Working Well With Camper Parents - CampHacker #99

Be the partner that camper's parents deserve this summer

Podcast: Subscribe in iTunes | Stitcher

Podcast: Subscribe in iTunes Stitcher

Way back in the way back - 2013, we talked about Partnering With Parents. Back then, we were living in a world where Social Media coming from camp was still a pretty newish thing and there weren't nearly as many channels of connection between camp and a camper's home.

Also, in the last 4-5 years, more and more camp pros have been rolling their eyes at parent emails requesting things like more photos and thinking, "ugh, helicopter parents". In online circles and at conferences more and more, we see camp directors waging war against parents, who at the end of the day simply love their kids and want them to be well while they are away.

Friends, it's time to remember that just as much as we're here for the kids, we really are here for their parents too - and not just because they are the ones who click "Register".

Think about someone that you love and care about - now think about them deciding to go on a SpaceX flight to Mars. How terrified are you for them!? Why? Because we've never been to space! How will our loved ones eat? What is anti-gravity like? For Pete's sake, where will they go to the bathroom!?

Too far? Not really!

Parents, especially those who haven't been to camp before, are putting an incredible amount of trust in you to care for the most important thing in their world. They absolutely deserve for us to show them that we are worthy of their trust.

This week, CampHackers Travis and Gabz are joined by Cory Harrison of YMCA Camp Greenville and Stacie Simpson of Stacie Simpson Consulting who are taking parental partnership to the next level in their circles. This is definitely another "get your pen and notebook out" type of episode. Even one of the small, 1 hour of work implementation, ideas is bound to improve your relationships with your camper parents. There are lots of fantastic ideas to do NOW, in the summer, and at the end of the season.

Take a listen and tell us what you think! What is the ONE thing that you are going to do THIS SUMMER to foster relationships with your camper's parents? Please tell us in the comments section!

Tool of the Week – Make Yourself a Better Camp Director

Travis: Paperform


Cory: Interexchange’s CampUSA

Stacie: 30/30 app for iOS

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Building Community With Your Local Community - CampHacker #98

It's not just about being a good neighbour!

(you should still be a good neighbour)

Podcast: Subscribe in iTunes | Stitcher

Podcast: Subscribe in iTunes Stitcher

First things first, if you don't draw campers from a community in close proximity to your site, DON'T TUNE OUT! If you were about to tune out but didn't due to the capital letters (you're welcome), this show may actually be perfect for you!

No matter how far your "draw" is for campers, it's absolutely critical that camps have a good relationship with their neighbours and local communities. 

If you have close residences (especially on a lake), it's important to recognize the fact that you're a noisy, bell-ringing, song-sining (screaming) place. If your camp is a little more secluded, you may be facing the challenge that, despite your strong camper numbers, people don't even know you exist!

It's safe to say, you aren't the conventional neighbour, but that can be your biggest advantage. From dropping mailers on the docks of lake neighbours, to sponsoring local sports teams, to offering free meals for families in need, there is so much good that your camp can do, while doing some good for your organization.

CampHackers Travis, Joe and Dan are joined by Marc Cooper from Camp Tamarack and AWARD WINNING Jalisa Danhof from Camp Newaygo to bring to you an absolute TON of ways to be the best neighbour you can be for your community.

What are you going to do THIS year to connect with your local community? Let us know in the comments below!

Tool of the Week – Make Yourself a Better Camp Director

Travis: - An innovative way for your camp's strategic visioning

Joe: Maui Jim - Sunglasses that stand up to camp

Dan: Quiet Power - Susan Cain -

Jalisa: The Day the Crayons Quit by Drew Daywalt -

Marc: The Daily Stoic - Ryan Holiday -

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What's on your mind? - CampHacker #97

Uncertainty is a Killer of Good Work...and Other Debatable Statements

What's on your mind right now?

It's fair to say that it's getting into "crunch time", but it's also probably fair to say that there's still some time to think.

And when there's time to think, there's sometimes a space created in a section of our brains that is reserved for vulnerability. Whatever that is to you - uncertainty, concern, doubt, worry - thoughts like these have a way of floating in and settling in the spaces in-between your day to day. These thoughts don't exactly impede our progress, but if left un-dusted, the can certainly prevent us from moving forward on potentially critical aspects of our upcoming season.

This episode is for some of those thoughts. It's also for the thoughts that are on the minds of our CampHackers and Camp Pros in the community. Travis and Joe are joined by good friend of the show, Paul Sheridan from Four Winds, Westward Ho to share not only what's on their minds in February of 2017, but to comment on some other Camp Pro's thoughts from around the camping community. 

Tune in to hear thoughts on:

  • Uncertainty
  • Embracing change (both for yourself and for your staff/organization)
  • Best advice for a new Director or management in your organization
  • How to deal with the feeling of loneliness after a season of camp is over

What's on your mind?

We would love to hear it and if you have any big burning thoughts, please do throw them down in the comments below. We would be happy to hear them and maybe feature it as a topic of discussion for future episodes!


Tool of the Week – Make Yourself a Better Camp Director

Travis: Book - How To Shoot Video That Doesn’t Suck - Steve Stockman

Joe: Tervis - Mug/Cups that keeps things the temperature that you intend them to be

Paul: Delorme InReach - Global satellite technology useful for tripping programs

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What Are You Doing Differently? - CampHacker #96

What are you doing differently THIS SUMMER?

Happy January and happy 2017! If you're anything like Joe, that means that the summer of 2017 is already preparing to sneak up on you. It's a New Year and people all around the world have made (and possibly already broken) New Year's Resolutions for themselves. These changing of the calendar prompts people to "shake things up" a bit in their lives. As Camp Pros, we don't need a prompt. We live the life of resolutions for our camps in an effort to grow, maintain, gain and/or reach more people.

This episode is all about one resolution that is likely more uncomfortable, but also more achievable than "eating more veggies" - Be Different This Summer.

The best part about this resolution is that you already know what you have to do. Just like the campers that we serve, our camps need to grow. It is essential that our camps, programs and even our mindset towards the organization grow by consistently asking ourselves, what can we do differently that will help us to best serve our camp and our campers. Take note that we're not asking you what you're going to do "better", because you're already going to do that. What this episode is interested in is how you're going to shake things up, rattle the cages and roll out something, well, different than you've ever done before.

CampHackers Travis Joe and Gab are joined by Neva Batzell from 4-H Florida to share not only how they're being different this summer but how you can do it too. This is a great episode to put your "what if" hat on and we hope you enjoy it.

Maybe your different is looking at the limitations of your site or program and flipping the script and making those limitations into your biggest area of growth; the story of Paperfuge that we mention on this show is exactly this idea. Also see - A Beautiful Constraint.

So whether it's your philosophy, your staff structure or your program (or all 3 and beyond), we wish you the best and encourage you to make 2017 a year of great, different camping! Also, know that you're not alone as your thinking differently. The CampHacker and Go Camp Pro team have your back if you need that extra spark of inspiration or kick in the pants.

Because we're nosey...ahem...curious...what are you planning on doing differently this summer? Let us know in the comments below!

Tool of the Week – Make Yourself a Better Camp Director

Travis: Service Fanatics - James Merlino  - (also used books on Amazon) 

Joe: Tools of Titans by Tim Ferriss - A book containing the best purchases, ideas and thoughts from leaders around the world. Also, from Tim's Blog: Testing The “Impossible”: 17 Questions That Changed My Life

Gabz: Unsplash - Free "do whatever your want" high-res images

Neva: My Fitness Pal - Health, food and exercise tracking app

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