Start Planning Your Summer Camp

  1. Home
  2. »
  3. For Providers
  4. »
  5. Start Planning Your Summer Camp
Olivia Camarena |
February 2, 2024 |
For Providers |
Mi Pham Unsplash

Creating a summer camp is no small feat. The challenge lies in that it should delight and educate, while also run smoothly behind the scenes. We’re here to guide you through every stage of the journey, offering a comprehensive overview of the planning and management involved in setting up a camp. We’ve got you covered with essential insights and steps to ensure your camp succeeds.

Let’s start at the very beginning…

Kicking Off: Deciding Your Camp’s Format

In today’s diverse camping landscape, your first critical decision is choosing between an online or in-person format. The recent surge in virtual activities has uncovered a world of possibilities in the online space. Yet, it’s important to remember that some experiences resonate more profoundly in person. This choice often depends on the age group of your participants, so identifying your target audience early on is key.

For those leaning towards in-person experiences, the options are varied, catering to diverse interests and needs:

  • Day Camps: Buzzing with activities, these camps demand precise daily planning and scheduling. They’re designed to offer a vibrant mix of fun and learning, keeping campers engaged throughout the day.
  • Overnight Camps: These camps provide a more immersive experience. With considerations like accommodations, meal planning, and night supervision, they’re perfect for cultivating independence and friendships in a nurturing environment.

Diving into Camp Activities

As you delve into the planning phase, consider the wide array of activities you can offer:

  • General or Outdoor: These camps foster respect for the environment, teamwork, and personal growth, ensuring each day is filled with adventure and learning. Activities include hiking, kayaking, and survival skills, among others.
  • Sports Camps: Ideal for aspiring athletes, these camps focus on honing athletic skills and measuring performance. They provide specialized training across various sports, fostering physical prowess and sportsmanship.
  • Specialized Camps: From arts to sciences and adventure, these camps offer intensive learning in specific fields. They’re great for kids with unique interests, providing a deep dive into their chosen area.

Inclusivity is key, and camps tailored for children with special needs ensure everyone has access to enjoyable experiences. Whether online, in-person, general, or specialized, each camp type brings its own set of rewards. It’s crucial to consider factors like your child’s readiness and interests when making your choice.

The Theme for the Summer Camp

Themes add an exciting twist to camp activities, boosting engagement and enjoyment. By aligning themes with your campers’ interests, age, and current trends, you create a dynamic and immersive environment. This strategy keeps campers captivated and makes each summer unique and unforgettable.

A few ideas include Superheroes, Olympics, Adventure Camp, Pirates, Around the World, and Alice in Wonderland.

Safety and Training for Staff

The safety of camp attendees is paramount. This is especially vital for camps involving physical or outdoor activities. Having a team trained in safety protocols, emergency procedures, and first aid is essential for a safe and successful camp.

Marketing and Promotion

Get the word out about your camp early—parents start their search for summer camps months ahead. Take advantage of social media, community boards, and schools to reach your target demographic effectively.

Registration and Management

For sure, you can do registration and management manually, but it can be overwhelming and the backbone of a successful summer camp is efficient administration. This is where a robust management system like AfterSchool HQ comes into play. From registrations and feedback to payments and attendance tracking, our platform simplifies these processes, allowing you to focus on providing an exceptional camping experience.

Let’s check an example.

Take LOTUS, for example. Before partnering with AfterSchool HQ, they relied on basic tools like Google Sheets and Excel for management tasks. Integrating with our platform transformed their operations, streamlining everything from attendance to financial tracking. The result? A more organized, efficient, and creative camp environment. In addition, the LOTUS team was able to completely personalize the experience by creating modules to structure the camp in a very flexible way. Parents could mix and match the weeks, as each offers different activities.

These tools simplify administrative duties and provide valuable data for tracking camp impact and supporting grant applications. LOTUS’s experience is a testament to how the right software can revolutionize summer camp management.


As we’ve explored the vibrant world of summer camps, it’s become evident that having the right management tools is crucial for crafting successful and unforgettable experiences. At AfterSchool HQ, our commitment lies in empowering camp providers with our specialized management software. For more details, drop by our dedicated Summer Camps page. We’re here to help you transform your camp into an extraordinary adventure for every participant.

Join Our Community!

Step into the AfterSchool HQ Facebook Group—a virtual hub for connecting with youth program leaders nationwide. Join here.


Photo by Mi Pham via Unsplash.