The Power of Group Partnerships

Partnering with area schools and working to bring their students and teachers to your camp not only adds to your bottom line, but is also a powerful promotional tool which can boost your traditional enrollment and enhance your camp’s image.

Bringing The School (Or Class) To Camp

Bringing a local school, grade or individual class to camp can be very attractive to teachers and students. After all, you provide plenty of opportunities for hands-on learning experiences (different from what they experience in a classroom setting) that reinforce what’s being learned in the classroom in a fun and memorable way. In fact, when done successfully, these partnerships can become the highlight of the year – something incoming classes hear about and look forward to – now that’s marketing!

And, the best part? Breaking into this market isn’t as hard as you might think. You simply need to reach out to the schoolteacher (or church group leader, athletic team coach, after school program coordinator, local business association director, etc.) and find out what topics they’re covering and what their goals are for their students/members. Often you’ll find teachers have a specific content area they think needs to be “cranked up a notch” and are already looking for ways to drive home their lesson(s). Your programming may just fit the bill.

And, since camps allow students to learn in a totally different setting and are masters at making everything fun, your opportunities are virtually endless. You can work to develop experiential, activity-based programs with math, science, English/language arts or even physical education teachers. Or, if you decide to target youth groups instead of schools, you can focus on nurturing so-called soft skills like self-confidence, leadership, sportsmanship, civic responsibility and respect for individual differences.

The key is to connect with the teacher (or group leader), get a clear understanding of their goals and then design a program around his or her wishes.

You’ll find developing a partnership with the teacher by working to integrate their lessons with the camp activities is a great way to ensure satisfaction – and a lot of fun.

Critical Thinking Activities

Still not convinced you can fill the “educational requirement?”

Don’t worry. You can integrate just about any learning objective into your standard set of activity based programming if you focus on activities requiring students to use critical thinking skills and peer cooperation to achieve a specific goal.

This may sound complicated but it is actually pretty easy and a lot of fun to create. Critical thinking basically involves comparing and contrasting, noting significant similarities and differences, formulating predictions, and examining the evidence to support or refute predictions. These critical thinking skills could be easily applied and learned by students in a camp environment.

For example, if students were learning about the center of gravity principle in their science class, a camp obstacle course could be the perfect setting to explore and understand how changes to the center of gravity can affect the ability to maintain your balance by asking students to explore how bending and straightening their legs impacts their ability to complete a log walk. Students can compare and contrast different angles of their knee flexion, observe the angle which seems to give the body the most ability to maintain balance, then formulate and test the theory of the optimal degree of knee flexion by examining the evidence to support or refute the prediction that a given knee flexion will ensure successful completion of the log walk.

Peer Cooperation Activities

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