In the How to Camp series, I wrote about how to streamline the camp preparation process. I talked about budgeting, registration forms, and incentivized registration. For the past three years, I honed this process at my church in Austin, TX and saw significant success. The marker for success was this:

  • 50-60% of registrations submitted on opening day (4 months before camp)
  • 14% of registrations submitted in the final month of registration
  • Registration closed SIX weeks before camp began
  • Camp came in UNDER budget

The big question I had was, “Will this work somewhere else?”

The immediate response I get from people when I talk about this process is, “Yeah, but our people are ALWAYS late.” Even when they say this, I remember 5 years ago when I had three teenagers show up at camp check-in with all their forms and cash in hand, kids we didn’t even know were planning on coming to camp. Five years ago I would have said, “Yeah, but our people are ALWAYS late.”

A few months ago, I moved to Arizona to lead a new NextGen team. I arrived in the middle of summer just as kids were loading buses and heading to camp. I saw the same issue that so many churches face. 70-80% of registrations coming in over the last 2-3 weeks (before camp begins). The staff is exhausted chasing down waivers. Actually, 40 high school kids didn’t get to go to camp because too many registered and they didn’t have any more room, something that could have been avoided if everyone had registered earlier. It looked like my new church needed a process.

So, this week, we opened registration for summer camp. We’re hosting three summer camps:

  • Elementary Camp – Early July
  • Jr High Camp – Early June
  • High School Camp – Mid June

We decided to synchronize all of our camps. One registration process. You can visit our camp landing page here: It’s really simple for any parent to register all of their kids from one location. All the information they need is there.

On Sunday, I hosted in our adult services. I cast vision for summer camp and encouraged parents to register by March 1st. We offered $50 off of registration if they registered on or before March 1st. On Sunday, we opened registration and watched the registrations pour in.

Registrations trickled in on Sunday-Tuesday and then the deluge came yesterday. Now, on March 2nd, registration has returned to the normal rate and 266 kids/teenagers are now registered for summer camp. 61% of our contracted participants are registered with 3-4 months until camp begins.

Obviously, the jury is still out. 40% of our participants still need to register. These remaining registrations will make up the expense of offering the $50 discount. But I trust the process will work exactly as I’ve seen it work over the past three years.

I’ll post updates as we get closer to camp this summer.