The Top Six Things I’m Doing Today to Prepare for Summer 2014


“The best preparation for good work tomorrow is to do good work today.”—Elbert Hubbard

“Before anything else, preparation is the key to success.” –Alexander Graham Bell

Here's a quick rundown of the six things I'm doing today to prepare for summer 2014.

With the Parents:

1) Evaluating.

We’re busy looking at camper numbers.  No, not the new campers, the returning campers.  It’s my belief that retention is the key sign of a healthy camp.  In my organization (YMCA) 55% is the national average, 65% is the average at the top camps.  Here’s how you get it: number of 2013 campers that are returning for 2014, divided by the total number of campers in 2013 (not 2014).

2) Listening.

This week we sent an email out to all the parents whose camper is not returning from last summer.  The response has been fascinating.  Things are popping up a year later that did not or would not pop up on a post-camp evaluation form.

3) Changing.

Based on what I’m hearing, we’re making changes.  We’re adjusting where we didn’t think we needed to because our ears are open to what the parents are saying.   Never forget, you work for the parents not the camper.

With the Campers:

4) Intriguing.

Tweets, Facebook post, Instagram Pics, Pins, you name it, we are doing anything we can to spark the interest to the themes, staff, and all the fun of summer 2014.

5) Reminding.

We are making sure our campers are setup for success at camp.  Do they have all the information they need?  What if they get placed on the yellow team but don’t own a yellow shirt or bandana?  We are communicating all the material that they should know, a month a head of time, just so they will be fully prepared for a successful week at camp.

6) Motivating.

All of the hype, all of the social networking, all of the post cards and emails and phone calls is for one reason: to motivate the camper for the best week of their life.

Summer is quickly approaching.  This time is near.  Today, challenge yourself to do something that will motivate, remind, and intrigue your campers and remember, it’s not to late to listen, evaluate, and change in response to parent feedback.

Cory Harrison has directed resident camp programs for more than 10 years with The Salvation Army and the YMCA. Currently, he is the Executive Director of the YMCA Camp Benson in Northwest, IL. He is a life-long camper, an avid reader, and daily cereal eater. Reach him via Facebook: