Giving Programming a Chance

The speedboats used for water skiing will then be used for the sailing program as rescue and instruction boats. Remember, when discontinuing a program plan for the use of the equipment or disposal so that it is not left lying around your camp as a ghost of past programs and creating clutter.

Sometimes, pure economics force the immediate discontinuation of a program. In that case a camp should try and introduce two new options to the camp — two programs, because it seems to be more understandable to the camp that these two new programs took the place of the old, versus a one-for-one situation.

In a one-for-one situation you’re bound to hear that the old program was better. It’s a simple trick and doesn’t have to be a large, expensive program like sailing. The introduction of a new theme day, if done correctly, can be as successful for you as a new and expensive program.

No director will ever truly beat the old Change is Scary Monster initially, but we will always defeat it in the long run. Camps are cycles, and the introduction of new programs and traditions take multiple seasons to take seed in our ever-changing camper population.

Remember that most campers experience your place for one week out of the year, and then return a year later an older and different child. Camp programs need multiple seasons to see if your programs are keepers or if they should be replaced.

Good luck…

Jeff Merhige is the executive director of YMCA Camp Kern, Dayton YMCA, Dayton, Ohio.

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