A virtual world is not a new phenomenon. However, it became mainstream after the outbreak of COVID-19 when governments administered lockdown and forced people to stay indoors. People turned to digital tools to carry on their regular tasks and came across several technological wonders, which they did not know existed. Technical equipment and automated tools helped businesses stay afloat, as firms had to adopt work-from-home mode to have normalcy. Virtual meetings, conferences, and tradeshows became a new norm; seminars tuned into webinars and distant education became the only form of education. COVID-19 continues to evolve the situation. Many governments have started easing lockdown; several companies and educational institutes are sticking to their virtual practices.
Summer camps are the highlight of the year, and institutes and children look forward to them as they get a chance to experience something different from their routine activities. Organizations strive hard and work tirelessly to put together a camp packed with various academic, entertainment, and physical activities. Conventional summer camps do not seem set to return anytime soon. Most institutes had two options; to cancel it or organize a virtual summer camp. These summers will be unprecedented, and while people understand that they cannot revert to their old life, they want to have something to take their minds off.
Virtual summer camps are a perfect way out for their children, as they will get a chance to experience something different. While many organizations understand the significance of summer camps, they find themselves unable to venture into this unfamiliar territory of the virtual world and formulate a virtual summer camp. Below, are the different components of developing a strategy for starting and running a virtual summer camp:
Before you develop a strategy, you need to set the priorities and list the activities you want to include and that people can do virtually. You might need to wipe your mind of previous summer camp memories and start a new one. Setting priorities help in devising a plan for virtual summer camp. Music is a common hobby of children and adults, and they often look forward to summer to learn some musical skills. If you are a Colorado resident, your kids can enrol in summer music camps in Colorado. They have maintained a name for providing children enriching experiences while giving them a safe environment. Music learning can happen virtually, and children can enjoy the summer camps without stepping out of their homes.
Eradicate the Aspects Not Applicable in Virtual Summer Camp
The first step is to admit that this is a new experience and probably the first ever for many people. You cannot replicate the traditional summer camp as the virtual world comes with its limitations. There must be many activities and things you want to do but may not pull off virtually. While eliminating some activities may make you gloomy, a vital aspect is that you will not have to worry about numerous critical things. Cleaning services, regular moving of the trash, punctuality, monitoring activities, and taking care of children’s behaviour are significant aspects of summer camp, which are not applicable in an online summer camp. Eliminating them will make your task of developing a strategy simpler. You can give attention to the critical yet functional aspects.
Decide the Activities
Even for a virtual summer camp, you must have certain enjoyable activities lined up, keeping children engaged and helping them learn new skills. Suppose you want to focus on only one aspect of art. In that case, painting can incorporate different painting styles and plan sessions accordingly. Another idea is to include multiple activities, such as physical activities, that help keep children healthy. You can have a specific portion for academics and formulate some sessions around various subjects. Deciding activities for your virtual camo will provide you with a roadmap for strategizing a virtual summer camp.
Develop a Marketing Strategy
Attendees of virtual summer camps are as important as they are for conventional ones. Formulating a plan and organizing a summer camp will not be beneficial if people are not aware of it. Devising a marketing strategy for virtual summer camp will be completely different from traditional summer camp. Many people may not be thrilled with the idea of enrolling their children in virtual summer camps. So, your promotional strategy should be persuading enough to make them believe that virtual summer camp will add value.
Hire Tech-Savvy Staff
You can’t run a virtual summer camp in a vacuum, and you need to have several people on board who can assist you in performing your tasks. Besides experts in summer camp activities, you need to hire IT professionals who can support you in conducting virtual sessions. Handling technical equipment and automated tools is not a layman’s job, as they often start giving trouble without warning. IT experts can look into them and fix the minor issues there and then. Technological experts may not be the standard summer camp requirement. However, you cannot run or devise a virtual summer camp strategy without their input.
Robust Internet Connection
During these uncertain and unfortunate pandemic times, having a good internet connection it has become essential. The internet is the channel that allows you to conduct the whole program and its various sessions. Internet connection is the basis of virtual summer camp. Before you start setting it up, it is better to have a robust router and modem. You don’t need to set up a place to run an online summer camp, and you can ask your staff to work remotely. In that case, everyone will need a solid connection to have a seamless and uninterrupted summer camp.
The dynamics of virtual summer camps are entirely different from regular camps. As a director, you have to refocus on how to deliver the value in a new setup. Creating a mission statement that redefines your goal and vision with a set of core values will help you establish your identity. You need to figure out ways that allow you to provide children with meaningful learning, even in this new setup.
Summers symbolize beaches, fun-filled activities, and summer camps for many children. These camps are the source of creating life-long memories, establishing new friendships, and learning new skills. During these unprecedented times, people are adopting different ways to carry on with their lives. Virtual summer camps may be a unique experience for organizers and attendees. Still, it has given people an extra dimension and distinctive experiences—robust internet connection, a proper plan, and thorough preparations all pre-requisites of virtual summer camp.
Image Credits: Julia M Cameron