Recruiting youth for camp

Basic reminders and concepts for youth recruitment for camp programs.

Camps during summer or any time during the year can be a great experience for youth. Parents send their children to camp with the hope of receiving the benefits the experience can provide. Youth can learn new things, meet new friends and mature from all of the things that a camp provides. These benefits can carry over into school and other extra-curricular activities. As youth attend camp for consecutive years, they often share the excitement and fun they had at camp. Because of this, youth can be great ambassadors and recruit other youth to participate in a camp experience. Michigan State University Extension recommends a multi-tiered recruitment approach.

The first and most important step to promote youth recruiting other youth to attend camp is to provide a positive experience for them. When youth have fun and feel safe, supported and cared for in the camp environment, this will lead to them sharing their message to their peers.

Next, consider how the results from the evaluations are used to communicate the impact of camp. Are they used for recruitment? For recruitment, highlight the impact statements that camp participants have shared from the evaluations. Demonstrate through quotes and photos how the camp has influenced them and how they feel the camp has been a benefit to them. Use the statements to share on the camp website and other promotional materials like fliers, videos and brochures. Share the testimonials on the camp social media sites.

Also, it is important for parents to receive this information as they look for camps to send their children to. The messages from youth can reach and influence the parents. For parents, focus on the positive statements made by youth and the statistical data from the evaluations.

During the camp, communicate the message to the youth participants that they can be advocates to recruit their friends and peers to have the same positive experience. Give youth the opportunity to share the message of a great camp experience and what it offers. One idea is to create a video for social media or the camp website while they’re at camp. This will give them an opportunity to build skills in communication and marketing. Give them the chance to be empowered to do something positive for the camp. Remember, a positive experience at camp will be the best recruiting tool for youth to recruit other youth.

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