The end of the school year is quickly approaching. That means campus rec departments are gearing up their summer camp offerings for youth participants. While most campers are registered, departments are still fine-tuning their staff and schedules.
Marshall University (Marshall) Campus Recreation’s Healthy Herd Youth Camp is currently in this stage of final preparations. Healthy Herd is an active, full-day camp complete with games, activities, swimming and lunch options for attendees. The camp is open for children ages 5-12.
Zach Kula, the assistant director of Programs: Competitive Sports, Camps and Outdoor Pursuits, said Marshall finds success in this offering thanks in part to student employees.
“They have a true desire to work with kids,” said Zula. “We hire under the philosophy that we can teach anyone to do the job, but we cannot teach you how to be a good person. Our campers and parents love our counselors. That is a big reason why kids return to our camp year after year. Word of mouth is very powerful in our community. Our supervisors are very good at pivoting and making sure there is very little dead time campers experience during the day.”
Kula detailed below his top tips in planning an effective campus rec summer camp.
Summer Camp Tips
1. It’s never too early to start planning.
Kula said every year at the end of camp he sits down with his student leaders to debrief. They discuss what went well, what didn’t, and what needs to be changed or added for next year. The team then documents and stores their findings.
“Having it available once the planning process begins again is crucial,” said Kula. “We start planning our weekly themes and schedules in November, if not earlier, for a Memorial Day week start of camp. Yes, we will make changes to that schedule as we get closer to camp time. But having the heavy lifting out of the way really helps us stay ahead of the game.”
2. Organization is Key.
Parents give campus recreation departments the privilege of looking after their children during summer camp. All departments must make sure anything they can control administratively is under control and easily to reference if needed.