Avoid Virtual Camp Stereotypes

How to create an online virtual camp for kids and avoid stereotypes

How to prepare for and then avoid the stereotypes that may accompany an online summer camp offering

Virtual Online Summer Camps and Avoiding Stereotypes. It’s time to create an online virtual summer camp for kids and avoid the stereotypes you are destined to face. As you plan and develop your virtual program, keep in mind you will face an abundance of implicit stereotypes. Unfortunately for you, these biases and stereotypes will be omnipresent. Let’s first address your team and the counselors you employ.

Without your team’s buy-in to the sudden change of structure and organization, everything else you plan may not work. More importantly, it could lead to failure and frustration. This will potentially change the bonds and relationships you have fostered for years or decades. Your team is your backbone and they will need to fully support you in this time of sudden change. Do not expect the majority of them to fully (or even partially) understand what you are proposing. Moreover, do not expect anyone to grasp how you will accomplish and implement a completely flipped mode. Remember, you may have been contemplating the idea of a virtual camp long before you share your vision with your team. So prepare for some pushback, especially during the first few meetings. After all, your plan completely defies the very definition of a traditional summer camp.

Communicate with your team and Avoid Virtual Camp Stereotypes

  • Communicate the reality. Camp may not be a physical, on-location or in-person camp for the entirety of the summer. Back in February, we made it very clear to all part-time and full-time team members. We expressed that our own personal opinions or hopes will not make a difference in how the summer plays itself out. We reiterated that all decisions or changes in the ever-changing Governor mandates is something we need to pay attention to, but not worry about. It is not controllable and therefore a distraction. In other words, let’s remove what we think will happen, and instead plan for what could happen.

Utilize Your Team’s Collective Experience

  • We then discussed our experience in operating and delivering an on-location and in-person camp. Collectively we had over 70 years of service time. The point was the following: we know how to operate a summer camp inside and out. Of course, every pre-camp season involves a handful of overwhelming and last minute tasks to complete. But, it is not a novel concept or challenge. That is the work we have done and the projects we have been accustomed to accomplishing. So, as a team, we were all able to adopt the fact that if camp went on as normal, we would be able to make last minute adjustments and figure it all out. The camp may not have all of the bells and whistles as our previous camp seasons. However, we reminded the team that the world is experiencing a pandemic. Therefore, the last thing any of should worry about, as one of many examples, is how and when to order the camp t-shirts. Not a good use of time and not a good investment if the in-person camp experience is reduced or removed.
  • The outcome of our initial meeting was the following: we all felt 100% comfortable that we possessed the collective skill sets and experience to run an in-person camp, but none of us knew or had any experience on how to operate a virtual camp. Therefore, it became pretty clear to the team that we should put forth all of our energy and efforts into planning the virtual camp model.

the online summer camp: to participate or not participate

  • Lastly, we provided our entire team with a friendly invitation to not participate in the virtual camp planning. We recognized that while everyone understood the challenge and major undertaking in front of us. This includes the new challenges, planning, additional work, creativity, training, etc. It was clear the work would not to be for everyone. Without attempting to be convincing or demanding, we individually spoke to every member of the team to ensure the following. A) they fully understood that the company was moving forward with a virtual camp plan. And B) to communicate that the pace and effort required to pull it all off is not going to be easy or incredibly enjoyable. We communicated that we were acting as a start-up company. Moreover we portrayed that the start-up company environment and mentality may prove to be extremely difficult and frustrating to work in. Start-up include longer hours worked and spending days making plans only to destroy and rewrite those plans. The point we were making is that to survive, we all had to assume new roles and responsibilities. Most importantly, we all have to be 100% supportive and flexible.

About Online Adventure Camps

With close to 25 years of experience operating summer camps for kids, we are a nationwide leader (both on location and over the web). Therefore, we are here to help guide parents and children through the online summer camp or virtual summer camp programs process. “Online Adventure Camps” offers “online virtual summer camps for kids ages 3 to 15“. Throughout the years we have offered summer camps in “Washington, DC“, “Philadelphia, PA“, “Boston, MA“, “San Francisco, CA“, “Miami, FL“, “Atlanta, GA“, “Dallas, TX“, “New York, NY“, “Princeton, NJ“, “Pittsburgh, PA“, “Bethesda, MD”, “Chevy Chase, MD, “Fairfax, VA“, “Alexandria, VA”, “Chicago, IL”, “Durham, NC“, “Orland, FL“, “West Palm Beach, FL“, “Westchester, NY“, “Louisville, KY“, “Annapolis, MD“, “Houston, TX“, “San Diego, CA“,”Austin, TX“, “Long Island, NY“, “Chevy Chase, MD“, “Greenwich, CT“, ” and many other cities across the United States and around the globe.