Summer Camp Setup: Dialing in the Details for Operational Success

Are you set up for summer camp success? Learn how to achieve smooth operations that separate good camps from great ones with the right tips, tools, and training.
min read

Summer is just around the corner, which means it's time to gear up for another season of fun under the sun! As a camp director, you know that dialing in the details on the operational side is what separates good camps from great ones. From registration and staffing to facilities and child safety, every piece must fall into place seamlessly. To help you out, we've put together a fun and informative guide to ensure your camp runs smoothly. So, grab your sunglasses and dive into these essentials for summer camp success!

Make Registration and Payments a Summer Breeze

Stacks of papers flying in the wind, missing signatures and waivers, and incomplete payments can take the wind out of your sails and your sales.

ACTIVE’s Camp & Class Manager can transform your registration system into a streamlined, user-friendly experience. Here’s how:

  • Automate Your Process: Gone are the days of paper forms and manual entries. Allow parents to register multiple kids at once, reducing errors and saving time for everyone.
  • Flexible Payment Options: Offer multiple payment plans to accommodate different budgets. Parents can pay in full or set up a payment plan, making camp accessible to more families.
  • Real-Time Reporting: Keep track of registration numbers, financials, and attendee information with real-time reporting features. This ensures you’re always on top of your camp’s logistics.
  • Customized Registration Forms: Tailor your registration forms to gather all the necessary information about your campers, from medical history to activity preferences, ensuring a safe and personalized camp experience.

Certified Super Staff: Must-Have Trainings

Your staff is the heart of your camp, and their preparation is crucial for a smooth operation. Sixty-four percent of parents look for information about whether staff have first aid training (National Poll on Children’s Health).

Here’s how to ensure your staff is ready for anything:

  • CPR and First Aid Training: Ensure all staff members are certified in CPR and first aid. The American Red Cross and local health organizations offer comprehensive training courses. These certifications can be lifesaving and are often required by state regulations.
  • Lifeguard Certification: If your camp includes swimming activities, lifeguard certification is a must. The YMCA and other aquatic training providers offer courses that teach essential water safety skills.
  • Specialized Activity Training: Depending on your camp’s offerings, staff may need additional training. For example, if you have a climbing wall, ideally your staff should be trained in climbing safety and rescue techniques.
  • Ongoing Professional Development: Encourage your staff to participate in professional development throughout the summer. This could include team-building exercises, leadership workshops, and activity-specific training sessions.

Spick and Span: Facility Cleanliness and Maintenance

A clean and well-maintained facility not only creates a welcoming environment but also ensures the safety and health of your campers and staff. When selecting a summer camp, 64% of parents look for information on camp inspections or safety ratings and 57% look for information on emergency preparedness plans (National Poll on Children’s Health).

Here are some tips to keep your camp in tip-top shape:

  • Regular Cleaning Schedules: Develop a comprehensive cleaning schedule that covers all areas of the camp, from cabins and restrooms to dining halls and activity areas. Assign specific tasks to staff members to ensure accountability.
  • Maintenance Checks: Conduct regular maintenance checks on all equipment and facilities. This includes inspecting playgrounds, sports equipment, and any other structures for wear and tear.
  • Eco-Friendly Practices: Consider teaching campers about recycling and not littering to promote sustainability and a clean camp environment.
  • Emergency Preparedness: Plan for emergencies and health-related events, such as infectious illnesses. Staff should have protocols for contacting families in the event of a serious health threat.

Not a Game of Telephone: Communicating With Families

Communication with campers’ families should not resemble a game of telephone. This is essential in building trust and ensuring a smooth camp experience where everyone is on the same page.

“Eight percent of parents report their child has a specific health issue that a summer camp would need to accommodate, including allergies, medication need, physical disability, or mental health concerns.” (National Poll on Children’s Health)

Camp & Class Manager has features that facilitate effective communication so nothing gets lost in translation:

  • Automated Emails and Alerts: Send automated emails and alerts to parents. This can include registration confirmations, payment reminders, and important updates about camp activities.
  • Parent Portals: Provide parents with access to a secure online portal where they can view their child’s schedule, upcoming events, and any important notices. This transparency helps alleviate concerns and keeps everyone informed.
  • Photo and Video Updates: Share the fun of camp by sending regular photo and video updates. Parents love to see their kids enjoying their time at camp, and it’s a great way to build excitement, engagement, and return visits to recapture those happy moments.
  • Feedback Surveys: At the end of each session, send out feedback surveys to parents. Their input can provide valuable insights into what’s working well and what could be improved for future sessions.

Safety First: Check in, Check out, and Keep Track

Ensuring the safety of your campers is a top priority, and Camp & Class Manager was designed with child safety and parent worries in mind. Here's how to use these tools effectively:

  • Streamlined Check-In and Check-Out: CCM provides a seamless check-in and check-out process, allowing you to track attendance accurately. Parents can check their children in using a digital system, which reduces the risk of errors and speeds up the process.
  • Authorized Pickup Management: Ensure only authorized individuals can pick up campers. Parents can list authorized pickup persons during registration, and staff can verify identities quickly and efficiently at pickup time. This feature adds an extra layer of security and peace of mind for parents.
  • Attendance Tracking: Use the attendance tracking feature to monitor camper whereabouts throughout the day. This is especially useful for large camps or those with multiple activities happening simultaneously. Knowing exactly where each camper is at all times enhances overall safety and accountability.

Sing Around the Campfire Instead of Putting Out Fires

Prepping for summer camp doesn’t have to be stressful. With the right tools and strategies, you can ensure everything runs smoothly, allowing you and your staff to focus on creating memories for your campers.

Camp & Class Manager is your go-to solution for efficient registration, communication, safety, and overall camp management. It has the best camps in the world singing around the campfire, along with 33K+ organizations in 124 countries singing our praises!

Ready to free up your time and fill up your camp?

Book a demo with the ACTIVE team to learn more today!


“Considering Camp? Don’t Overlook Health and Safety.” National Poll on Children’s


Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.

May 23, 2024
See how ACTIVE can help your organization grow.
Schedule a DemoSchedule a DemoSchedule a Demo
More from the blog
View all
Never miss a minute.
Learn about best practices, community stories, product updates, and more.
We will never share your email address with third parties.