Professional Development

NAA publishes fresh, new content every week covering a wide variety of topics related to the field of aftershool. In addition, NAA offers a variety of opportunities for virtual professional development (PD) through meaningful content, conversations and connections. Click here to see full descriptions of virtual PD offerings.

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.