Never use this phrase again: “If
they only knew we were here . . .”
Know everything you can about the
congregations you visit - children attending camp, local church
statistics, congregational history.
Know what you want to accomplish
with every congregational contact; have a means of assessing the
effectiveness of that contact.
Call campers from a congregation
before a visit and ask them to see you there.
Have a camp praise band that can
play for congregational events.
Provide a counselor and camper
‘Camp Cheerleader Team’ to bring camp to church.
Gather a “Sunday School” staff
from your summer staff; teach all of the classes in Sunday school one
week. Have a special class for all of the adults who normally teach SS.
Make visits to churches based upon
highest potential for new campers.
Offer a traveling Camp Rally to
local churches or youth groups.
Provide a Youth Bible with the
camp name, logo, mission summary phrase on the front.
Easy online or at church
registration and credit card payment.
Have a fall campfire for all
campers in a congregation.
Make a camp
cd: songs, stories, sounds
suitable as a gift to a camper.
Produce a camp yearbook Video
cd for free to go out to last
summer’s campers at holiday time.
Have campers send a letter to
their (or another) congregation while at camp.
Bulletin insert with discount
coupon for store or registration.
Highlight camp during Advent, RTC
bulletin inserts, quick messages for newsletters.
Ask local churches to link to your
web site; give them the whole paragraph or graphic; send new text
Have weekend events for potential
new camper families.
Have a professional photographer
take an art photo of a classic camp scene; have it matted, framed and sold
through the camp store as a ‘gift’ picture. Charge enough to give a copy
to each church in the AC.
Offer a quality, adult,
camp-overnight or weekend experience for parents who bring their children
Have a camper or camper parent
address the congregation along with you. Persons may also be willing to
visit a different congregation with you.
Sell logo items in the camp store
that have the potential for daily usage (clock, key fob, ruler,
Send useful gifts to church
Send photos of every camper at
camp to their local church; save a cd of photos to re-send to them in January.
Offer Older Adult Nature Study
Retreats: wild flowers (Consider the lilies of the field), birds (Look at
the birds of the air), animal habitat (Foxes have holes and birds of the
air have nests), constellations (When I look at the Heavens).
Bite size s’mores and video /
dvd slides for coffee hour.
Have unique but inexpensive Camp
Logo give aways for local church visits.
Traveling Christmas store; include
the “gift of camp” and camperships.
Approach local churches with an
invitation to serve: “We Need You” camp as mission for church (work
weekend, a mission experience addressing a neighborhood while housed at
Target large church or large youth
group, work with the staff, and do whatever is required to get in front of
Camp coloring book sheets for
church / nursery .pdf on
Partner with a local church to
leverage the start of a children’s or youth ministry at the church.
Offer, with camp registration, a
first night parent sleep-away at camp – especially for parents of first
Web camp games: treasure hunt on
Favorite camp recipes online for
church public dinners or covered dish meals.
Offer Adult Camp during week or on
Holiday or seasonal Family Event
at camp (Advent, Harvest, Maple, Lent).
Youth retreat offering with leader
registration at no fee.
“You’re Special”: recruit persons
with special skills for work weekends.
Hold a Youth Praise Music Campout
Provide a week of camp for a large
local church with 10% free just for financially challenged families.
Youth at-church camp store with
Provide camp inspirational stories
that can be downloaded and printed in newsletters or bulletin inserts.
Greeters / ushers in camp garb in
Collect (live or video) and share
the testimonies of clergy who were called to ministry at camp.
In everything, put the mission out
front (in a phrase, like “Touching Hearts, Changing Lives and Sharing the
Light of Jesus Christ” Camp Tekoa, Hendersonville, NC).
Provide ways to make it easy for
campers without church experience to participate. Model this for the
Hold an Earth Day event, with a
strong Scriptural base, showing the natural features of the site and the
conservation measures that have been instituted.
Camp is a sanctuary: build upon
the spirituality with features like a Disciples Trail, a Labyrinth, a
Meditation Bench, etc.
With the Bishop/C.C.D./Cabinet
involved as much as desired, offer Confirmation Camp.
Upgrade the camp sign periodically
and offer a camp sign refrigerator magnet.
Partner with ethnic minority
programs, independent congregations, special medical needs, organizations
and social service agencies to help expand on the diversity of the camper
Enlist a pastor of the week to
provide chaplaincy services during the summer camp season. Give them lots
of publicity. Quote their testimonies.
Identify or invent the camp’s
favorite cookie. Give them away when visiting churches.
Give a free prayer retreat for
pastors at the seven-year marks. Invite the church they serve to make a
contribution in honor of the pastor.
Offer to serve breakfast in bed:
cinnamon buns and coffee/tea for adults on extra special occasions.
They’ll be talking about your camp forever!
Don’t put in an
RV site, but install the
water/electricity hookups on the side of the parking area especially for
volunteers, parents and Nomads.
Become a favorite site for Nomads
because of outrageous hospitality, fun projects and excellent
Bring your best ceremony
(campfire) to churches.
Offer a pet blessing on St.
Francis Day (October 4).
Increase camp budget by 4% and
spend 5% of your budget on marketing.
If you can’t get an invitation to
a church you want to invite into participation, attend as a group from
camp dressed in camp wear and talk with everyone about camp, giving away
free cds that have live links
to your website.
Have a Teddy Bear Picnic at camp
for little campers to be and their families.
Give every new pastor a classy
jacket or fleece shirt (they can’t help but wear) with a camp logo on it.
Do the same for every new Bishop
Get your biggest fans (campers,
counselors, parents, etc.) together for a special day at camp. Treat them
like royalty. Set up a bank of phones and have them blitz the churches
for camp registrations.
Set and publicize goals for
registration numbers. Invite pastors, alumni, campers to help meet the
goals. Give them all the support they need.
Solicit an invitation to have a
group from camp come to a church for a no-impact campout on the church
property. Invite families to come for a taste of camp with s’mores,
games, singing, campfire service, etc.
Have a parent and child St Peter’s
Catch and Release Fishing Day at camp with a prize for catching a tagged
fish (donation from vendors).
Send a camp calendar to all
campers at Christmas with pictures from the previous summer. Include
significant registration dates, web address, etc.
Buy the cover of the Conference
Journal, put your best b&w camp picture on it.
Plan for every decade or quarter
century anniversary, sell pictures, plates, mugs, histories,
cds, etc. and celebrate.
Advertise open local church
council retreat dates in AC paper.
Ask the dean of the cabinet what
the cabinet would require to have a day meeting or overnight (retreat or
work) at your site. Do whatever it takes to get them there, treat them
really well, address them briefly, play a video/a camp
cd, at a meal, write a
conference article on their presence, quote them, etc.
Hold a competition in the churches
to develop a kid-designed camp book bag.
Offer to have a camp team greet
and usher at a church. Trade-offs: insert from camp, greeting during
announcements, address coffee hour group, visit a C.S. gathering or class.
Pastor or Council Chair comes free
to local church Council retreat at site.
President of UMW comes free for
local church UMW retreat at site.
Sponsor a pizza party phone
promotion, held at a local church, for camp registrations in the
community. If you do online registration (or pre-registration), have
a/some computer(s) set up to process registrations. Set a goal and
celebrate the accomplishment.
Build the site staff team into a
healthy ‘family’ all versed in the mission of the site, having a
responsibility for the spirit of hospitality, and knowing how to make
guests from local churches feel welcome in appropriate ways.
Treat all clergy, conference
officers, volunteer leadership and guests from local churches as extended
family with the same intentionality and skill.
Identify twelve churches that need
to be cultivated for campers and guest groups. Approach one a month with
a shower of contact and attention.
Be sure that all publications that
go to local churches have a common and recognizable style.
Budget for marketing incentives
and give-aways to use when approaching local churches.
Give Bibles to all campers who
need one. Invite a church to partner to make this possible.
Offer incentives to campers who
“Bring a Friend” from their church, such as, the coolest t-shirt of the
Have a team prepared to bring a
fun experience to a local church event, such as, a ‘Treasure Hidden in a
Field’ pirate day with maps, clues and treasures (donated by local
Identify your camp mascot. Offer
plush versions. (A teddy bear with your camp name will stay close to a
child’s heart.) Bring one to each church you visit as a ‘pew buddy’ -
quiet toy that waits for the child that finds it difficult to be quiet in
Give your site a new “under new
management” look with relatively inexpensive upgrades to finishes, etc.
Don’t ignore the portal, and entry landscaping. In the churches,
advertise the new quality offered.
Send a note to the major local
church officers inviting them to use the camp for day use or a retreat.
Be sure that your office person
knows each church secretary by name.
Be on a first name basis with the
AC and district chairs of the Boards of Ministry. Talk with these persons
(mostly local church clergy) about campers/staff who responded to a call
to ministry at camp.
Partner with leaders of local
pastor’s licensing school to host the event to get new local pastors on
site as early as possible.
If you have a camp dog that is
really good with children, feature it on your website and offer to bring
your camp dog on local church visits to greet the children.
Invite a top-notch local church
historian to update the camp history. Publish with high quality
appearance and make it broadly available, sending one to each church.
Send a really nice oversized
picture postcard to each church with a greeting at a few crucial times
during the year, inviting the staff to put it on the bulletin board.
Use a database to keep track of
previous local church group registrations so you can follow up on them by
post card, phone call, email, etc. to invite another group retreat.
Provide an interesting guest map,
with graphics and ‘camp culture’ features. Invite each church to post
Pick a CS class, of your youngest
camper age group, and arrange to visit them with an invitation to come to
camp in a group.
Hold a local church favorite
recipes competition to come up with new menu/baked goods items for the
camp. Staff decides which ones to try. The campers decide the winners.