Camp Articles


Bits & Bytes

Early this year we sent out surveys to companies who provide technology products and services specifically to children's camps. These companies run the gamut from Web service and online interactive content providers to camp management software vendors, and everything in between that's computer-based and makes the daily grind that much easier.

What you'll find is a breakdown of each software company's offerings into products and pricing, technical requirements, connectivity, management/operations/database functions, registration functions, on-line interactive services, search-engine services, other services, third-party compatibilities, upgrade and support policies and contact information.

We'll publish an annual update each year to keep you informed of changes and upgrades. Your input is valuable and we invite you to let us know if there's any other information we can help provide.

Amaranth Networks Inc.

Products and prices: Amaranth provides Web site design and hosting services, including database-backed Web sites, message boards, e-commerce, photo galleries and other custom programming. Other capabilities include Webcam systems, wired and wireless networking systems.

Technical requirements: Amaranth hosts Web sites on high-performance servers. For Webcam systems, a broadband connection is recommended.

On-line interactive services: The company provides broadcast email capabilities, message board systems, discussion mailing lists, photo album capabilities and any custom-programmed capabilities desired.

Search-engine services: Amaranth designs Web sites to ensure maximum searchability, incorporates other design elements to ensure search engine placement, and works with clients to develop strategies for online exposure.

Contact information: Amaranth Networks Inc., PO Box 550, Bolton, MA 01740, 978-779-5100, www.amaranth.com

Bunk1.com

Products and prices: Bunk1's password-protected Community features (e.g., Photo Gallery, one-way camper e-mail, etc.) are available at no cost (the "Parent Pay" option). Traditional "Camp Pay" options are also available. Bunk1's password-protected Community features include BUNK NOTES, PHOTO GALLERY, VIDEO GALLERY, NEWSLETTER and MESSAGE BOARDS. Bunk1 also offers a search engine service, staffing and surveying services, broadcast phone messaging, and other custom Web site services.

Technical requirements & connectivity: Bunk1's features are Web-based so you can use any computer with Internet access from anywhere in the world. No special software required.

Management/operations/database functions: Bunk1's Community features are password protected. All users must set up usernames and passwords and you have complete control over your user database. You can approve or reject parents, relatives, staff, and alumni for access to the Photo Gallery, Newsletter, Bunk Notes (one way camper email), and Message Boards, and use the user database to email your camp community.

Registration functions: Bunk1 also offers a number of online camp enrollment options.

On-line interactive services: Bunk1's password-protected Community features include: BUNK NOTES -- let parents send one-way email to campers; PHOTO GALLERY -- parents view (and can buy) pictures from camp; VIDEO GALLERY –- see the campers in action; NEWSLETTER -- post your camp newsletter online; MESSAGE BOARDS -- help your camp community stay in touch in the off-season. To see Bunk Notes service from a parent perspective, go to www.test.bunk1.com and sign in by typing yourparent as the username and parent as the password in the space provided and click enter site.

Search-engine services: Bunk1's camp search engine gets 22 million hits per month. Market your camp to thousands of prospective campers, parents, and potential staff who use Bunk1's search services every day. Bunk1's search engine is listed prominently on major search engines including Google and Yahoo

Other services: Bunk1 can design a Web site from scratch or you can use a Bunk1 "Informational website" and use simple tools to build a camp Web site for yourself. You can search the Bunk1 resume database and post camp jobs to Bunk1's camp job database for free. Go to www.bunk1.com and sign in (upper left of the page). Under "Staffing Your Camp" (left side of the page), select either "Post a Job" or "Search For Staff". Bunk1 can post an individualized survey, notify all parents, automatically tally responses, and provide instant results.

Third-party compatibilities: Bunk1 works with all recent browser versions including Internet Explorer, Netscape, AOL, and Safari.

Upgrade policies: Bunk1's features are Internet-based so all upgrades and improvements are instantly available.

Support policies: Bunk1 has a dedicated toll-free number for camps and a separate toll-free number for camp parents to call for support. Bunk1's customer service agents are available almost around the clock and there is no charge for support.

Contact information: Bunk1, 211 West 61st Street, 4th Floor, NY, NY 10023, (888) 465-2267, info@Bunk1.com, www.bunk1.com/director.asp

CampBrain

Products and prices: CampBrain, camp and conference center management software, $1,900 and up.

Technical requirements: Operating System -- Windows 95 or higher; Microsoft Access 97 or higher; 25 megabytes of hard disk space; Minimum screen resolution of 800 x 600 pixels. CampBrain recommends computer workstations with at least 64 megabytes of RAM and a Pentium 266 MHz for efficiency purposes.

Connectivity: Software-based with Web-based online registration.

Management/operations/database functions: Complete camp and conference center management functions including camper, family and emergency contact information, camper registration, charges and payments, medical information, transportation, cabin and group assignment, camp store, online registration, inquiries, staff, group reservations, group accommodation, group calendar, group meal coordination and more.

Registration functions: Multi-camp registration system ideal for registering participants into resident camps, day camps, conference and outdoor centers, after and before school programs and day cares. Automatic charging and capacity monitoring are included.

On-line interactive services: Online registration.

Other services: Database customization.

Third-party compatibilities: Download online registrations directly from infosnap via an XML data transfer. Send camper information automatically for use in ecamp’s communication products. Process credit cards directly from CampBrain using the Skipjack payment network.

Upgrade policies: Upgrades are included in the first season and to members of the Annual Maintenance Plan free of charge. Otherwise, they may be purchased as needed.

Support policies: Year-round, dedicated, personal technical support is available to all users. Technical support provided with purchase and Annual Maintenance Plan free of charge. Otherwise, it may be purchased on a time-used basis.

Contact information: CampBrain, 5 Lower Sherbourne St. Suite 206, Toronto, ON M5A 2P3 Canada, (866) 485-8885, (416) 485-7262, info@campbrain.com, www.campbrain.com

CampRegister

Products and prices: Online Registration: $2.50 to $7 per registrant. Comprehensive Camp Management Software: Per registrant fee (no software purchase or maintenance fees). Credit Card & Debit Card Processing: Single percentage to cover costs (no setup, monthly, or other fees). Online Electronic Check Processing: 1.5% to 2.5% (no transaction or monthly fees). Online Staff Applications: $.15 to $.25 (if using other services). Online Request Information Forms: $.15 or less (if using other services). Online Donation Collection: 1% of donation amount. Online Product Sales (eCommerce): 2% of donation amount. Web Site Development: Pass along cost (development time + $30/month hosting) if using other services. Assistance with Publicity: Free recommendations if using other services

Technical requirements: Any computer with an Internet Connection and Internet Explorer. CampRegister provides the hardware that runs the software at its expense.

Connectivity: Web-based and browser-based.

Management/operations/database functions: Real-time connection with online registration providing real-time capacities integrating both online and paper registrations, real-time waitlists, accounts that your customers can log into in order to view their real-time account and payment information, automated confirmation emails, and the ability to instantly change your sessions, dates, prices, or questions through your management system. Data management functions include session management, transfers, refunds, recording of payments. Other functions include mailing list management, cabin assignments and group building, medical waivers and release tracking, donation processing and management, online inquiries and management and group registration and management. Communication tools include personalized emailing, contact tracking and management and letter generation. Reporting tools include the ability to design and generate any report you'd like, complete financial reporting and statistical reporting.

Registration functions: Online registrations are customized to look exactly like your Web site; change questions within the management tools; collect donations; sell products; offer discounts and member and non-member rates; ability to sign multiple people for multiple sessions under one transaction; auto-population of fields; unlimited number of forms can be customized; real-time capacity management with waitlist flexibility; create an account so that future registrations are automatically completed; password-protected accounts for your customers so they can view status, transaction history and make additional payments if they owe money. For confirmations, a customized confirmation email automatically sent after registration, and attach documents (such as confirmation packets and maps) in order to reduce printing and mailing costs. For payments give your customers the choice of payment with credit card, debit card, or electronic check (electronic check processing is cheaper for your organization), and enable your customers to pay in full, pay a deposit that you customize, or (if you want) to not even have to make a payment. Other types of online forms include online donation collection, online request information and online product sales.

On-line interactive services: Newsletter and mailing list services -- Upload your mailing list and send out customized newsletters. Track who it has been sent to and automatically create mailing labels for those without email addresses. Website services -- CampRegister can help build and design a Web site for your organization.

Search-engine services: CampRegister provides free consulting services for its clients to help improve publicity and increase numbers.

Other services: Data Import -- Taking old data and automatically importing it into new software. Software training. 24-hour technical support.

Upgrade policies: Because CampRegister's software is connected to the Internet, upgrades are received weekly at no cost.

Support policies: CampRegister provides a dedicated account manager who will be your primary point of contact. There is 24x7 emergency support where CampRegister will get back to any question within an hour.

Contact information: CampRegister, A Division of Thriva, (877) 996-2267 x3, sales@thriva.com, www.thriva.com

CampSearch.com

Products and prices: Featured Camp Listing -- Recommended for camps that are equipped to manage referrals and are interested in targeted Web traffic. Featured Plus Listing -- Recommended for camps that are interested in acquiring targeted Web traffic and generating new leads. CampMatch Online Marketing -- Using the company's camper profiling engine, CampMatch creates lists of potential campers that meet a camp's exact criteria. Marketing campaigns start at $499 per year.

Technical requirements: A computer with a connection to the Internet.

Connectivity: Optimized for Internet Explorer

Management/operations/database functions: The CampMatch level package includes a marketing utility that enables camp directors to manage contact with a scored list of potential campers. The system profiles the audience and creates lists for camps that match a specific camp's profile.

Registration functions: You can link your online registration page to the CampSearch directory.

Search-engine services: CampSearch.com Featured Camp Clients have access to a suite of camp marketing utilities designed exclusively for the camping industry and all built on feedback provided by camp marketers. The system enables Featured clients to monitor and update the status of their online campaigns in real time, access detailed reports, and generate an ROI calculator based on the camp's campaign performance.

Other services: Customized online marketing plans for camps, Internet Consulting (tailored exclusively for the camping industry), media consulting and production for camps (CD/DVD) and Web site analysis and redevelopment plans for camps.

Support policies: Telephone support available 9-5 EST; Web and email support available 24/7. Free six-minute online tour of campsearch.com, 9-5 EST (call 416.588.6375).

Contact information: CampSearch.com, Kyle Waxman, 219 Dufferin Street #200A, Toronto, ON, M6K 3J1, (416) 588-6375, (416) 588-8753 (fax), info@campsearch.com, www.campsearch.com (for parents and families), www.campsearch.com/marketing (for camp directors and camp marketers).

CampMinder

Products and prices: Comprehensive, Web-based camp management system which includes camper/staff recruitment, financials, alumni networking, medical, scheduling, transportation, reporting, one-way e-mail, online registration, online forms -– all integrated into a single system. $7,500 (selected components may be licensed individually).

Technical requirements: Mac, PC. Requires a high-speed Internet connection and a modern Web browser. Microsoft Office recommended.

Connectivity: Web-based.

Management/operations/database functions: Camper recruitment/camper management; staff recruitment/staff management; alumni management; bunk/cabin assignments; transportation coordination; customer relationship management -– notes and reminders; medical: medications, treatments, conditions; scheduling -– elective and pre-assignments and auto-scheduling; financials: accounts receivable and staff financials; canteen reporting: pre-defined and on-the-fly reporting for camper, staff, alumni.

Registration functions: Previously registered families can update existing info. Specify separate billing/home addresses. Campers can register for sessions and optional programs

On-line interactive services: One-way e-mail; online inquiries from prospective families; online staff application; online forms for registered families; alumni networking: update own information, search for alumni friends, post photos and messages, all integrated with management database.

Other services: Data transfer from existing systems, nightly data backups, consultations and custom report/feature development

Third-party compatibilities: Microsoft Office.

Upgrade policies: CampMinder upgrades are transparent to users and occur throughout the year. Upgrades to the basic CampMinder system are included at no additional cost.

Support policies: Training up to five hours per week for first month of usage. Support up to three hours per week included with license.

Contact information: CampMinder, Dan Konigsberg, Managing Member, 3 Washington Square Village, Suite 16B, New York, NY 10012, (718) 344-2967, www.campminder.com

eCamp

Products and prices: InBox -- One-way email starting at $3 per camper or free to camp if parents pay. InSight -- On-line newsletter and photos starting at $3 per camper or free to camp if parents pay. Web+ -- $100/month all inclusive,Web+ integrates with current eCamp hosted Web products or may be used independently. Web+ consists of plug-ins and services for your camp Web site. Camps may pick and choose which plug-ins they would like to use and in what fashion they would like to make these products available. Access -- Managed Internet access for staff starting at $2,000 for complete setup, hardware rental and support. Courier -- Two-way email service, starting at $2,000 for complete setup, hardware rental and support. eCamp sets up and supports a computer lab at your camp for camper email. Other products include Video Streaming, starting at $30/month; DVD Yearbook starting at $500; and Camp Survey (online surveys sent to camp families, camp staff, campers or alumni), starting at $500.

Technical requirements: Mac or PC, dial-up Internet connection or better, 200 Mhz computer, 32MB RAM, laser printer.

Connectivity: Web-based and software-based options.

Registration functions: eCamp is a partner with Infosnap and can seamlessly integrate these features.

On-line interactive services: One-way email, online photos, newsletters, online video, bulletin boards, alumni section/management, photo sharing, photo purchasing, gift items, care packages, clothing outfitters.

Search-engine services: Yes.

Other services: Automated Web site development and updating, managed Internet access for staff, computer labs with 2-way email for campers, computer rentals/consulting, camp surveys, camp DVDs, web hosting, video streaming.

Third-party compatibilities: eCamp has alliances with the following vendors: Infosnap, CampBrain, Creative Navigation, CampTV, Cloz and The Wrinkled Egg

Upgrade policies: Upgrades are offered for free as they are available. Customers pay an annual license fee to maintain service with eCamp.

Support policies: Customer support available 24 x 7 x 365 for camps. Parents and family members are supported 7 days a week during summer months and 5 days a week otherwise. All support is free.

Contact information: eCamp, Box 546, Lakeville, CT 06039, (800) 280-8448, www.ecamp.net, info@ecamp.net

infosnap

Products and prices: infosnap's Online Camp Registration Customized online solution starting at $1,000 annual service fee.

Technical requirements & connectivity: Web-based service and online administrative tools accessed using Internet browser. Will work with dial-up or high-speed access.

Registration functions: Online registration forms customized for each camp -– available for all camp forms. Camper families may select sessions, activities, camp merchandise, etc., as part of registration process. Secure, online credit card processing also available. Families submit forms, selections, and optional payment electronically to the camp. Confirmation/Thank You email sent automatically by infosnap system upon submission. Service includes online administrative tools -– available 24/7 from wherever administrator has Internet access: view, print, reply by email to and report submitted camp registrations. Manage sessions –- add/delete, change description, view/change slots available and set up waitlist –- online and in real-time. Download registrations into files for import into most leading camp management systems.

On-line interactive services: Partnered with eCamp, provider of one-way email, online photos and newsletters. infosnap can integrate signup for eCamp with camp registration to make it easier for camper families.

Other services: Online event and conference registration. Online staff applications. Online Summer Programs registration.

Third-party compatibilities: Direct data import into CampBrain, MemberTrack and SofterWare's EZ-CAMP2 camp management software. Exported data files for import into Filemaker and Microsoft Access.

Upgrade policies: Service includes all upgrades to the system for camp's service period with infosnap at no additional charge.

Support policies: All training, customer and technical support is included.

Contact information: infosnap, Air Rights Bldg., 4550 Montgomery Ave., Suite 310 N, Bethesda, MD 20814, (301) 986 1600, (301) 986-0330 (fax), www.infosnap.com

KidsCamps.com/CampJobs.com

Products and prices: Internet marketing, Web development and hosting, online job recruitment, newsletters, photo albums, online background checks and more.

Technical requirements and connectivity: Depends on service.

Registration functions: Online registration form and downloadable forms page.

On-line interactive services: Automated newsletters, automated photo albums, message boards.

Search-engine services: Yes.

Other services: InsureTuition.com, Screenstaff.com, CampPrints.com

Support policies: Support available during regular business hours Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. - 5 p.m. EST

Contact information: KidsCamps.com, 6421 Congress Avenue, Suite 200, Boca Raton, FL 33487, (877) 242-9330, (561) 443-2924, (561) 443-2904 (fax), (866) 665-2904 (fax), www.kidscamps.com

nuMedia Group Inc., dba nuCamps

Products and prices: Camper & staff registration system; and, Parent/Alumni portals. Portals are $6/camper for all features, with revenue sharing on all e-commerce modules.

Technical requirements: Other than an Internet connection, none. nuCamps hosts everything on its servers and adds the trim to make it look like your site.

Connectivity: Browser based; powered by Microsoft SQL servers.

Management/operations/database functions: Parent Portal: Parent-to-Camper e-Letters; daily photo albums with personal favorites, send to a friend, paid photo downloads and end-of-camp CD sales; streaming videos; camp store purchases from parents to campers & staff; weather; daily camp calendar; alerts & news; and staff directories with photos and bios. Alumni Portal: All of the Parent-to-Camper features plus secure, private messaging between alums; alumni profiles and opt-in directory; threaded discussion forums; and photo albums.

Registration functions: Parents have private codes to review their personal information from previous year and the opportunity to make any corrections prior to registration. Ensures your camp has a clean database of camper and parent information. Many useful and time saving features for parents and your camp's staff. Campers are instantly placed in camps or on waiting lists and staff can easily make camp/cabin reassignments; credit card deposits and tuition payments taken on-line. Thousands of simultaneous registrations handled.

Search-engine services: Professional search engine placement services available as requested.

Other services: Web site design/redesign and advice; custom programs developed to meet your camp's specific needs.

Upgrade policies: Modules are priced individually; use as many as you want. Improvements are made available across the board to all subscribers.

Support policies: Rapid response and resolution to all problems and issues.

Contact information: NuMedia Group Inc., 603 Navarro, Suite 605

San Antonio, TX 78205, (210) 212-5600, www.nucamps.com

RecSoft

Products and prices: CAMPWISE Basic and CAMPWISE Advanced. Prices can vary. Quotes available upon request.

Technical requirements: CAMPWISE has been designed to work in a stand alone, workgroup (peer to peer), or network environment. Which type of installation you choose will have an impact on what configuration is required for your equipment. Operating System, when in a standalone environment, must be either Microsoft Windows XP Professional or Microsoft Windows 2000 Professional. In a network setting, Microsoft Windows 2000 server is required. Software requirements, Internet Explorer 6.0 or above. For online use (CAMPWISE Advanced) high speed Internet access is recommended.

Connectivity: Browser-based product that resides on your system in a Windows environment, which creates a familiar, comfortable environment for users. The product can also be hosted remotely on a server.

Management/operations/database functions: The software includes camper registration, camper/family information, medical information, housing, transportation, staff, inquiry, reporting with completely integrated on-line help. Database includes ability to create user-based security and unlimited or limited access levels. The Advanced package includes On-Line Registration, Payments and Inquiry.

Registration functions: Software includes the ability to handle individual camper registrations, group or event registrations, and registrations received via the integrated on-line registration system.

Other services: CAMPWISE incorporates a comprehensive security system that allows the system administrator to control access to all areas of the program, assigning access only to those staff members who necessarily need access. RecSoft also offers custom Web site development.

Third-party compatibilities: Financial export capability allows for transaction to be imported by many financial packages. Real time credit card payment authorization available when On-Line Payments used in conjunction with the on-line gateway service provided by Authorize.net.

Upgrade policies: Yearly updates provided as part of annual support subscription.

Support policies: The annual maintenance and support plan begins the day you purchase the CAMPWISE product. RecSoft includes one year of subscription to the plan with each purchase of CAMPWISE. At the end of that year, the company suggests that customers renew their maintenance and support plan subscription. The support plan includes the following services and/or benefits: Unlimited software support via phone, fax, email or Web; access to customer-only content on the CAMPWISE Web site; software defect fixes; software updates, which may include features that are added to the modules you currently own; toll free number for support; user manuals and training. Hours for support are 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. EST Monday through Thursday, and 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Friday. After-hours support is available for an additional charge.

Contact information:

CAMPWISE by RecSoft, PO Box 1353, Harrisonburg, VA 22803-1353, (540) 433-3939, (540) 433-0520 (fax), www.recsoft.net

Softerware Inc.

Products and prices: EZ-CAMP2 Camp Management Software. EZ-CAMP2 is sold as a one-time license fee and priced in modules. Modules include Database/Camp Manager ($495), Family/Camper Drawer ($395), Staff Drawer ($395), Custom Report Writer ($395), Online Registration (varies based on form complexity/volume), Enrollment Chart ($695), Activity Scheduling ($695), Insta-Merge ($95), Accounts Receivable ($495), EZ-EFT ($295), General Ledger ($395), Accounts Payable ($395), Payroll ($395), Networking ($495 second user license, $395 each additional user. All system prices include initial customization of database fields and screens to match your camp's unique information needs.

Technical requirements: IBM-compatible; Windows 95 and above.

Connectivity: Most EZ-CAMP2 features are software-based and can be installed directly on your computer or network (maximizing data security and system availability). Internet specific features such as online registration and e-mail marketing are provided as browser-based hosted applications. EZ-CAMP2 can also be configured to be as a Web-hosted application for camps that need multi-location or remote access.

Management/operations/database functions: Database/Camp Manager features include system aistration, create/edit data cabinets and drawers, and user/password security. Family/Camper Drawer features include completely customizable screens, checklists, notes, emergency contacts, pictures, birthday lists, session enrollment lists, transportation lists and mailing labels. Staff Drawer includes employment and benefit data, medical and contact data, performance review notes, work schedules, and certifications and training data. Custom Report Writer is Wizard-based, can specify fields, sorts and selections, create lists, summary, or label formats, and provide statistical analysis and file export. Online Registration features include customizable forms, integrates with existing Web site, multi-camper/multi-session, secure credit card processing, and downloads into EZ-CAMP2. Enrollment Chart offers customized enrollment counts. Activity Scheduling provides for individual or group programming, master schedule, rosters, schedule cards, and bar code entry of camper choices (optional). Insta-Merge instantly merges data with MS-Word for personalized letters. Accounts Receivable features invoices/statements, fast batch entry of payments, deposit slips and receipts, third-party ledgers, revenue analysis, and complete audit trail. EZ-EFT offers electronic fee collection, credit cards and/or bank drafts and automatic posting to ledgers. General Ledger features include flexible account structure, track departments and/or multiple sites, manage restricted (designated) funds, define and track budgets, bank reconciliation, automatic recurring entries, extensive pre-defined reports, and export to spreadsheet. Accounts Payable features include cash or accrual accounting, enter and allocate invoices, track unpaid bills, analyze cash requirements, print checks and 1099s, automatic recurring expenses and analyze expenses by vendor or category. Payroll features include calculates wages, taxes and deductions, track overtime, vacation and sick pay, pre and post tax deductions, payroll checks (same check stock as A/P), supports direct deposit, electronic federal tax payments files, W-2/W-3, 1099 and 940-EZ forms.

Registration functions: SofterWare and infosnap have partnered so camps can accept online registrations. It starts with a registration form, accessible right from the camp's Website, that parents can complete and submit. Softerware also offers online credit card processing so families can pay and register at once. Because it's all electronic, registrat

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