The Camp Director

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Help Develop a Social Media Track for Camps and Recreation Conferences

March 6th, 2010 · 3 Comments · ACA, Marketing and Business, Social Media, Technology

After running a number of social media sessions at the American Camp Association National Conference, I realized a trend in the session programming.  There were quite a few broad based sessions on social media rather than sessions focused on specifics. Those attending my sessions often felt the hour went by too quickly because our topic was very broad.  Speaking with people who came to my sessions and those at tweet-ups in the lobby, I met a camp community eager for more advanced technology programming. I feel fortunate to be able to attend some of the top technology conferences each year. Camp directors count on their annual camp or recreation conference to provide professional development in all areas – a huge programming task. One of the best sessions I went to at the ACA National Conference was a round table with EPIC.  We had a powerhouse group at our table and talked Static Facebook Markup Language (Static FBML) and utilizing email marketing services more effectively. I do remember the day when camp directors didn’t really use email and every year all they wanted to hear about was myspace even though facebook and twitter were what everyeone else was using. That day has passes as new young professionals and those not so young like myself embrace technology are eager for more learning.

This is an open call to ACA National, Tri-State, EPIC, National Recreation and Parks Association Conferences, LERN, and other recreation programming webinars, etc. to program more specific sessions rather than general social media marketing sessions.  ACA has asked me for my ideas for sessions so I thought I would bring it to the readers since most of you are in the advanced category of social media users. I need your help to propose titles and ideas for sessions. My goal is then to reach out to people I know in the tech and social media space to get them to some of these conferences.

Please submit YOUR ideas for sessions and comments about this new way of thinking about tech programming at conferences.

Here are ones I’ve come up with – what are yours? Would You Want to Come to These?

Using Online Video to Market Programs
Understanding video as a marketing tool, various types of video, streaming live on sites like ustream and qik, etc.

Getting the Most of YouTube
Many camp directors have not set up their YouTube site to mazimize search and marketing. Come learn the ins and outs of YouTube to maximize your marketing goals.

Facebook & Twitter for Beginners
(for people who still don’t get it all)

Using Facebook as a Marketing Tool
(advanced – Pages vs Groups, FBML, Facebook Ads, Business Application to load on your page, running campaigns, etc)

Going Local – Web Based Local Marketing
Google local, Google Business Pages, Yahoo local, Bing for businesses, Insider Pages, Yelp,  Foursquare, Gowalla, Angie’s List, etc

Getting More From Twitter (Advanced skills)

Adding Social Media to Your Daily Work flow
learning a daily, weekly, monthly task plan

Investing in Google Adsense to Advertise Camps

Using Google Analytics to Bring in More Campers

Web Site Usability
Bring your web site and have the group of fresh eyes offer suggestions to improve the user experience.

Becoming an Email Marketing Ninja
Learn what tools to use and how to use them. Chris Penn from Blue Sky Factory would be great for this session.  Check out the blog from Blue Sky Factory.

Free or Near Free Web Based Applications for Camp Marketing and Productivity

Beyond Facebook: Online Community Tools to Engage

Starting a Blog and Keeping it Up

The Tools to Listen Online and Rules of Engagement in New Media

Photo Credit: Brian Solis The Conversation Prism.

What am I missing? What do you want to see covered?

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  • Great Ideas Jenn! I was thinking:

    – Podcasting

    Maybe also as related topics (thinking of it as “using technology to make your life simpler”)
    – Getting Things Done as a Camp Director
    – Managing your email
    – Managing a Board (or staff in multiple locations) using online tools

    Let me know what I can do to help flesh-out these ideas.

  • Podcasting would be great! Can't believe I left that off. I tried to talk podcasting in 2005 when we had David Lawrence broadcasting from the national conference but camp people were not ready for it then. It was so amazing to have him at the conference.

    I think we will be very successful putting together our own online school. I am going to talk to some more people this week at SXSW to see if I can also get some tech people involved in recording or licensing their video screencasts for ones we may not want to do our selves.

  • Jenn, this is a great list.

    My only concern is how rapid things change.

    I'll use myself as an example. To lead a session for the Tri-State ACA Confernce that happens in March, you submit your session in Septmeber. In the world of online media and marketing methods, 7 months is an incredible amount of time. For the two sessions I've ran* at Tri-State (one in 2008 & *one next week), my proposals were are vague because things change all the time.

    Look at my description for my session next week:
    My session is constantly evolving. I found a few articles to update my session in the past two weeks.

    I think this challenge can be dealt with. There are some sites/methods that will always be staples. I ran Google Adwords campaigns in 2003 for an internet advertising firm and it finally started popping up as a session at TriState in 2007.