Thursday, May 10, 2012

Why Kids Don't Go To Camp: Schedule Conflicts

Part 1: Friends
Part 2: Money
Part 3: Parents
Part 4: Schedule Conflicts
Part 5: Fear Of The Unknown

"I can't go to camp, I have to work this summer to pay for car insurance." 

"My coach will bench me if I miss summer practice." 

"My family is going to the beach that week."

We've heard the excuses.  These schedule conflicts are often the straws that break our backs. We've worked hard to overcome the obstacles of friends, money, and parents, but 'I'm about ready to give up.'
How To Navigate Schedule Conflicts

Publicize Your Summer Camp Dates ASAP
Your area will find out summer camp dates in the fall. Consider sending out "Save The Date" postcards to everyone in your club card database.  But don't just count on postcards and club announcements to do the trick. The most effective way to "save the date" is to go ahead and get kids signed up early. 

Cast A Vision 
To a 16 year old, the idea of having your own set of wheels is the ultimate goal in life. If it means scooping ice cream all summer for minimum wage in order to pay for the car insurance, then so be it. A week at camp not only costs money, but limits summer income.  

We've got to convince our friends that years from now the $140 they would have made mixing strawberries with graham crackers won't compare to the value of memories and experience.  Show them pics and videos from past summer camps. 

Show them pictures of your bridesmaids and groomsmen. Cast a vision for the bonding and relationships that happen on trips like these. Who knows, one day your friends who stood with you on top of 13,000 ft mountain might stand beside you at an alter? 

Be Their Advocate
Talk to their parents first and get them on board. Three weeks ago a leader on our team convinced a family to change their vacation dates so their son could come to camp.  Listen to Bieber and 'Never Say Never.'

Talk To Coaches
Cast a vision for them as well. Many times their sole focus is on an athlete's performance, but we all know the value of having a team member with high character. Tell the coach that this trip might not make Big John a better football player, but it will make him a better leader.  Most coaches really do care about kids, otherwise they wouldn't work countless hours for little pay.  Tell the coach that you don't want Big John to just be a great football player, but to be a great man.  Convince him that a week away from summer practice will be worth it in the long run of Big John's life. It also doesn't hurt that many of our camp properties have work out facilities. If an athlete can keep running or lifting while they're out of town, it helps the coach give the green light. 

Talk to Bosses 
If you've ever managed a restaurant employee schedule, I salute you. I can't imagine a more annoying task then trying to fit the time off requests of fifty workers into one work schedule.  Empathize with employers. Tell them you know that it makes their job harder when they lose an employee for a week. Then cast the same vision you did for the coach. Odds are they'll be a better employee when they come back from camp then they were before they left.  Be gracious and grateful. 

Talk To Camp
If you have a high schooler taking an online summer class, don't let that be an excuse.  YL camps will work with you to make it possible for your high school friend to be there. Last summer the office staff at Sharptop allowed one of our guys to spend an hour on their computer every day after lunch.  He would not have been able to come if the office staff hadn't been willing to make it work for him.  Don't abuse them, but also don't be afraid to ask.  Remember, property staff loves kids just as much as we do.

Any secrets to helping with schedule conflicts that you would add? Please comment below.


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