Monday, May 7, 2012

Why Kids Don't Go To Camp: FRIENDS

Odds are there are still unfilled camp spots in your area. What does that mean?  It's NOT TOO LATE to get your friends signed up for the BEST WEEK OF THEIR LIVES!

Yesterday we looked at the Top Five Excuses kids make for not going to camp. Today we look at how to respond to the first.

  • My Friends Aren't Going
  • I Don't Have The Money
  • My Parents Won't Let Me
  • I Have Schedule Conflicts
  • I'm Afraid Of The Unknown
The Problem: My Friends Aren't Going
This is the big one, and it makes total sense. We wouldn't go to a two hour party, much less an eight day trip, if none of our friends were going. So why should we expect our middle and high school friends to do the same?

The Solution: Getting Them To Go With A Group Of Their Friends. 
One way I've found to make this happen is by making a smaller ask. Asking kids to pay hundreds of dollars and commit a week of their short summer is a big request. Asking kids to meet for dinner is much more doable.  

Here's one idea: Invite a group of your high school friends over this weekend for a cookout. Co-ed groups can actually work better for when you get the gals to go, the guys will want to go, and vice versa. 

Tell them you want to show them two short movies at the cookout. Leave them in suspense as to what you'll show them.

For the first movie I recommend showing a classic they've probably never seen, "Hands On A Hard Body."  

You can rent it shipped to you on Netflix. 

There are a few great thing about this gem:
  • Just over an hour long, so short enough to show a 2nd movie.
  • Good chance no one has seen it.
  • It's the original 'reality show.'
  • You can pause it half way through and make wagers on who wins the truck.
  • It leaves you with that Napoleon Dynamite feeling of "I can't believe I just spent an hour watching that, it was so stupid, but wow, I feel so much closer to everyone I just shared this experience with." You feel me?
After you've bonded by watching HOAHB, you'll be ready to pop in movie #2, which will be the camp video.  But not the camp video for the property you're going to this summer. The camp video from last summer, starring people they know and recognize from their high school.  

Get a camper who went last year to bring their copy of the Camp DVD and play it for everyone.  Afterwards have that camper share 5 reasons why they think everyone should go.

Have camp forms there along with detailed info about a fundraising plan. Give them a letter to take home to their parents with your contact info, anticipating questions they might ask.

Then give them an immediate next step with incentive. Talk with your AD and see if the area can throw any camp scholarship $ at this (or better yet, try to raise it yourself.) Then offer $50 off camp to the first two folks to bring you a filled out form along with a $ deposit. Once you knock down two dominoes, the rest start to fall.

We've got to realize that individually most high schoolers aren't going to call their friends and say "Let's go on this trip together." Few have the confidence to do that.  But if you get them in the same room, all nodding their heads at the same time, that fear of being alone quickly fades. 

As Rindercella would say, "The storal of the moray is..."

Make an initial smaller ask.

Instead of asking for a camp deposit and a week of their life, convince them to give you two hours for a free burger and two mysterious movies.  Once you can get their attention in a smaller non-club environment, you'll have the platform to make the bigger ask. 

Thoughts? Other ideas? Please comment below.

Motivation: If any of you actually pull off an event like this, show HOAHB, take a pic of the group with the movie playing in the background, and email it to me along with your address, I'll mail you a special YL surprise package.

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