Jun 8, 2009, 1:34 PM
Post #1 of 1
This is probably the least convenient time of year to think about next year, but we have no choice. Promoting camp will remain challenging, at least for the short-term. However, short-term means longer than simply the current year.
Is Your Message Tough Enough?
As some parents re-assess the value of their children’s camp enrollment – in light of overall belt-tightening – we must do more than ever to convince them of the irreplaceable value of camp. Continuing to talk about self-confidence, independence, etc., is OK. But now we must become more direct, in order to force some families to move camp up on the scale of “needed expenses.” We must remind parents that social life at school is not likely to provide truly wholesome, guided and nurtured opportunities to make sincere friends and to respect others. Be sure to collect verbal case studies of this emphasis on socialization that you can share with prospective families. Then tell them about the difference in atmosphere between a school cafeteria and your dining hall.
Many camp directors do not like to speak critically of school because they employ teachers. The members of your staff who are teachers during the rest of the year are not reasons to shrink from being able to contrast camp with school. Teachers are not employed for the purpose of facilitating students’ interpersonal dealings with any kind of consistency. Camp professionals do this daily, and they have the time and relaxed atmosphere to do it well.
You redefine the word “supportive” for campers and give them new perspectives on what daily life can be like for them. Keeping children home throughout the summer robs them of the opportunity to see that there is something different from the pressures that surround the school environment – that all of life is not relentless competition, for multiple forms of achievement and for popularity among peers.
Starting with the tours you may conduct for prospective families this summer, become more direct – and perhaps even more dramatic -- in making parents see why camp should not be considered optional for their children.
Best wishes for a safe, healthy and fun-filled summer.