21 April 2017

As camp directors turn camp performers, we try to consider all the important facets when determining how to offer the best entertainment options for our camp clients.   While we weigh factors like the number of participants, venue logistics, ages, etc., there is only one true way to know what will make a program awesome at a camp—LISTEN TO CAMPS.

With a need to hear to directly from the source, we set out with one question for the many of camps we visit every summer:

What Makes an Awesome Camp Program?

The results were surprisingly consistent and can help ANY camp develop effective programming… whether you hire an awesome company like mainstages or not.  

INTEREST 1:  What’s Trending?

Camp Says: You want to take advantage of “what’s new.”   You’d like to be at the top of trending activities and concepts so you can offer exciting new initiatives and activities.  With so many campers returning year after year, having a diverse array of offerings is critical for a camp to be able to continue to innovate and engage.

Performer Does: As performers, it’s important for us not to rest on our laurels.  We constantly develop new ideas by staying on top of social media, popular games and shows, and polling children year-round to gauge interests. 

INTEREST 2: Part of Tradition

Camp Says: In addition to occasional visiting entertainers like mainstages, you likely run evening programs, theme days, and other specialty programs “in-house.”  The experience of leading activities with internal staff is a critical element to professional development and has a profound effect on camp tradition. Camps are looking for programs and performances that the kids will come home talking about and look forward to year after year.

Performer Does: When we come to your camp for a performance, we aim to make it feel like an “in-house” experience, scouring your website for anecdotes, themes, values, and history that we can include to become part of your tradition.

Upfront & Reliable

Camp Says: One of the most popular reasons a camp uses an outside entertainer is that it’s EASY!  With your own town to run, it’s important to be able to cross of items off your list whenever possible.  That’s why reliability and dependability are so high on the list of needs.

Performer Does: We try not to ask for anything from our camps.  We request an open space and an outlet.   The rest we provide.  We show up early, communicate often, and are upfront about pricing.

Extended Stays

Camp Says: The fastest growing request and perhaps a reflection of a growing trend in the camp movement, is to build a more substantive interactive experience between performers and campers.  The traditional formula of a performer coming in and doing a 45 minute/1 hour performance is beginning to be replaced by a model where a performance is supplemented by workshops and/or smaller sessions that allow the performers to have more detailed interactions with campers.   This is one of the most effective ways to expand on the impact of your visiting performers with nominal added cost.

Performer Does: This request has become so popular that we now offer a Performer’s Residency where participants have the opportunity to participate in pre and post-performance programs like developing categories for game shows or expanding on interactive performance goals, often with little or no extra cost. 

Have you ever brought entertainers to your camp?  What makes a successful program for your camp?  We would love to hear from you. Sound off in the comments or contact us to find out more about what programming mainstages can offer you!