This blog was originally published on July 20, 2021, and was updated on July 17, 2023, with new information.
Summer means camps! Summer camps are fun for child care centers and kids alike. They teach campers new skills, positive values and instill confidence in their abilities.
Summer camp can be such a great program for your center, but you have to be intentional about your purpose and mission and how you hope to accomplish it.
Whether you’ve run a camp every summer for the last 20 years or this is your first summer, these five tips will help you run your best program now and help you start planning for next summer!
1. Great Themes
Choosing the right theme for camp can be difficult. Choosing one theme per week is one option. It’s a great organizational tool that helps with planning and gets your campers excited as well.
When you are thinking about what themes to include in your camp, try to pick ones that will be attractive to the most people. Be aware of age appropriateness … themes like the movie “Frozen” might not have as wide an appeal as a broader theme such as superheroes.
2. Hire the Right People
Having the right staff for your summer camp is key! This might be the most important ingredient in creating a great summer camp. Hiring people who are energetic, passionate and fun will promote the same attitudes in campers. Summer camp is all about being silly, singing funny songs and playing games. Make sure that your team is willing to play, smile and run around while encouraging and supporting their campers to do the same.
3. Plan Ahead
Camp days can be long and tiring depending on the type of program you are running. Do the majority of the activity planning ahead of time. Consider starting planning in May for your summer camp and try to get all the planning completed before the first day of camp.
Planning ahead allows your team to stay focused on the children and the actual activities rather than worrying about what is going to happen next week. When it’s all planned out and the materials are purchased, everything else will go much more smoothly.
4. Leave the Center
Field trips are essential for a great summer camp experience. When planning field trips, think outside of the box. It is summer, so anything can work! Some ideas include going to a park, local lake, fire station, library, movie theater or even to the mall.
Getting outside your building is great for both the staff and the kids.
5. Get Your Team Excited!
The energy of your team will decide what type of camp you run. Energy is the fuel of your summer camp machine, so be sure to top it off regularly!
This might look like having a weekly or daily huddle. These give you time to regroup with your team, share updates or issues as well as to encourage them to keep having fun for the remainder of the week. It could also include slipping coffee gift cards into the mailbox of staff who have shown the energy you want to see.
Be creative. Give incentives. Lead by example. It all starts at the top and moves down, so model the type of energy you want your team to have.
Organization Is Key
Summer camp is such a great time to host activities you didn’t do throughout the traditional school year, so get out of your center and enjoy yourself!
Remember that fun can be achieved by being organized and intentional. Plan ahead with great themes and activities, take day trips to spice things up, hire the right people and motivate them to make camp the best experience it can be.
A helpful way to stay organized in the areas of parent engagement, online registration and invoicing is by using an all-in-one child care management software.
Easily manage every part of your child care business by letting Procare organize family information, track attendance, automate tuition collection and do more for you!
Procare helps lighten your load, add professionalism to your program and focus on motivating staff while caring for campers.
Want to know how much time and money you could save using the Procare all-in-one solution to run your summer camp, as well as your childcare or daycare programs? Learn your potential personalized savings by entering some details into this online calculator!
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