their plans before the summer kicks off, you’ll still be positioned for a consistent program size.
Boost Accessibility Across Channels
Folks with more urgent camp questions might gravitate toward “synchronous” conversations (phone, live chat), whereas others will seek “asynchronous,” lightweight contact via comments on social posts or email.
This is an excellent time to update your website, streamline and optimize your online registration forms, and expand the channels you use to connect. A live chat feature is a welcome addition when families can’t come out to visit in person and talk. First impressions on the website matter. You’ve got less than 15 seconds to capture the attention of most online visitors, so make sure to show them that you have what they’re looking for as quickly as possible.
Social Media Updates
Twitter, Facebook, and other social platforms are buzzing while everyone is online during quarantine and isolation. This is the perfect opportunity to share photos of activities and events from last year to get folks excited about what’s coming once the threat of COVID-19 has been resolved.
Though they may be apart right now, it helps families feel connected to remind them about what they’ve done together. You can also spread supportive messages and let folks know they can call on you if needed. In trying times, your camp’s positive voice might be all it takes to make a real difference for community morale.