Summer Communications Planning – Are you ready?

Tips and resources for effective summer and year-round communications

Aside from the camp directors, your communications team represents the most visible face of camp during the summer, and they influence the guardian/parent experience all summer. And collecting the right media this summer can provide photos, videos, and stories all year long to help you reach your enrollment, fundraising, and alumni engagement goals. With the right tools and plans, your photographer, videographer, and camp staff will capture materials to use this summer and year-round in emails, on your website, and via social media.

Investing time now to plan your summer communications strategy and needs will help set yourself up for success. Planning now for effective communications over the summer can contribute to parent satisfaction and camper retention.

A few actions you can take right now:

Create a Summer Media Checklist

Developing a list of media you need for your various summer and year-round communications will ensure you capture the pictures, videos, and stories you need. Ideally team members beyond those responsible for communications will be involved in developing your summer and year-round communications plans, including development staff and camp leadership. They can share fundraising needs (solicitation and stewardship), enrollment plans, alumni events, and more. And be sure to create a system for storing collected media for easy access when needed, including holidays; don’t forget to create a “greatest hits” of additional photos to use throughout the year. Click here for a sample media checklist template.

Bonus Resources: Photographers Handbook from Camp Ramah in CaliforniaPhoto List from Travis Allison of Go Camp Pro, Sample Summer Photo/Video List from Camp Ramah in the Rockies, Interview Questions from The Summer Camp Society

Map out your pre-summer communications.


Create a plan for how new families are going to receive the “insider” tips and tricks for a successful camp summer, and what their onramp to the camp experience looks like. Outline your communications for any substantive policy, practice, or culture changes that are coming up so that ALL camp families understand the why and aren’t surprised.
Bonus tip: While you are at it, let camp families know what they can expect to hear or see from you, where, and on what schedule. Consider writing a Photo Philosophy, like this example from Herzl Camp. 

Pre-write emails and blog posts now!

We all have those emails we send out regularly during the summer, and never really have the time or brain space we would like to dedicate to them during camp. Write them now! Whether it is your visitor's day email, weekly shabbat shalom emails, program/specialist highlights, or session welcome/wrap-up emails, you can draft most of that content now and just add a new photo or minor edits during the summer. What other emails or blog posts could you draft now, rather than 1 AM during the summer?

Bonus tip: Don’t forget, emergencies happen! Review your “just in case” email file and emergency communications protocols now.

Don’t wait until May/June to plan for this, save yourself both the time and stress by having these conversations now.

P.S. Looking for more tips? Check out this 2020 Foundation for Jewish Camp Leaders Assembly Session on Marketing and Communications. You can also find peers and ask questions in the Summer Camp Photographers FB Group  and Foundation for Jewish Camp’s Marketing Professionals Facebook Group.