Liquid Gold

Tapping into camp revenue--and camp marketing awareness.

Because of the syrup’s quality, customers not only kept coming back for more, but spread the word about the syrup and the camp to friends and family. Interestingly, the camp eventually developed a fine reputation, not only for quality maple syrup, but also for quality programs and staff members.

As both programs continued to grow, more volunteers and alumni began to buy into the camp. Eventually, enough alumni and donors came on board to fund and build a permanent home for a “sugar barn.” Using onsite timber and the assistance of some Amish barn craftsmen, more than 30 volunteers joined in on a barn-raising for the maple-syrup program!

Soon after, one alumnus who heard about the project emerged and donated all of the necessary funds to build a large wood shed, which was constructed by the same Amish crew.

Spring 2011 was the highest production year ever, with over 300 gallons of syrup from about 300 trees, generating significant income. While a small amount of the production is used by the camp’s kitchen and food service, large quantities are sold to some of the Presbyterian congregants and other alumni who have had long-term connections to the camp.

Some camp volunteers over the years have even developed a customer and distribution base through the area’s Farmer’s Market. This type of market has proven to be real opportunities for summer camping interest and promotion. Quantities large and small, bought by our customers for gifts each holiday, are yet other potential customers for Christian camping at Pleasant Hill, and end users are exposed to the website address, where more can be learned about the camps.

What began as an idea to supply the camp with a few extra operating dollars has blossomed into much more, serving as a rallying point for many alumni who have rediscovered their love for the camp and the memories of summer days gone by. The camp’s director and staff have worked hard to reestablish this proud program.

Each bottle of syrup serves an important and unique role in revitalizing the camp’s heritage. We sometimes just refer to it as “liquid gold.”

Scott Hall is the executive director Pleasant Hill Outdoor Camp in Perrysville, Ohio. He can be reached via email at director@phoc.org.

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