5 Important Concepts for the Next 5 Years of the Summer Camp Industry

A CampHacker's Vision of Important Camp Ideas for the Near Future

There can be no arguing that summer camp is on the edge of massive change (or, at least, that those who change their marketing massively have the greatest chance of survival).  

The Midwest Association of Independent Camps asked me to speak at their luncheon at the Mid-States Conference in April 2014.  I decided to think about what I consider to be 5 essential skills of a modern camp director.

I think you need to be considering:

  1. It's all about the VISUALS (any piece of communication that you begin to write... you should figure out who to say it visually).
  2. Get comfortable with TECHNOLOGY. Even if, like me, you believe that campers need a break from Technology, you still need to have a basic knowledge of and comfort level with technology in order to keep doing your job.
  3. Learn to RELAX.  Take up meditation, go for walks, play games with the campers - anything you can do to relax during every day will be essential to manage the stresses of managing a camp business.
  4. Make your marketing ABOUT THEM. Stop talking about you on your camp marketing; start talking about them and what they get out of camp.
  5. Make BOLD STATEMENTS. Be prepared to clearly state the WHY of your camp... and to find more of the right families because of that!

My Bold Statement for 2014

I want to help the summer camp industry be so good that you feel like you fail as a parent if your kids don't go to camp.

What bold statement are you making at your camp?  
Leave it in the comments below this post.

Introductory SALE: Summer Camp Social Media Marketing Calendar

Make Your Camp Marketing Manageable 

Seth Houser, Director at Camp Arrowwood

Seth Houser, Director at Camp Arrowwood

Tired of reading Mashable, Social Media Today and other sites only to be left asking yourself? “How do I apply this to my Summer Camp?” Travis has put together a great resource that is made by a Camp Professional for Your Camp.

If your social media strategy consists of the occasional “Sign-up Today” “Tell your friends about Camp” and “Early-Discount Ends Tomorrow” you are missing the boat. I’m thankful to Travis for the life-giving resource.
— Seth Houser, Camp Arrowwood (TN)

We are please to offer, from now until December 13th, 50% off our new Summer Camp Marketing Calendar!


Summer Camp Social Media Marketing Calendar from CampHacker.TV

Summer Camp Social Media Marketing Calendar from CampHacker.TV

The marketing calendar is a spreadsheet that will make your online marketing more effective and efficient.

Last week we asked our newsletter followers to outline their biggest question about camp marketing and there were 2 strong trends: How can I be the most effective in the least amount of time? and What social networks will have the biggest effect on increasing our camper numbers?

Both are questions that we answer with the Summer Camp Marketing Calendar.    

Prior to the webinar last Thursday, I was feeling overwhelmed where to begin with our social media marketing.  On Friday, feeling bold, I sat down and began plotting my 5 week strategy to get our camps back on track.  In order to keep it manageable for us, I’ve decided to focus on Facebook, Instagram and YouTube.  I believe what you do should be done well and to jump in & try to cover everything, even if it’s once per week, would be too overwhelming and we run the risk of abandoning the plan before we truly get started.

While it did take a couple of hours, I’m happy to report I am confident that I have a plan that is beneficial and easy to follow.  
— Mary Camuso

As you can see from Mary's review, we are going to offer a one hour webinar (or video recording) to every buyer.   In this webinar you will learn how to use the Calendar, how to set up a simple social media posting strategy and how to make creating content that sells camp as easy as possible.


There is a no-questions-asked return policy for 30 days.  Watch the Webinar then try it out for your camp.  If you are not happy, email me directly (travis@socialcatalyst.ca) for your refund.

If you are ready to make your camp marketing life easier: buy the calendar.

Summer Camp Photographer - Camp Kintail

Camp Photos for Marketing Purposes

Camp Kintail is an ever growing Presbyterian Church Camp on the eastern shore of Lake Huron.  Kintail is my first summer home - as many long-term listeners and readers will know I grew up there (so did my mom & her brothers and my grandparents).   It is always a special time for me to get to go back to Kintail and shoot for them every year.

If you are interested in professional photography to help improve the image of your website, blog, newsletter or brochure please contact me.

ACA MidStates Conference: Travis Allison's Presentations

Marketing a Summer Camp, Smartly

I am so grateful to the volunteers and committee members of the ACA Midstates Camp Conference.   I was treated like a king and I'm so grateful to Michael Brandwein for the invite to come and speak to everyone.  

The Director's Solutions Symposium was a great idea: create a stream of conference sessions focussed on the needs of professional camp directors.   I really enjoyed the session that Suzy Loughlin (Firestorm Solutions) led on Social Media Crisis management and I heard great things about the panel discussions that took place on Friday

Travis Allison's Conference Sessions

I want to thank everyone who came to my sessions at the conference.  As promised, here are the slides from each session.

Getting Things Done as a Camp Director

Stop Marketing To Yourself - Your Clients are Not Camp People

10 Things Every Summer Camp Should Do On YouTube

Hmmn... I can't seem to embed this presentation.  Please check it out at: http://www.slideshare.net/zoic/10-things-every-summer-camp-should-do-on-youtube

Hello from the Head Counsellor - Head Counsellor - #0

Ideas for your summer camp Head Counsellor!

CampHacker Matt Honsberger

CampHacker Matt Honsberger

Hello everyone! My name is Matt Honsberger, at camp they call me Iscus. I play a bit of a behind the scenes role here at CampHacker, but Travis was kind enough to have me write a little bit for the site about my thoughts on something that I am very passionate about, summer camp.

Summer camp started for me at the age of 8 at small residential camp in Paris Ontario called Ganadoweh. My parents registered me for the “Wilderness Experience” trip. So I went, and for the first time, paddled a canoe, pitched a tent, sang campfire songs and experienced what missing home was really all about!

From there, I guess you could say that I really became a “child of the North”. My best friend connected me to Cairn (at the time, Glen Mhor Camp) and for 6 years, I would spend the best week of my year up there. Then, I took the fairly typical camp leadership journey from the month long LIT program in 2006, to counselling in ’07 and ’08, to being the Assistant Maintenance Director (I like to add the -Director for resumes) in 2009, then co-directed the LIT program for two years and this past summer, had the honour of being Cairn’s Head Counsellor.

I can honestly say that my 13 summers at camp have left the biggest impressions on my life and have shaped me into the leader that I am today. By no means do they make me an expert or a camp visionary, but I have definitely had some life-altering experiences and learned some lessons that I think can only really be learned at camp. In that time, this past year at camp was particularly impactful for me. I can’t think of another time in my life where I was so stressed out, so frustrated and so challenged yet so content and driven. 

That confusing inequality of emotions is exactly the type of thing that I am excited to share on this blog. Below, you’ll find out some of my insights on being a head counsellor based around the kind of experiences and encounters that I had. Once again, I don’t claim to be a visionary but I hope that my thoughts will spark some of your own and that together, we can come out with something visionary-ish. 


[Travis' edit: You can connect with Matt on Twitter @Iscus

Next article - The Job Description(ish.)