My ACTIVE World Takeaway? Our Customers Are Superheroes!

To wrap up our amazing week at ACTIVE World, we put our customer superheroes in the spotlight. I was honored to moderate a panel with leaders who power incredible activities.

Dana Zilinski from the Chicago Park District walked us through how they left paper-based registration and an unstable ACCESS database behind in favor of ACTIVE Net™, a fully hosted online solution for park registrations.

It was no small feat for the the largest municipal park manager in the U.S. Seriously, can you imagine using spreadsheets to manage participation at 280 staffed park recreation centers, over 500 baseball fields, 26 indoor and 51 outdoor pools, 71 fitness centers, 22 artificial turf fields, 8 gymnastic centers and 2 conservatories? Thankfully, this is a thing of the past.

Liesien Benet of the YMCA of Greater San Antonio, emphasized the importance of cross-functional relationships to selling in and implementing technology on a broad scale.

Geoff Buchheister of Park City Mountain Resort painted a vision for the ski mountain of the future. Geoff told us how his organization uses technology to get people seamlessly from the parking lot, through the rental process and onto the ski slope.

And, last but not least, Kent McIntosh from TEDxSanDiego shared a keen insight that really made me think. Experience-focused brands like Nordstrom and Starbucks have raised people’s expectations so much that participants demand a new level of service and experience from every organization – including their local YMCA or an entirely volunteer run organization like TEDxSanDiego. This experience brand is a completely new paradigm for most community-based organizations. Kent argued that only with technology that makes an activity organizer’s job easier will the experiences activity organizers create meet the expectations of the market.

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YMCA of Greater San Antonio migrates to ACTIVE Net

We’re excited to announce that one of our largest YMCA customers, the YMCA of Greater San Antonio, is migrating from Class® software  to ACTIVE Net™ so that their staff can operate more efficiently and create an awesome member experience by providing easy access to its activities, like spring flag football, boot camp and swim lessons, online.

I sat down with Liesien Benet, Vice President of IT at the YMCA of Greater San Antonio, to understand how this technology can help her staff better engage with their 50,000+ members.

Liesien said that with ACTIVE Net, “The YMCA of Greater San Antonio IT staff won’t have to spend the time maintaining database servers, worrying about PCI compliance or purchasing additional hardware. Our front-office staff can easily access the system anywhere at any time and can focus on creating a great member experience.”

Check out ACTIVE Net in action at YMCAs across North America, including Odessa Family YMCA in Odessa, Texas and Randolph County YMCA in Winchester, Indiana.

To learn more, see the full news releaseor visit http://www.activecommunities.com/technology-solutions/non-profit-overview.htm.

Trust Your Gut, But Use Your Data

Michelle Mercier, our communities marketing maven, shares her insights into a discussion she helped host at a recent camps conference:

Last week, ACTIVE brought together a panel discussion at the American Camps Association National Conference in Dallas to discuss how camps are beginning to challenge the status quo and to use data as a core decision making tool. I thought I’d share a few key takeaways from the panel…

“Aligning programs with parents’ goals”
Avid4Adventure, an outdoor adventure camp, wanted to revamp their camp programs to better align with parents’ evolving needs. To do this, they put together a carefully thought-out process to uncover what their customers—moms—were truly looking for in terms of youth development. Combining the quantitative and qualitative data they collected, Avid4Adventure was able to create a new curriculum that not only met parents’ goals for their kids but could also be easily articulated in their marketing materials in a way that made sense to parents.

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Camp Tecumseh YMCA Wins ACTIVE Campership Grant

Congrats to our Campership Grant contest winner, Camp Tecumseh YMCA of Brookston, Indiana! Located on 500 acres of scenic riverfront woodlands, Camp Tecumseh YMCA offers day camps and resident camps to youths aged 8 to 15, along with retreats, leadership training and outdoor education.

With the grant, Camp Tecumseh will provide 10 scholarships to local day campers this summer.

“Our programs have a huge impact on less-advantaged youth. One parent recently commented on how a yearly week-long day camp at Camp Tecumseh had transformed her son, allowing him to grow in confidence, joy and faith over the years,” said Ben Meyaard, Director of Camper Support at Camp Tecumseh YMCA.

More than 450 camps from Canada and the U.S. submitted a Grant entry form. To read more, visit our Let’s Talk Camp blog!

Learn more about how ACTIVE Camps can help you effectively manage your camp.

Unify. Lead. Grow.

This week, we brought together sales teams from across the company to join forces in establishing the Activity and Participant Management (APM) space. Executive presentations. Technology demonstrations. Cross-company collaboration programs. And, of course, lots and lots of networking.

A key focus was to showcase how our technology is supporting our customers across seemingly disparate markets by making their lives easier.

We shared some highlights from a customer panel held a few months back where we saw first hand the common challenges organizers have across Business, Sports, Communities and Outdoors in growing their organizations at the same time as they create efficiencies across their operations. We are constantly inspired by our customers and we owe a special thanks to these very important ACTIVE experts:

Mary Fitzgerald, COO, Pop Warner Football
Stephen Rice, SVP & Managing Director, CNL Financial Group
Ross Hosking, EVP Global Sales, Wyndham Hotel Group
David M. Elwart, CIO, South Carolina Department of Parks, Recreation and Tourism

To learn more about how we are working with our customers to power activity, check out the Customer Stories section of the blog.

ACTIVE Network Welcomes New General Manager

Sheryl Hoskins to Lead the Ski & Attractions Group

We’re thrilled to welcome Sheryl Hoskins to the ACTIVE Network team. She will be taking over the newly created role of General Manager for our Ski & Attractions group. As such, Sheryl will drive worldwide efforts to advance RTP|ONE™ as the leading solution in the ski, parks and attractions markets.
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Helping Schools Gear Up for Back-to-School Season with New Onsite Payment Processing Tool

It might still be summer vacation, but in the blink of an eye, kids will be heading back to school – which means long lines to pay for registration, athletic fees, student ID cards, parking passes and more.  Just in time for this hectic season, we have released a new onsite payment processing tool for our Educate customers. This Card Present Sales solution allows schools using our Tracks™ and WebStore™ software to accept and process credit card payments onsite with immediate authorization.

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Wearable Technology Moves to Ski Goggles

Read our Foray into the World of Wearable Mobile Technology

Watching the transformation of mobile devices from basic phones with text-based web browsers to the powerful multi-tasking devices available today has been an experience.

As an avid mountain biker, I’m impressed with those willing to attach an iPhone to their handlebars to track an off-road ride. I try not to crash, but really have no interest in witnessing my phone shatter against a rock. How about those who risk strange tan lines and arm fatigue by strapping their electronic world to their arm before going on a run? Not me; I’ve earned a nice farmers tan from my cycling kit and I don’t really run that well anyway. Fortunately, there’s a logical evolution of devices happening and just now starting to enter the market in the form of wearable technology.

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