The Power of Group Partnerships

Cooperation has become the buzzword from running a successful business to having a happy family. As you know, camps are probably one of the best places to help young people learn how to meet goals as a group. Challenge activities are great for building the sense of team and improving self-confidence. A challenge activity can be as simple as asking a group to travel from Point A to Point B following a few basic rules. Or, give them the challenge of getting everyone across a thirty-foot span with their only point of contact with the ground being one foot-long, two-by-four. Then, supply one less two-by-four than the number of people in the group and stipulate the group must form a human chain by holding hands. If one person releases a hand or steps on anything but a two-by-four, the group must start over and go back to Point A. This challenge activity will get everyone thinking, discussing, sharing, supporting, and probably laughing until they reach their goal. It is amazing how much people learn about others and themselves with this activity.

Helping to Package the Experience

After you create the content with the teachers and leaders, you should also work with them on packaging the experience. Here are some points to consider:

• Stay flexible on the format as you explore what they can afford and what your labor and facility costs will be.

• A one-day package might be the best place to start but keep in mind it will limit the distance people can reasonably travel and still be able to have a full-day of activity.

• Brown bag lunches help keep labor and cleaning costs down and everyone can eat what they like. You might want to consider selling refrigerated bottles of water or just build the cost into the cost of the day.

• Let everyone know you will open your camp store and give them a price list in their information packet. Also include applications for the next camping season. You can also direct them to your camp website for these items.

• Insist on the completion of a signed, parental informed consent form for every participant.

• Have a participant list (including group leaders) highlighting important medical history and contact information in case of a medical emergency.

• Include in your information packet suggestions of what to bring — clothing, sunscreen, lunch, cameras, insect repellant, etc.

• Offer activities able to be adapted to/for a complete range of fitness levels and ability levels.

• Incorporate photography to capture the spirit of the day. This can pay great dividends as it helps them to remember their experience and it can also drive traffic to your camp’s website. There are software packages and companies online that allow you to post photos people can buy with a credit or debit card. If you can manage to get a group shot, you can turn it into a post card you can send to everyone as a thank you and to promote your next event.

• Ask for feedback from all participants before they leave. You can even make the submission of the evaluation forms an entry to a raffle for camp merchandise.

Investing in a school-camp partnering program can be a great marketing tool and involving the leaders early on in the planning phase is a critical factor to ensure the program is not only relevant for everyone involved, but successful and fun.

Dr. Susan Langlois has over 25 years experience as a college professor, athletic administrator, camp director and sport facilities consultant. She is currently at the campus director at Springfield College School of Human Services in Manchester and St. Johnsbury. She can be reached at

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Related posts:

  1. The Power Of Partnerships
  2. The Power of the Postcard
  3. Developing The Dream Team
  4. Social Marketing
  5. Camp Partnerships — Byte by Byte

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