We all know that in order to stay a float during the summer months, we need to be holding successful summer programs. Read 5 Tips to creating or improving your summer camps below!

1.) Camp Mapping – Pull reports from last year’s summer and determine which ones did well and vice versa. Try to pin point if it was the scheduling, the theme, too many camps offered for that age group/too many options, last minute registration, lack of advertising, etc.

Sit down and re-structure if necessary. Meet with your team to write down the pros & cons from last summer and come up with ideas on how you can do better.

Determine what you are going to offer – less is more! Figure out how many kids you will need in each camp to make a profit (after supplies, payroll and YOUR time is paid for)….then begin to set prices and goals.

2.) Strategic Scheduling – Two to four day camps bring in a lot more kids in a short amount of time than running summer classes for a longer session. When beginning to schedule your summer programs, consider switching it up and offering short, themed camps over class sessions similar to your school year program.

Make sure to schedule these camps during weeks that you can get as many kids in as possible. Do some research by surveying your dance families or checking out other local community camps and avoiding those weeks. Also, do not schedule any camps during the first week after your recitals, the last week of summer before school starts OR the 4th of July week, as many people go out of town….I would avoid scheduling anything on a Friday as well. Lastly, consider your instructor’s schedules – send them a survey NOW to determine when you can assign them to teach camps and which camps they are interested in teaching.

3.) Themes – Make sure to do your research on the popular songs & movies for kids out there. Try not to be too specific with your themes, so that you can plan more of a variety into the camp. For example, instead of calling it Taylor Swift Camp, you might call it Rockstar Camp and be able to incorporate a bunch of rockstars or generic rockstar ideas.

Market your themes! Describe what you will be doing at the camp to entice people to register. If you’re putting on a Princess camp – have your marketing materials show a picture of each princess you will explore and describe that you will be creating princess wands & crowns, having a princess tea party, dancing at the royal ball and more!

4.) A Camp Plan – Make sure you are extra prepared in advance for your camps. Order supplies a month early (add in a few extras for late registrants), email out a reminder, your camp schedule, and attire suggestions to the families one week before camp. Hold a teacher meeting a few days before – At the meeting, assign each instructor their role at the camp – distribute music, instructions on activities, assign someone to make craft samples, etc.

Set – Up: On top of the usual set-up in the classroom and snack & craft supplies – Print out schedules to hang around the studio, make signs for where to check-in & pick-up, lay out name tags, decorate for your theme, and make sure the studio is CLEAN & inviting.

5.) WOW Them! – Get creative on a couple things you can do to WOW the families that attend your camps. Word of mouth is the best way to grow your summer program, and hopefully get some new dancers in for fall too! Here are a few ideas to use as a WOW (do not advertise that you will be doing these things).

Surprise for the Dancers – Maybe it’s a surprise visit from a princess or someone comes in to do hair & make-up as a surprise glam day before their camp show 🙂

Welcome Kits – As campers check-in, they could receive a little kit with the camp schedule, a trinket that pertains to the theme of your camp, a treat and a branded promo item!

Take Home Item – Send everyone home with a branded tank top or a tutu. Come up with an affordable item that they could wear for the end of camp show and then take home!