Away from the city

People of all ages are increasingly longing for a new environment with beautiful surroundings to meet new people and engage in some fun, exciting and refreshing activities. 

Camping is one of the greatest activities that can meet that longing and to bring people together,create great memories and give them the tools and skills they need to deal with their social or intellectual lives. 

To a learner, a camp can offer a powerful escape from the difficulties school life may present and allow them the opportunity to slow down and get a better sense of who they are. 

However planning a  camp does require some good knowledge as well as a long season of good preparation. If you do not carefully plan out and put together everything you need for the camp, it can turn out to be a very miserable and a bad experience . Here are some tips that can help you to plan a camp properly and bring out the best of it.

1) Determine the theme or goal of your camp.

Are you going camping  for fun, team building, family reunion, a friends getaway, adventure , leadership or other? 

 Some helpful questions you might also ask yourself are:

  • How far do you want to travel? 
  • What do you want to achieve at the camp?
  • How long do you want your camp to be?
  • How many people are you going with?
  • What kind of budget are you looking at?

These questions will help you decide on where you want to go and how long you want to be there. 

 

It is very important to pick a theme that is going to excite the campers, develop them and keep them engaged and focused throughout the camp.

Keeping the team engaged and focused on their set activity at Camp Zenith.

2) Find a venue. 

Gather as much information as you can about the camp site. Find its brochures , ask people who have been there, visit their website,check them on social media and check people’s reviews. 

If possible, arrange a site visit so you can see the campsite for yourself and give it your own stamp of approval. 

Check the location of campsite. 

  • Is it safe?
  • Is it accessible?
  • How far are the nearest emergency services like hospitals and police stations?
  • What facilities does the campsite offer? e.g en-suite rooms, obstacle courses, recreational facilities, play grounds etc.
  • What services does the campsite offer e.g facilitated programmes, catering or kitchen hire etc.
  • Check their action plan in case of emergency. 
  • Do they have trained first aid staff in case of an emergency? 

Getting all these necessities documented puts campers and/or their parents at ease thus giving them the comfort and assurance about the safety of the camp. 

When you are happy with the venue you can now set your dates for the camp and ask for a quotation.

The right accommodation defines the perfect venue. Chalets at Camp Zenith
 

3) Design your camp programme

Depending on what you want to achieve on your camp, you may choose to allow the campsite to run the programme for you. Alternatively you can design your own programme.

When planning your camp programme with a camp facilitator at the campsite or on your own, these are some useful questions to ask yourself to help you achieve your outcomes.

  • What do you want to accomplish with your camp?
  • In terms of enrichment and learning, what do you want your campers to achieve? 

The aim here is to try and keep your campers as busy as they can be and at the same time staying in line with the theme and goal of your camp. 

This can keep your camp organized, ensuring that there is never wasted time. 

When the campsite is organising the programme for you, it is very useful to give them as much information as you can about the campers e.g their age group, physical abilities, medical conditions if there are any etc.

 

 4) Price your camp.

Once youve received and accepted a quotation from your chosen campsite and developed a proper programme for your camp you can then set a fair price for your campers. 

Keep in mind your budget and profit goals, but dont forget to consider the market you are in .

Pricing too low not only sends a message that the camp experience isnt valuable, but it also makes you loose out on important revenue opportunities. Pricing too high might leave your campers in a situation where they can’t afford to join in on all the fun and learning that will happen at camp.

While planning your pricing, please keep in mind transport costs and extra equipment that you might need at the campsite like a bonfire, sound system, projector and other variables that the campsite might be able to hire to you. 

 

5) Advertise your camp.

Know your target audience and implement effective marketing campaigns to attract the right people you are targeting your camp at.

How profitable do you expect your camp to be? If for instance you want your camp to run at the end of the year your advertising plan should be running right from the first months of the year. This helps you to stay engaged with your campers and it gives them enough time to raise the funds. 

Your advertising should be eye-catching and exciting so it can engage and draw as many campers as you want.

If its a church camp, it may be good to organise regular meetings to keep your campers updated.

Please note that it is very important to secure your date at the campsite early by paying deposit and submitting all the necessary documents to avoid inconveniences at the last minute.

Advertising exciting and eye catching activities will draw many campers like. Like these waterballs at Camp Zenith

6) Gather as much information as you can.

It is also very important to gather as much information as you can about your campers such as their:

  • dietary requirements,
  • their allergies,
  • medical conditions,
  • physical abilities / disabilities etc.

Give out indemnity forms to your campers to ensure their safety in case of any accidents that can occur during the camp. 

Some information you might need that could impact your programme or the liquidity of the camp:

  • How much outdoor space do you need?
  • Are you going to need any halls or meeting space?
  • In case of unfavourable weather, do you have any back up plans?
  • What equipment are you going to need to use?
  • What sort of space does this equipment require?

In short, consider the theme of your camp and plan all the activities that campers will be taking part in accordingly.

 

7) Keep good Communication.

Keeping a good communication with both your campers and the campsite is very crucial. 

Keep the campsite informed of any changes or any special requests you might have such as:

  • Venue set up,
  • Sleeping arrangements,
  • Number of campers,
  • Number of leaders,
  • Meal times,
  • Your arrival and check out time,
  • Your programme so that the camp site can be fully prepared for you by the time of your arrival.
  • Inform the campsite of any extra equipment that you might need like sound equipment, projector, bonfire etc so that they can be readily available as well on your arrival.
 

8) Check your kit list.

As the camp date approaches, it is important to check that you have all the things you need. 

  • Does the campsite provide bedding or cutlery if not, then inform campers to bring their own.
  • Do not forget your first aid kit, it is very important to take your own along even if the campsite has their own.
  • Collect all the indemnity forms from campers, obviously signed by either themselves or their parents/ guardians if they are too young to sign for themselves.
  • Inform you campers about bringing all the necessary camping items like torches, comfortable shoes, sun blocks, swimming clothes, insect repellents, bath and swimming towels , toiletries and anything else your programme may require them to bring along.
Always pack the right kit list. Campers arriving excitedly at Camp Zenith with all their gear in tow.
 
 
9) Keep calm and enjoy the camp. 
 
It can sometimes be very frustrating to get things going on the starting day of your camp. 
 
Be prepared that anything can go wrong as you are about to head out for a camp e.g transport delays, campers showing up late, or cancelling on the last minute. 
 
Always try to keep calm when such things happen. Remember that your campers might see you when you panic and this might affect their mood negatively. 
 
Please keep the names of all your campers so you can keep control of them at all times. 
 
If you have young campers, it might be helpful to keep their medication as well so you can ensure that they take at the right time. It is advisable to inform young campers to leave their valuable accessories such as cellphones, cameras behind to avoid loosing them during the camp.
 
There is a lot to keep track of when it comes to running a camp, but you definitely dont want to overlook the most important questions: 
  • Are my campers actually enjoying themselves? 
  • Is the camp site delivering services as per your agreement?
  • Is the goal or theme of your camp getting fulfilled? 
Campers excitement is always the biggest priority at Camp Zenith.

10) Evaluation

After the camp, it is very important to collect feedback from your campers, and if possible their parents too.

This will help improve your future camps. 

Campersresponses will tell you which activities they found most rewarding and fun, and which (if any) need improvement. 

In addition, ask for feedback on individual aspects of their camp experience, such as:

  • Activities,
  • Counsellors,
  • Facilities,
  • you can ask for more general comments, such as what they liked most (and least) about camp and
  • any suggestions they might have for new or better experiences.

From parents/guardians you can find out:

  • How they learned about your camp,
  • whether it was easy to find information and register,
  • whether your rates are reasonable for most families,
  • their impressions of the staff they interacted with.
Then put all your feedback neatly together in one document and save it for easy reference for the next time you plan a camp, or pass it on to the next person in your organisation that will be planning a similar camp to yours in the near future.
 
Getting feedback from your campers helps evaluate the whole camp.
 
 
 I hope you find this article useful and helpful in planning and running your camp. God bless!
 
Sandile Ndlovu
Camp Zenith Facilitation Manager

 

Away From The City, Camping Begins!

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