Be A Good Neighbor

While shaking hands and distributing schedules, listen to the neighbors’ feedback and share it with your team. You and the camp staff have a responsibility (and, in certain cases, a legal obligation) to adapt your waterfront program to create a healthy relationship with the folks next door.

Welcome Wagon

Unless your neighbors bought or rented their properties without checking into who else might live on the block, they may be unaware that a camp exists nearby. Like any good neighbor would, invite them over.

Provide a tour of the camp to the locals (with their kids on-site, if allowed), detailing what they can expect from the program. If timing and policy allow, include visitors in some programming so they have a hands-on understanding of the camp.

Many camps offer open houses or “open to the public” days that highlight the camp programs, offering guests the opportunity to try the ropes course or ride a horse.

At the end of the tour, give the guests contact information regarding the people who will handle any future interactions. Hopefully, these interactions will be positive, but in the event they are not, at least the neighbors will know whom to contact. Some examples follow:


  • Camp/property ownership–concerns over property lines, traffic flow, real-estate opportunities
  • Camp leadership–interactions with staff and volunteers, noise complaints, program suggestions
  • Employment and volunteer recruitment, and service group staff–interest in volunteering or referring a candidate, assisting with a “camp clean-up” day
  • Development and fundraising team–interest in providing financial support to the program.

Ultimately, the efforts you and your team make towards creating and maintaining a partnership with the neighbors will impact the success of a waterfront program and camp in general. Donors, volunteers, supporters, and critics are right next door, so go and say hello!

John Lefner is the assistant director of operations at the Double H Ranch, a year-round program for kids diagnosed with life-threatening illnesses, located in Lake Luzerne, N.Y. For information on the Double H Ranch, visit


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Related posts:

  1. Just Add Water
  2. Waterfront Safety And Preparation
  3. Wading Through Possibilities
  4. Buddy Up!
  5. Alternative Adventures

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