On February 3rd Playerspace Director of Sales Chris Capone led a conversation about how to plan a successful summer camp season with Pikes Peak YMCA’s Executive Director Melanie Zuniga and Associate Executive Director of the Warlick Family YMCA, Rachel Kafsky.
Melanie and Rachel discussed how they pivoted to meet the new needs of their communities last summer, and outlined four main lessons they will bring to all future summer camps:
- New Activities
- Smaller Groups
- Clear Communication
- Risk Management
Continue reading for some quick tips and tricks from the pros!
COVID restrictions required cancelling some activities campers look forward to the most. So both Melanie and Rachel expressed difficulty in planning. They decided to bring in leaders from other departments to teach classes- like lifeguard training and talking through sports league offerings at the Y. Much to their surprise, the kids loved it. Melanie and Rachel intend to maintain these cross-departmental activities in years to come.
Scheduling was a major headache in trying to limit person-to-person contact all while balancing coverage with counselors. Their solution was smaller group sizes and having counselors work half days. This, in turn, led to unexpected and wonderful outcomes for staff and campers alike. Counselors were happier having a better work-life-balance. The energy they were able to bring to camp helped build meaningful relationships between campers and counselors. Finally, the smaller group sizes helped knit groups of supportive campers and gave counselors time to address all camper’s individual needs.
With all the anxieties of summer 2020, clear communication was key to successful camps. Melanie and Rachel used Playerspace to create email and SMS templates and digitally accessible schedules for each camper, bringing ease to all communication with parents. While the front end of building out camp schedules and writing communication templates was time consuming, the benefit was felt throughout the summer. Parents were given digital schedules they could access anywhere, and all updates or emergencies were handled with the click of a button. What originated as a solution to manage COVID clearly has benefits in a post-COVID world.
To avoid exposure to COVID, Rachel decided to put all staff training forms in Playerspace so they could be completed at home. Similar forms were uploaded for volunteer certification, as well as all forms for campers. Parents were given easy digital access to all these legally required forms. The ease with which parents, volunteers, and staff could complete and store required forms actually led to Melanie and Rachel’s branches not only side-stepping COVID risk, but avoiding compliance fees. As Melanie put it, “We’re acing our licensing inspections.”
We hope these tips from the pros help with your summer camp planning!
But this is just the tip of the iceberg. To dive deeper in how Playerspace can be a useful tool for you, your staff, and your members, connect with one of our specialists to learn more.