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cajuncody

Rebuilding Twilight Camp Reputation

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Greetings,

I am going to become the Camp Director for our District Twilight Camp next year. This camp is dying. Out of 300+ Cubs in the district there are only 20 registered to attend and the camp is next week. I will be working the camp this year as a volunteer.

My question is to all of you, what can I do in the upcoming year to develop interest and increase numbers. I have planned on a blanket email to all Packs introducing myself and asking what they want to see in the camp and trying to bring about those changes. I have also visited a very well run and popular camp in another district and have some wonderful ideas from them to incorporate.

I know that this camp is suffering because of past mistakes and poor leadership and I really need to work hard to turn this around. Have any of you done this before?

Kristi

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You need to sell, sell, sell.

 

Visit every unit with an engaging presentation that wows the kids and makes them whine to their parents that they really 'gotta go' to this camp. Have the registration forms right there with you to strike while the irons hot.

 

Promote at your roundtable to hook the adult leaders in (and their kids). Again...sell this as THE place to be.

 

Recruit a strong group of volunteers (who will bring their own kids) selected from each unit that will be the internal sales guy/gal to promote this event. Provide them with all the promo materials, handouts, forms they will need to make the selling as easy as possible.

 

Of course, you hopefully will have developed a great 'product' to sell. Start recruiting your activity directors now and have a big brainstorming session to flush out new ideas. Again, seek activity directors from different units and allow them to recruit their own staffs. Expanding the number of adults involved will automatically increase the number of scouts attending.

 

Obviously, the planning should start now to make sure the product and the sales effort is given the time and attention it deserves.

 

Good luck.

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How could I sell my camp to you if you had been there before and really was not impressed. New leadership will only sell so much. What would it take to personally win YOU over?

Kristi

 

Email sent to other packs in my district today:

 

Greetings to everyone. I hope you are all enjoying your summers.

I am sending this email to all of you regarding next years Twilight Camp for our district. As most of you know I will be the Camp Director. As most of you also know our camp is not what it could be. With about 300 registered Cubs in our district we are looking at maybe having 30 attend camp this year. This says to me that there is a problem with our camp. I hope to rectify this problem with your help.

First off we will have several positions that need to be filled to get an early start on camp planning for the upcoming year. I hope to fill the positions with leaders from other packs to help divirsify core staff members. If you would like to volunteer for one of the positions please let me know.

Also, I would like get your feedback on past camps and suggestions for future camps to help rebuild our camp.

Rebuilding our camp will not be an easy task as boys tend to remember past disappointments for a long time.

Please email your replys to me and hopefully I will see you at camp.

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When I was 19 I had a Mustang II - that car was a piece of junk and I swore I would never buy another Ford (let alone a Mustang). I really like the look of the new Mustang and am planning to go to a dealership later this week to test drive one. Call it a middle-age crisis, but I can really see myself in a bright red convertible Mustang. I am selling myself on it more each day.

 

Most reasonable people will give things a second chance, especially when they have confidence in the ability of the new leadership to put together a quality product. Forge ahead with confidence, attract other volunteers with a positive can-do attitude, and folks will notice that there is something new and different now that may be attractive.

 

From a marketing point of view, perhaps consider calling this event by a different name than that used in prior years. That way, you can disassociate from prior disasters. Maybe refer to it by the selected theme name to capture both the unsuspecting and the jaded.

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Kristi,

 

Semper is on the right track. Your e-mail immediately starts out highlighting the negative, reminding people that the "camp is not what it could be." That immediately turns people off ... they say, she's right, that camp is the pits. Even the name "Twilight camp" sounds negative to me...sounds like a rest home for old scouters!

 

If you are going to reinvent the camp, then bury the old one and leave it buried and never mention it again. Start a new camp. New name, new Director, new program, new location (if possible), etc. Say nothing negative in your e-mail. Highlight only positive things. You need to instill excitement and enthusiasm and if you embody that, it will be contagious.

 

Good luck!

 

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Absolutely- 'rebrand' it. Companies do it because it works. Shake off the bad connotations and start from scratch- you pretty much are anyway!

 

As for your e-mail... I am not sure it would notivate ME the way you are hoping for. In fact, it might well cause me to subtly step even further away. It seems to promise a lot of hard work for an unsure return.

 

 

I think I would send something more along the lines of....

 

"Greetings fellow Scouters!

 

We are starting planning for an ALL-NEW CUB CAMP experience to roll out in 2006. New ideas, new programs, new management, and new opportunities!

 

We know you have some ideas that would make next year's camp an exciting event and we want to hear them! Reply to this e-mail, call me at 123-4567, or see me at the next Roundtable (7:00 pm, Thursday, Flebuary 40th, at St. Ed's) to let me know what you think.

 

With everyone's ideas and creative energy, this is going to be a great camp! If you want to share in the fun, we can always use more enthusiastic people. Contact me."

 

 

 

 

Besides this, I'd try to set up a booth at Roundtable(s), Pow-Wow, etc. High-energy booth with balloons and things to do if possible. Handouts are always good! Try to get blurbs read at every training session or district/council-level Cub event you can. Take out ads in the council newsletter, etc.

 

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Wow! That is exactly the kind of advise that keeps me coming back for more. I didn't think about the email like that. Well, good thing I haven't sent it yet.

Keep those ideas coming!

Kristi

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Here's a few ideas to toss around.

 

Personally contact/meet/persuade (no arm-twisting now, that's not scout like!) each Pack's Cubmaster. That person's opinion and enthusiasm usually carries a lot of weight with the rest of the Pack leadership. With 300 cubs in your district, I'm guessing that's only about a dozen people/meetings. I wouldn't rely on roundtable, it's too big (or too small) and not personal enough.

 

If you can plan some activities that (brief pause while I assemble and put on full body armour) partially fullfill some reqruirements at each level, the program becomes more appealing to the den leaders. I know, I know, summer camp is supposed to be about fun, not advancement. BUT, speaking as a former Bear and Webelos den leader, I always wanted to know up front if any requirements could be fullfilled by attending camp. Just made my job a little easier. Of course, if the scout sat like a lump on a log, I didn't give him credit for the requirement.

 

Have a contest for cubs to design the camp patch. Make it the kind that comes with a loop for hanging on the right hand pocket button. Have all the staff wearing theirs the whole time and make a big deal out of presenting the camp patches (have the leaders put them on the scouts' uniforms right then and there!) at the closing ceremony. The patch becomes a visible form of advertising that is less likely to get tossed in a drawer and forgotten.

 

Hmm, this sounds like fun, maybe I should start up one of these in my district!

(This message has been edited by CubsRgr8)

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cajoncody:

 

The posters hear are right on. I would add a thought. Now its just a thought mind you. The name Twilight Camp sounds like a retirement home. You may consider or test the waters of the possibility of changing the name of the camp to something with a little more action in it.

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