Set your Camps Up for Success

Whether it’s in the winter or summer, camps play an important role in the world of recreation. Camps provide many benefits to kids by keeping them active, learning and developing skills, learning social norms, and staying active.  When you boil it down to the core need, camps are basically daycare. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with that. Camps provide a wonderful service to the parents as much as they bring value to kids.

Most programs have their traditional camp programs that include water sports, gymnastics, multi-sport and sport specific camps. If you’re looking to run a camp there are some options that you can look into depending on how you want to approach it.

If you’re a registered business you can run a camp on your own. In some cases this can be an affordable option because you take all of the income. While you’re on the hook for marketing and securing space that process is fairly straightforward. The first thing you need to do is secure space. You’ll need liability insurance to do that, and there may be different rates is you’re a profit vs. nonprofit company.

If you’re doing a winter camp indoors you’ll likely have more competition for space with other programs. Make sure to secure space before you do anything else. Also, do you have a solid marketing strategy? Are you willing to invest the time and money needed to properly promote and market your program? Those added costs and time may make things more challenging when starting out.

If you’re not interested in doing it alone you can always reach out to another likeminded entity and create a partnership. Many parks and recreation programs do this, but be aware that you’re going to have to split the revenue. Depending on your area you’re likely to see a revenue share up to 60/40 percent. If you have a specific income you need to make due to expenses you’re going to want to adjust that to account for the revenue sharing from your partnership. There are some benefits to consider when doing it this way.

First, your potential partner may have more access to facilities that you do. Second, they may have a more established marketing platform that can draw in more customers. While you’re not taking home 100 percent of the profit you could be making more in the long run because you were able to get more participants. Third, your partner may be better suited to handle incoming questions and process payments for programs. If you’re not set up for this or don’t want the hassle you can let them handle that side and they’ll cut you a check for your portion.

In any decision there’s always pros and cons. The challenge is figuring out what method is going to work best for you. I’ll argue that both options can be effective. Personally I like creating partnerships because there’s more investment between two parties who genuinely want to make sure programs are successful. Also, utilizing the resources of another entity can save you time and money down the road. Whatever you choose to do take the time to think it through, have the conversations needed and give it a go.