How times have changed.
We all know how technology has changed our lives over the past few years! E-mails, texting, BBM, Tweeting and Facebook have become part of our daily routines. In the camping world, the use of technology and social media has greatly improved communication between parents and camps.
It wasn’t so long ago that parents would play a game of telephone tag with camp just to report that their daughter’s hat was missing. It was frustrating for the parent, many times the call would not be returned or returned three days later when it is the child’s last day at camp.
Many camps, including Green Acres Day Camp in Markham have stepped up their game in terms of e-communication with parents. Tapping into technology and social media has made communicating with parents easier, faster and more efficient. Here are some ways that camps should be communicating with parents.
Parents should be provided with the e-mails for the various supervisors and departments at camp. This way parents know who to email regarding non-urgent messages such as a lost hat. This e-mail gets forwarded to the Lost and Found, and without hassle, the hat gets returned to the child the following day. No telephone tag.
A picture is worth a thousand words! More concerning than a lost hat, a young camper may be apprehensive about going to camp and the parent puts an unhappy child on the bus. Rather than waiting all day and hoping for the best, at camps like Green Acres, parents can call the camp and within half an hour, the parent will receive a call home reporting the good news of a happy camper accompanied by an e-mailed picture of the child’s smiling face.
Daily pictures and videos allow parents and campers to experience the day together in the evening. Parents with young campers always wish they could see what their child was doing at camp. Short of hiding in the bushes, in the past, parents had to rely on their children to report the events of the day. With younger campers, this can always be a challenge. At Green Acres, daily Video Logs (VLOGS) are posted on the website by the time campers arrive at home. These VLOGS recount special events or just the daily happenings at camp for parents and campers to watch together. Campers and parents also love to sift through the daily pictures posted to see if they can find themselves having fun with their friends.
Really exciting stuff is communicated in real time over Facebook and Twitter for parents to see throughout their workday while campers are still at camp.
Websites are becoming a more important communication tool than ever. No longer is the website a static place to get information about the camp and registration. Camps like Green Acres use their website as a daily communication tool. In the past, parents would remove soggy notes from their child’s knapsack reminding them to dress up as pirate for a camp program (that’s if they didn’t leave the note on the bus!) Now, all notifications are being posted on the website. Real-time busing information can also be found so that parent’s will know if their child’s bus is running late.
Of course e-communication is not meant to replace the personal touch and should not be used for that by any camp. You should still be able to speak with a supervisor or camp director about your child or concerns about the camp in a timely manner. However, if a camp is equipped with the right technology, you should be able to access your child’s activity schedule, receive notification reminders on your cell phone, leave feedback about the counselors or quickly e-mail a question to a supervisor at 11:00 pm. Wow, how the world has changed!
Lori Bogomolny is the second generation to run Camp Green Acres. She has been involved in camp her whole life as a camper, staff and head staff, both at day camps and residential camps.
Camp Green Acres is Toronto’s Premier Country Day Camp and has been family run since 1966. We offer an amazing variety of activities, including a Parent & Tot program for children ages 16-30 months, a 1/2 day Bunny program for pre-nursery and nursery aged children, a full day program for children ages 3-15, daily swim instruction and door-to-door transportation. We also off an All-Star Sports camp, MyCamp (All ‘Elective’ Program) and Cedar Creek horseback riding camp.
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