Professional Development

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Creating a Plan to Start and Operate a Virtual Summer Camp

For over 100 years, summer camp programs have spent the months leading up to June preparing to operate on-location programs for youth. In this unprecedented and uncertain time, things have undoubtedly shifted and plans have needed to be altered, moving what's normally a live experience to computer screens and tablets.

Camp directors across the country are now wondering what a virtual or remote summer camp is—and how could they go about starting one. Thankfully, the American Camp Association, a nationwide leader in the camp industry for close to 25 years, has made available a step-by-step guide for creating a plan and operating a virtual summer camp.

The guide offers tips and goes into detail about these topics:

  • What is a virtual summer camp and what does it even represent?
  • Step 1: Time to set priorities and focus on how and where your valuable time should be spent.
  • Step 2: Eliminate the tasks and responsibilities you no longer have to worry about.
  • Step 3: Define your virtual camp model.
  • Address the stereotypes.
  • Redefine value and create more of it.
  • Beware of surveying parents before you begin to plan your virtual camp.
  • Set the proper expectations to families.
  • Consider setting up a weekend orientation for parents and campers to join and practice using the video platform for virtual camp.
  • Define your camper (customer). Try not to be everything to everyone.
  • Create value with the three Cs: Connections, Culture and Communication.
  • Exceed expectations. Add additional and included activities for campers and/or camper families.
  • Hire for personality and energy. Yes, even for technology.
  • Be very careful how you plan the camper day or session.
  • Promote non-screen-time activities at the end of each session.
  • Provide daily challenges for campers.

To view the guide in its entirety, click here.

Courtesy of NAA.

#3 Karen Cavaness 2020-05-28 10:39
We would like the guide for starting virtual summer camp.
#2 Angelique Montes 2020-05-27 14:58
We would love to have the guide to plan and operate a vitrual summer camp.
#1 James King 2020-05-27 14:31
We are looking for ideas to create a virtual summer program for our 21st Century after school programs.
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