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gwd-scouter

Last minute sign ups for Day Camp

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At last night's roundtable the topic came up about people waiting until the last week before day camp to sign up.

 

Day Camp is promoted in our District beginning at February's District Banquet. Flyers are mailed to all registered Cub Scouts from Council in March or April. The Day Camp Director and/or Program Director goes to at least one Pack meeting for every Pack in our District and promotes camp.

 

Still, there is almost no attendance until about a week before camp and then they come flooding in. This makes it extremely difficult for the staff to plan T shirt orders, craft supplies, den numbers, etc. etc.

 

Do you have the same problem in your Districts? If not, what do you do to ensure early or even on time registration? Also, what are typical attendance numbers for your District?

 

I look forward to any advice that may help our District improve on time registration for Day Camp next year.

 

 

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We have had the same problems in the past. This year we only had 10 walk ups. This was my first year as camp director so here is what I did differently. I did not have a "late fee" on the registration forms. People are used to late fees and just don't care anymore. This year I offered an incentive to sign up early in the form of an "Early Bird " discount. I know it is the same thing but worded different and it worked. Also information was "leaked" that we may be running short on T-shirts and patches. I think next year our flyer will specifically state that we will only guarantee shirts and patches for boys that are pre- registered and walk ups will receive them as first come first served while supplies last. In previous years we have run short on shirts and patches and parents have complained. Now is there is a shortage and a parent complains I will honestly be able to tell them it is not my fault. I won't turn any boy away but I will make it more appealing to register early.

Kristi

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GWD, how do you staff your day camp? Around here it is expected that every pack will provide at least one person to work on staff. Consequently, pack leaders have a pretty good understanding of the need to get registrations in on time so that they can plan ahead for materials and equipment, etc.. If you staff your camp differently, it might be worth thinking about so as to give them a really good reason to get their acts together within their own packs regarding early registration.

 

Also, when is your day camp scheduled? Again around here - schools usually let out for the summer mid-week and day camp is often the first few days of summer vacation at the end of that week. Summer child care programs typically don't start until the following week so people are scrambling to figure out where to send their kids for those few days and cubs day camp looks like a pretty good option. I don't know that it has been planned that way exactly, but it does work in terms of getting people signed up early on. So our experience has been that most people do register early in the spring, though we still get a fair number of new Tiger registrations and a small handful of last minute cubs too.

 

And then I've found it helps to ask each pack to have one designated day camp contact (rather than assuming it will be the CM - who may be overwhelmed with other tasks and forget about day camp) with whom the day camp directors can communicate. If you can get that person on track then they can push their pack for you, rather than you having to try to get the whole pack leadership going.

 

I don't know if these things help? But I suppose it's a thought. Also I agree w/ Kristi that the "early bird" idea and the T shirt/patch guarantee only for those who register on time will help.

 

Lisa'bob

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Thanks for the responses so far.

 

I haven't worked Day Camp for many years, but usually am asked for input in the early planning stages (I guess because I DID do Day Camp and Cub Resident Camp for many many years).

 

Kristi: I like the idea of early bird incentive rather than late fee punishment. The limited T shirt and patch supply makes a good incentive too. I will certainly mention both to the folks for next year's planning.

 

LisaBob: Love the idea of requiring a person from each Pack to work on staff. Volunteers for staffing is also one of our biggest problems every year! Our schools let out 3rd week in May and our Day Camp is usually the 3rd week in June. Part of the problem is that the Packs talk about Day Camp up until they quit for the summer (some time in May) and then have no contact with the families until they return in the Fall.

 

Also a great idea to pick one or two people in each Pack to be the contact person for Day Camp.

 

Great ideas so far! Keep 'em coming!

 

 

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My luverly wife is the Dcamp Program Director which makes me...

First asst...

Publicity...

"specials" getter...

Fill in (who's missing on staff? archery? Scoutcraft? Den Round up? Skits? Campfire MC.....?)

Sign maker/poster...

Flag pole installer...

hey, it's my job it's what I do...

 

Any way...

*Lots of advance notice...

*Our council sponsors mucho district Dcamps, thuout the summer, so parents can go another week if they can't match the home District Dcamp...for a surcharge of...

*SOMEONE (not just me, fortunately)does a Pack "visitation" to talk up all forms of Cub Camping (not just Dcamp) in Feb- Mar- Apr-...

*It is required to register by Pack, got to have a Pack Camp Coordinator, with Den walkers listed, and if the numbers don't match, the Pack is called to task...

*We do the 'Early bird discount and special patch" thing. seems to help.

*On the friday evening before the first monday morning we have an early check in ""on site"",and Pack Den walkers training and T shirt pick up . THis allows folks to get familiar with the site and what is expected of the Den Walkers. It also seems to help enforce the prior early registration. Then monday morning is 95% done...

*Yes, we make it plain that last minute walk ups monday morning are added to a camp den after the fact, we don't hold things up for the late folks, and we insist that the attending parent serve as a Den walker for the day..., but yeah we sure don't turn someone away.

* Mostly I think lots of Drum Beating (roundtables, emails, visitations, word o' mouth)is what is necessary and ENFORCE the deadlines...

* and BOY is it fun...

 

YiS

 

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In our district, we have an early registration with a discount about one month before camp and a hard deadline about one week before camp. Its clearly communicated to scouts and leaders that too many late registrations and walk-ups make it very difficult to plan a quality Camp. We are also warned that walk-ups run the risk of not being able to get into camp if there are not enough adults to cover the campers Ive never seen this happen, but the warning itself seems to serve as strong incentive to sign-up before by deadline.

 

In short, we had a good response for early registration this year with a minimal number of walk-ups. Most of the walk-ups were newly registered Cubs.

 

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There is not a lot you can do about the last minute problem other than what has already been mentioned. We promote "Early Bird" discounts, the dates are on the council calendar as soon as it comes out (2006-07 has been on our council website since June!), promotions start at the District Kickoff in Aug.

 

We usually have registrations start to dribble in by the end of April. The bulk of them seem to come in at the end of the school year in May & June. Then we get another rush at the beginning of July, right before & right after the early bird cutoff. That number holds pretty steady until the week before camp when we will get the - "Oh gosh we forgot about Day Camp" crowd. District will not put out a firm cut off date & will even accept walk-ins (although we do not advertise that).

 

The only way to handle the uncertainty is to look at your historical numbers, your registrations, & plan on an estimated number of boys. We have space for 150 campers. Based on history & the flow of registrations, we planned on supplies for 75 and ended up at 67 campers. We ended up redoing the den listings the day before camp started to include extra boys. We had figured on plenty of dens & allowed for den growth, so we did not have to increase the number of dens, just the number of boys per den.

 

Using shirt availability as a stick will not work with our camps. Having every camper, den leader/walker, and staffer in a camp t-shirt is required so we know who belongs & who does not. It is one of our inspection points.

 

Also, the cost of the camp includes the shirt & patch. Do you refund a portion of their registration (or charge less) if they do not receive the shirt and/or patch that they paid for?

 

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Our Council (and thus all the Districts) also does Early Bird.

 

Early Bird is real close to actual cost.

 

Standard fee is something like half again more expensive.

 

Exception is NEW TIGERS JOINING UPON COMPLETION OF 1ST GRADE. A copy of the app is required to get this.

 

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I directed our districts day camp 4 years. This is something that drove me crazy. The second year two weeks before camp we had 138 boys registered. By the first day of camp we were at 179.. I had to order more supplies for crafts.

 

And regretfully Council doesn't seem to care.

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Ya'll were lucky you had notice about day camp I was approached two day before the money was due. Basicly I don't carry cash, and usually don't carry my checkbook to meetings. That kind of put me in a mood. Everybody in our council started complaining. The deadline was extended because it was the councils fault. I don't like being approached and told I need to give you money today or pay a late fee. Is mine the only council to drop the ball like that or is it common?

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I don't think council only would be to blame in a situation like that. It is up to our individual districts to promote Day Camp here. We have flyers ready a couple of months before camp and pass them out at every district organized event. We also have the flyers available and on display at council office. I visit all the packs I can and pass out flyers there as well. We also have a pdf form available on our district web site. The dates are posted in every district and council calander and I email pack and district leaders a couple of times per month up until the last month before camp, then I email once a week as a reminder.

Even after all of that I still have walk ups.

Kristi

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Most councils will have the dates of their various district's day camps on their council websites calendars. So, even if a district does not send out a flyer in a timely fashion, you can give them a call and ask what is up.

 

Usually it is the responsibility of each district to put together, promote & run their own day camp. This does NOT mean the DE. It means the district day camp camp director & day camp program director. These folks are VOLUNTEERS. Like anyone else, some are good at it and some are not. Sometimes things fall thru the cracks. Your district might have had a hard time finding someone to be Camp and/or Program Director. Things might have been late because they simply had no one to do them.

 

Why not volunteer to be a Camp Director or even a Staff member for next year's Day Camp? You can make sure things run smoother AND have fun!

 

BTW - You can go to ANY Day Camp. You are not restricted to just the day camps in your district.

 

 

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