Up to this point I’ve talked about deadlines, registration discounts, and other philosophical points about camp. But what about getting kids to just sign up? Trust me, I know the feeling of checking the website or email every day to see what the grand total is currently up to. I’ve lost sleep worrying if we’d get enough kids to sign up. I remember one camp that required us to pay for 200 to secure the facility. We felt that it was a good long-term option for us even if it meant that we’d take a hit by bringing less the first year. The previous year we had taken a few more than 100 kids, so it was going to be a stretch. I remember clearly… it was 6 weeks before camp and I realized that we only had 35-40 kids signed up. We made it though… ended up taking 170-180 which is what I expected we could muster up.

So, do you want to know the secret to getting kids to come to camp? This secret NEVER fails, I promise. If you want to take 15%-30% more kids to camp next year, do what I say and you’ll see it happen. Are you ready?

Call the parents and invite them to camp.

I’m serious. I know you sent out 30 emails in 15 days. You showed a video in church and killed 17 trees in all the postcards and letters you sent home with kids. When it comes to getting a kid to camp, nothing trumps a phone call to the parents. Nothing.

When we’re trying to hit a deadline (I set goals for how many kids I want signed up by certain dates so that we stay on track… yes, I’m a nerd), we’ll get on the phone and start making phone calls. We call kids who came last year and haven’t signed up yet. We call kids who came to that other event and they’re old enough to come to camp. We call kids who attend regularly and anyone else we can think of. Believe it or not, sometimes parents just need a reminder… while they’re sitting next to the computer and can register. Sometimes a parent just needs a little financial help. If we have scholarship funds available, we let them know that we can help them and then they come.

The secret is to set aside a little time to get on the phone and call the parents!