News & Resources

Camp Directors: Keeping Your Web Listings Current

News & Feature Updates


Camp Directors: Keeping Your Web Listings Current

There are invariably a number of different locations your camp might have information published about itself on the internet:  on one extreme, there is your camp’s official website where you have complete autonomy and control.  On the other extreme, there are locations where information might appear about your camp which is completely beyond your control … such as user submitted review sites.     Somewhere in the middle of these extremes, your camp might be listed within several specialty niche directories (i.e. campchannel.com, camppage.com, etc.).   You may also find articles about your camp which appear inside online newspapers, magazines, and trade publications.   It is possible you might not even be aware of all the various nooks and crannies information has surfaced on the web about your camp.   In some cases, you might be able to easily update such information; however, in other instances you might be left with very little recourse.

The purpose of this article is to focus on sites which are typically under your control to some extent:  in particular, web directories for summer camps.    Given that information on the web can “live forever”, you might come across info about your camp on a directory site which is severely outdated or perhaps no longer applicable / relevant to your camp’s current program (i.e. – dates, rates, programs, etc.). Most camp directories will likely seek to maintain accurate information about all of it’s member camps, so there is in all likelihood a method provided to update your camp’s individual listing.

There is normally a link found on most camp directories specifically intended for Camp Directors which will typically provide details about how to update your listing.  It is important to keep in mind that specialized camp directories operate differently in so far as how they’re setup in terms of:  data structure, listing options, what information can be included within the listing, how specific fields are displayed, limits on the number of selections which can be denoted, what information can be displayed, whether multi-media elements can be included, free or paid, etc.   So, while you might have a desire to simply email a fact sheet with all of your marketing material to all directories in hopes they’ll simply make the necessary modifications for you, it is important to understand that most directories don’t process info in such a way and more than likely will ask that you follow their specific procedure.  So, it is ultimately up to you, as an authorized representative of your camp, to visit each directory individually in order to submit your information and be sure it is included appropriately according to the parameters of the respective website’s “way of doing things”.

For this reason (and others), it is recommended that you start a spreadsheet of all directory locations your camp might be listed and include the following columns (at a minimum):

  • Directory Name
  • Web Address of Directory
  • Date of Last Update (of your listing)
  • Method or Location To Update (and any login credentials)
  • Listed Contact Name (of camp representative)
  • Listed Email Address (of camp)
  • Date of Any Photos or Logo (that appear within your listing)
  • Camp Listing URL (as it appears within directory)
  • Directory Email Address (for support)
  • Special Restrictions, Allowances, General Notes
  • Free or Paid

If you maintain a paid listing, you may also want to also include columns for:

  • Start of Term
  • End of Term
  • Type of Listing
  • Renewal Terms
  • Cost

Obviously, there are many other columns you can opt to include which might assist you in managing your camp’s online presence within the directory space.

While you might be aware of several directory sites under which your camp appears, it is very possible there might be some which you are unaware.  To help discover sites which might not be readily apparent, it is suggested that you perform at least a minimal “audit” to determine the extent to which information associated with your camp might be present on the web.    Even spending an hour or two searching your camp’s exact name on your favorite search engine will likely reveal much useful information.   TIP:  if your camp’s actual name is somewhat generic (i.e. “Volleyball Camp”), it might be necessary to include a more specific identifier in your audit searches such as the city your camp resides (i.e. “Volleyball Camp Portland, OR”) in order to be able to better reveal information on the web about your camp.

In the course of your audit, try to harvest and include within your spreadsheet as much information as possible under the suggested column names listed above.   It is up to you whether you’d like to update your directory listings “as you go”, or simply compile the information at first then go back and address each directory individually.   Regardless, having this consolidated information will assist you in the near term and ultimately into the future … since invariably there will be a minimum of SOME information which changes about your camp which will need to be updated in subsequent seasons.  Similarly, having such a spreadsheet to hand off to a new camp director can prove to be an invaluable peice of informatin in the case of staff turnover within your camp.

While looking through camp directory sites, one very common theme you might encounter is the case of a previous camp director or staff member having used their contact information – especially, their specific email address within your listing.   Obviously, situations will vary from camp to camp; however, the summer camp market in general does reflect a relatively moderate to high degree of turnover at the senior staff level over the long term.  So, it’s very possible you may have inherited the task of updating 6-12 different directory sites which currently reflect the old director’s email and other contact information.   This is actually a relatively common issue if the camp or respective staff member made it a policy to utilize an individual’s email address (jane.doe@campabc.com) vs. that of “role” email address (info@campabc.com, staff@campabc.com, alumni@campabc.com, etc.).    The use of a “role” email address can reduce a lot of such issues related to turnover … since you can simply leave “info@campabc.com” in place throughout the web and simply internally route all email destined to info@campabc.com -> dane.doe@campabc.com (or whomever if Jane no longer works at camp in the future).

Another common issue relates to replacing an antiquated logo, video clips, or photos which might display campers or staff from several years ago (who are now much older), or who might be engaged in activities which are no longer offered or perhaps under a different set of safety regulations which might now require more stringent safeguards.    So, it is important to keep track of your camp’s images and videos which appear on directories and be sure to evaluate their present day suitability and/or effectiveness.

While there are certainly many individual issues, perhaps the most important aspect of maintaining an organized and consolidated inventory of your camp’s presence on directory sites is ultimately being able to present camp families with accurate, up-to-date, and non-conflicting information about your camp.

If you haven’t already done so, please take a few minutes to update your camp’s listing on the Camp Channel.

Find Sport Camps On The Camp Channel

Search or browse for sport camps on the Camp Channel via a new feature update. We’ve recently changed the title of the program emphasis formerly known as “Athletic Camp” to that of “Sport Camp”. We have found that visitors and camp director’s alike seem to prefer the new terminology pertains to the type of camp which offers youth sports as a primary program emphasis.

Visit our main directory index of sport camps.

Sports camps will also be indexed on each U.S. State or Canadian Province page as well as incorporated into our full interactive camp search.

Please keep in mind that whether you refer to such summer programs as either athletic camps or sports camps, they often vary in terms of the spectrum and scope of sports offered as well as the degree to which any given sport is of a particular focal point. It is often best to get in touch with the camp director to determine the precise nature of any given sports camp.

Tip: Using Maps On Camp Channel

While searching or browsing the Camp Channel’s directory of summer camps, you may come across various maps displayed which are associated with a set of search results or a particular page such as a U.S. State or Canadian Province. You may also notice small colored markers positioned over various locations on such maps. These markers have numbers which correspond to the listing results displayed below the map and allow you to visually discern the locations of some of the camps listed on that page. Click on the link below for an example:

Summer Camps In California

On the California state map displayed on the page above, if you click on any of the numbered markers you will notice a small popup window which contains summary information about the corresponding camp listing to the numbered result which appears in the list of all camps in California. Within the small popup window you may also see multi-media elements such as photo thumbnail images which appear alongside the summary information. Also within the small popup window, there is always a link to the listing’s full record titled “Click Here To View This Camp’s Complete Listing”. By clicking on this link you will be able to view the full record for that particular camp listing.

Please note that not all listings have markers which appear on any given map and that marker numbers corresponding to particular listings will change from page to page and even from search to search. Moreover, not all searches or pages have corresponding maps.

For those camp listings which do reflect a map location, you can access an individual map of their particular location directly from the search results by clicking on the small link titled “Map” directly under the button titled “More info” on the far right of all search results. Likewise, if you’re in the midst of viewing the full listing for any given camp, you can also access an individual map (if present) of their particular location by clicking on the link titled “View Map” which appears on the right hand side of the aqua/blue bar at the top of the listing. Similar to viewing a camp’s individual map directly from the search results, this will invoke a small popup window reflecting the camp’s location; however, since there is only a single location denoted, the marker does not have a number in this case.

Happy New Year From The Camp Channel!

Wishing campers, parents, everyone in the summer camp community / family a very happy and healthy New Year! Hopefully, the summer of 2012 at camps across the United States and the rest of the world will be one of great joy, learning, growth, and an experience to be remembered throughout our lives.

It’s never too early to start planning for the summer. About this time of the year, camp directors become much more immersed in fielding inquiries about summer camp and would be happy to respond to your questions and certainly welcome your interest. Feel free to browse / search the Camp Channel’s directory of summer camps and either call, email, or visit any particular camp’s website for more information about the summer of 2012!

Happy New Year!

Finding A Summer Camp Now Easier With New Features

We’ve recently released a few improvements to the Camp Channel’s layout and appearance which we hope will make it easier for you to find a summer camp for you or your child to attend; or, with respect to finding that perfect summer camp job as a camp counselor!

The following features have been added to the Camp Channel recently:

– the width of the content area on the vast majority of pages was increased by about 30%, allowing for more information to appear on your screen at first glance

– new navigational buttons provide a more user friendly interface

– new font style for clarity

Look for new feature releases as well as more comprehensive functionality improvement releases in the future.

Western Association Of Independent Camps Conference

The Camp Channel would like to thank all of the summer camp directors, camp staff, event organizers, and all attendees of the 2010 Western Association of Summer Camps (WAIC) Conference held this year in Pismo Beach, California.

Not only was the location on the cliffs of the pacific coastline a spectacular setting, it has always been a pleasure to participate as an exhibitor and exchange ideas and experiences regarding summer camps and the internet … this year was no exception.

Moreover, it is always encouraging to witness the high level of professionalism and dedication by the camp directors of WAIC camps who continually seek to improve their respective programs by attending interactive and educational sessions – often presented by experts in their respective fields. Equally impressive is the cooperative spirit which permeates the Western Association Of Independent Camps – including camps who are “technically” considered competitors – in order to cross-pollinate & exchange ideas which as a whole will surely be greater than the sum of it’s parts.

The Camp Channel is looking forward to exhibiting at the WAIC conference in 2011 and is always grateful for the opportunity to participate with such a dedicated organization.

Find Summer Camps In Orange & Los Angeles County

Use the Camp Channel’s specialized search engine to locate a great summer camp in Los Angeles County or Orange County for your child. Summer is here, but many camps are still accepting camper enrollments and would be happy to receive your inquiry about attending camp this summer.

Allow your child to learn new skills, make new friends, and enjoy the summer with other kids at a camp suited to his or her interests which is also in line with any other requirements you may have. The Camp Channel’s directory will allow you to narrow your options down by geographical constraints as well as with respect to programming emphasis, camp activities, session information, cost, and other factors.

Many summer camp listings provide full descriptive content about their program, transportation options, costs, accreditation, as well as general philosophy about camp. Most camp listings will provide you with a full description of their program. Some listings will display photos, short video clips, a map of the camp location, as well as a link back to their independently maintained website … which is often helpful to provide you with information in much greater depth which might include special presentations and even online camper registration options. You are able to quickly email camps directly from their listings on the Camp Channel for more information.

To get started, click on the link below:

Summer Camps In Los Angeles County & Orange County

The American Camp Association National Conference

We are excited to be attending the American Camp Association’s (ACA) 2010 National Conference in our home state of Colorado later this month! Many summer camp directors will converge in Denver, Colorado for the ACA’s annual conference which offers many excellent informational sessions and educational workshops – all pertaining to camp.

The Camp Channel will have a booth display in the Exhibit Hall on 2/17 and 2/18. We cordially invite camp directors and staff in attendance at the conference to stop by and visit. We would be happy to talk a bit about our camper and staff recruitment services or just to say hello!

New Features For Summer Camp Listings

The Camp Channel has recently released some new features to aid parents and prospective campers in locating a summer camp. In particular, we’ve established a new “Featured Camp Videos” page, which provides an index of all summer camp listings which contain a video clip. Now you are able to actually see and hear actual camp activities taking place, facilities, thoughts from campers, as well as some words from camp directors about their summer camp program. Check out our growing list of camp videos at:

http://www.campchannel.com/featured/

Secondly, we’ve implemented an enhanced mapping interface to allow visitors to visually recognize the location of summer camps when searching by U.S. states:

http://www.campchannel.com/campers/browse/us_states.shtml

Or, by Canadian provinces:

http://www.campchannel.com/campers/browse/canadian_provinces.shtml

Summer camp listings may now also include larger thumbnail photos as well as their camp logo (click on any thumbnail to see full size). You may also come across some summer camp listings which now include a printable (PDF) camper enrollment form.

Check back often as camps update their listings with new our new features.

Hockey Camps & Robotics Camps Added As New Categories

We have recently added specialty camp categories for Hockey Camps and Robotics Camps. Hockey camps may include ice hockey, field hockey, and street hockey. Robotics camps are typically computer oriented programs which provide hands on experience with designing, programming, and building robots and components.

While many summer camps may offer either hockey or robotics as individual activities within a general camp program, some camps will exclusively focus on these activities as a major component of their core program. You can find these summer camps by conducting a full interactive search or view a full list of hockey or robotics programs on our system by clicking on the links below:

Hockey Summer Camps

Robotics Summer Camps

You may wish to re-visit the Camp Channel as our list grows. If you are summer camp director and would like to add your hockey camp or robotics camp to our directory, please visit the following web address:

http://www.campchannel.com/apply/