September/October 2019 - 55

this helps promote the camps and schools. It's always a
positive when your school's camps increase their visibility
in the area.
Marketing camps
If not marketed properly, camps can be destined
for failure. Whether using social media, mailings or
advertising, the key is to find what works and do it
consistently. For example, if you are receiving positive
responses in your target market from Facebook or Twitter,
continue that on a regular basis.
An excellent technique for marketing camps is hosting
open houses. I found that when parents and kids are able
to visit the school and see the facilities, they are more
likely to enroll. By offering discounts, they frequently sign
up before leaving the meeting.
I'm often asked if distributing camp brochures is still
necessary in the digital age. My answer is almost always
" yes. " Parents still like to see a brochure in the mail. It
gives the camp a level of prestige, and the sign up form
makes enrollment simple.
Having a professional, easy-to-navigate website also is
an essential marketing tool for camps. It's suggested that
the website be separate from the athletic department's
homepage, with links connecting the two. Camps also
should be registered at all online camp directories and be
easy for parents and kids to locate.
When marketing a camp, remember to include everyone
in the school. To do this, send an email to students and
staff with information on the upcoming sessions. Many
teachers like the idea of their kids and grandchildren
attending camp so close to where they work. Athletic
directors can even get alumni involved.
An invaluable asset
One of the foremost reasons for operating camps is
generating interest among the kids. Camps frequently
are the starting point for youngsters to begin playing
competitive sports, and often this leads to playing on their
high school teams and beyond.
" Sports camps and clinics are a crucial way in
which collegiate athletic departments can engage
their surrounding communities, " said Terry Small,
commissioner of the New Jersey Athletic Conference. " I've
seen firsthand at a number of different institutions how
a child's participation in a sport camp might be the first
exposure that a family has to a particular school campus.
Many times, it's those crucial first exposures that lead to a
lifelong love of sport, and a greater connection between the
institution and its surrounding community as a whole. "
Small's words are applicable to high school athletic
directors and articulate how important sports camps can
be. If managed correctly, camps can be among a school's
most valuable assets in reaping both community and
financial support.
Bruce Knittle is a former sports camp owner, Hall
of Fame inducted coach, and previously ran a sports
consulting company specializing in working with athletic
directors and coaches.
COACHAD.COM 55
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