Posts by James Davis

Five Silver Bullets for Dealing with Bullying – Step 1: Transcending “Supervision” 2

Five Silver Bullets for Dealing with Bullying – Step 1: Transcending “Supervision”

Posted by on Apr 14, 2014 in featured, Summer Camp Culture Ideas

Zero tolerance for Zero Tolerance, a few ounces of prevention, and a pound of cure. Hi. This is a 5 part series on effectively preventing the formation of a culture of bullying at your camp. I’ll share this intro in all 4 steps, so if you’re coming to the article from a later step – please feel free to skip ahead! When I was in sixth grade, I was bullied pretty consistently by one specific person. I walked around the hallway each day for several months fearing that he would corner me and attempt to intimidate me. He never hit me or physically attacked me in any way, but the threats were so consistent that it ate away at my ability to reason. He threatened that if I ever told anyone, I’d be in serious trouble. So I didn’t. Eventually it stopped, but the remnants of the feelings I had while being bullied still live on in me today. When I was a summer camp counselor, I bought fully into the “zero tolerance” approach that’s very common in schools today. Any time I witnessed any bullying, I would take the bully aside and, well, bully him. I’d use threats that he would be sent home from camp, told him...

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On “Kids Today,” how Teenagers Saved the Human Race, and What We’re Doing About it. 2

On “Kids Today,” how Teenagers Saved the Human Race, and What We’re Doing About it.

Posted by on Apr 10, 2014 in featured, Summer Camp Culture Ideas

How I stopped blaming kids for not liking camp, and how that changed everything. Roger Sterling: I bet there were people in the Bible walking around, complaining about “kids today.” Don Draper: Kids today? They have no one to look up to. ‘Cause they’re looking up to us. This moment in the TV series “Mad Men” hit me like a ton of bricks the first time I witnessed it. Earlier in that very same day, I had returned home from doing some after-school tutoring in an urban church, and I had been lamenting how unfocused the kids seemed to be on their homework. They wanted to look at Pokémon cards, or talk to each other, or do ANYTHING besides the homework they were there to do. When describing the situation to my wife, I’m pretty sure I literally said, “In MY day…” And then I saw this episode, and I winced. It made me think – what if the problem hasn’t always been with kids, but instead with the society we’d structured for them? What if the problem wasn’t the kids I was mentoring, and the problem was with me? Flash forward a few years, and I’ve gained some considerable context to this issue. I’ve learned that this sort...

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Are traditional print marketing platforms still worth it? 0

Are traditional print marketing platforms still worth it?

Posted by on Mar 13, 2014 in featured, Summer Camp Marketing Ideas

Deciding what print ads (if any) are right for you I have to be honest with you: sometimes, print marketing vexes me. Let me explain. With all of the “modern” ways of marketing, like creating an awesome website, or powerful and targeted online ads (more on that coming soon), print marketing feels a little… scary. The reasons for this are two fold. 1) It’s very hard to know if someone found you via a print advertisement, whereas our websites will tell us exactly where people have come to us from. 2) Print ads are, per capita, simply more expensive. Now, you might be ready to hit your “back” button and go read about some other opportunities. But it isn’t so simple. While it’s true that our marketing dollars are scarce, and their are a LOT of low hanging fruit opportunities out there, it doesn’t have to be a question of “should we take advantage of these marketing opportunities while ignoring these others?” That’s what I like to call “narrow framing, or a decision making approach that thinks of things in terms of “do I do this, or do I do that?” while ignoring the fact that for every single dollar you have, there are infinite possibilities. You don’t need...

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Mobilizing your summer camp’s website for maximum marketing impact 0

Mobilizing your summer camp’s website for maximum marketing impact

Posted by on Mar 13, 2014 in Summer Camp Marketing Ideas

Mobilizing your camp website for maximum marketing impact Let me bring you back to my own brain in 2011, when I sat down to design a website for the first time. Our camp was broke, but our website was both outdated and difficult to update (since I had to work with someone else to do it). I was overwhelmed, plain and simple. The idea of creating a website sounded like something that had to be either A) incredibly expensive, or B) done by people much more technical than I was. But, we didn’t have options. So I had to learn. Thankfully, there was someone to hold my hand through the first few steps. And he was wise enough to get me set up with something that was decidedly NOT technical. So, while this post could be 100,000 words (and I might do follow-ups on this at some point, if people are interested), I am going to try and pare it down as simply as possible – and walk you through how you can set up a new camp website for yourself in a week of hard work. And first, I just want to say – a new website changed the directory of our camp more than the rest of...

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Getting first time campers with 2 easy direct-mail strategies 2

Getting first time campers with 2 easy direct-mail strategies

Posted by on Mar 4, 2014 in Uncategorized

Utilizing 2 of the oldest (and still best) tricks in the books to help grow your summer camp Alright, this one is going to be quite a bit shorter than some of the other marketing articles I’ve written – largely because the ideas speak for themselves. I think both ideas are a lot easier than many people I’ve spoken to think they are, so I am going to lay down a quick how to. Flyering local schools So, this is one of the easiest and best ways we’ve grown camp in the last few years. I print single-sided, full color flyers. I’ll even attach what I use for school flyers right here. A bullet points on what I try to accomplish with these flyers, and why I’ve constructed them the way they do: 1) I always go with color – kids get so many flyers home, that I want to catch their eye. 2) I always go image heavy – kids are looking at pictures first. If I can sell them on pictures, parents will get to see the flyer. That is goal #1. 3) Since parents get so many flyers, I try to bold specific words and phrases that will catch their eye. I try to emphasize the...

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