- Shmuel Hoffman
The State of Overnight Camps in 2020
Ok, it’s obvious by now. We are all in a puddle. But one group of businesses and nonprofits is really badly affected, and that is summer camps. I have seen dozens and dozens canceling their summer camps and I wonder: how will they get through the year without the income? How will they be able to still maintain and afford the running cost of the campground, even without hiring the summer staff that takes up so much of their budgets?
This puts parents in a puddle too, without online schools to keep kids at least nominally on track and occupied. Kids are still around, and parents still need to work and kids need to be watched, entertained, and occupied. Parents are looking for alternatives - and believe me, they will find them - and then might realize next year, "Well it wasn’t so bad," and then they might scratch summer camp altogether, going forward. That’s bad news for camps.
Now the question for our camp clients isn't anymore how to become the market leader in camps; the question is now: How can they stop the bleeding and stay in business at all?
With our experience in filmmaking, technology, marketing and education, we've come up with a crazy idea that is wild enough that it just might work.
(Watch this with Google Cardboard and/or your Smart Phone to get the real 3D VR experience.)
Instead of scrapping camp entirely, we have to think of what can be valuable for parents and how we can develop an infrastructure to create a summer camp without it being just a Zoom camp that can't be differentiated from school.
Well, kids were really on fire when we produced and created 3D video booths for Camp Mesorah's winter recruitment, and the kids were thrilled to experience camp in 3D with VR goggles. It was a huge hit. They could experience ziplining, paintball, sports, and even roller coasters all in visceral 3D, without actually packing up and traveling to camp.
So that leads me to the next logical thought: why don’t we create summer camp, live, on your campground, and stream it LIVE IN 3D?
Now you might ask how do we do this without expensive VR goggles that no one has at home? Ahhhhh.
It comes in handy that nearly every household has smart phones, right? And then we’ll deliver google cardboard to anyone who signs up for camp, boom.
And then we’ll use the Youtube 3D streaming platform, cha-bang. And voila. We have the perfect environment to give kids real Virtual Reality Summer Camp. Problem solved.
Well, wait. Not so fast.
What are we doing in terms of programming? Now, the beauty is that you have the campground. We will film everything in virtual reality on the campground. We’ll create programming that is conducive to and takes advantage of 3D VR. But it’s not limited. We will create educational shows, go on ziplines, jump on bouncy houses, train for basketball, baseball, football, and even watertube in the lake. And all of it almost like in real life.
So, don’t think this is cheap. You have to bring onto your campground trainers, artists, musicians, performers, Rabbis, educators. But if you’d run a real summer camp, you’d do it anyway but without the kids at camp. And that would be much, much more expensive. Now you save on food, housing, craziness, and hundreds of counselors.
The point of doing it AT CAMP is so that people don't forget the magic of being AT CAMP. Because next year, God willing, when you're open for real, you will have maintained in the campers that longing for the real thing.
You can’t afford to NOT run summer camp this year. First, you need the revenue. Any revenue. And then next year, when you will open up again, you don't want to lose a ton of your families and campers and start all over again with recruiting from scratch.
You've worked hard for years to build up what you have. Don’t succumb to this. Stop the bleeding. Bite the bullet and create a summer camp experience that will wow parents and kids alike. Oh, kids will LOVE it. I can assure you that. And everyone will be talking about it because your competition is not gonna' do it, because it requires work out of your comfort zone. We will help you with that. But the reward will be unimaginable.
Btw. I wouldn’t wonder if parents would join their kids because 3D VR is exhilarating for everyone.
What do you think about this idea? Leave a comment below or email us.