It’s that time of year again. It’s time to plan for summer activities and events. We all know how difficult it can be to come up with exciting new themes and activity ideas for camps, but we have some helpful tips that you can use to make the job easier. Consider these points as you begin your planning:
- If you’re not sure what’s popular with “kids these days” – ASK! You already have a great sample of lots of different kids across a variety of ages, and they’ll be happy to tell you what they’re most excited about. Of course, you can always browse through pop culture trends online if you need more help – right now, things like Ninja Turtles, Star Wars, comic book heroes, and Kung Fu Panda, are all popular with kids and fit perfectly within the martial arts framework. And there’s even more out there! The biggest tip when dealing with copyrighted themes is to use caution with your wording, use of images, and advertising, as infringing on others’ intellectual property can result in a cease and desist letter from the rights holders, or worse!
- If you already have a theme, the next step is to have activities that are inline the theme. Certain themes lend themselves naturally to various props/weapons that can be used for activities. For example, you can purchase inexpensive, plastic light-up swords similar to lightsabers for only a few dollars each and use them for activities and drills. For a camp based on Ninja Turtles, you might want to use foam nunchaku that will work well and are fun for kids to learn how to use like their favorite turtle.
- Finally, when constructing your camp, try to have a plan of related, but different themes. Having only a single theme all the time will get boring fast and having too many themes becomes overwhelming or hard to manage. Your themes should work well together. For example, you could create a “Lightsaber Camp” and later a “Samurai Sword Camp.” This shares similarity in props or even drills, but with a different application and focus. Familiar, but new.
- Extra Pro-tip: Always make sure to build off your strengths and available resources. Don’t offer a theme you’re uncomfortable with or ill-equipped to pull off! Doing so only stresses out your staff and leads to camps that are more work than they’re worth. Check that your staff and assistants have adequate training to enable them to teach or run the theme activities with confidence. You may even consider letting them pick the themes themselves!
Well thought out and organized summer camps will only strengthen your relationship with students and their families. With these tips you will be well on your way to planning and executing the most exciting summer camps in your area, maximizing new student acquisition, and student retention.