Brian Frick is the Associate for Camp and Conferences Ministries with the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). He has been involved in camp and conference ministry since high school. For the past ten years, Brian has served as program director of Johnsonburg Center in New Jersey, Westminster Woods in California, and Heartland Center in Missouri.
Camp and conference ministry compliments and partners with other ministry aspects of our church to foster faith development and reflection. As our communities and our church changes, our ministries need to grow and adapt with creative and emergent programming and leadership to meet new realities.
These blogs entries, though varied, are intended to spur thought and conversation around the opportunities and challenges before us.
Simple communications throughout the year with your campers leads to a higher level of retention. Ask any of the “big” camps in your area and I bet you will find they are effective in reaching their campers throughout the year.
Some use facebook, emails or other tools. One simple tool I have seen often is for counselors to write a Happy Birthday postcard to each of their campers each week that the year round staff mail out. Sounds harder than it is. Not hard to write 6-8 postcards for your counselors. And when you get them, put them in 12 monthly folders and send them out at the beginning of the month, or 2x per month if you want. Postcards take a while to get there anyway.
It’s things like this that tell the campers and parents that you care, that they are more than a number.
What do you do to retain campers? How do you, or do you, stay in contact with campers throughout the years? Have you tried anything that does not work?