Summer classes, weekly camps and day camps can be a great opportunity to gain exposure for your classes and have new twirlers join in on all of the benefits of baton twirling. This blog post is going to share with you what types of summer classes can be offered, benefits to each type, ideas for each type and most importantly how do you have your summer students become involved in your classes long-term.
The most common types of summer classes are a weekly class, a weekly camp or a day camp.
Weekly classes meet every week for a specified amount of time. Our beginner classes are typically 45 minutes in length and meet once per week. We offer two summer session (keep in mind, Minnesota schools do not get out until mid-June and go back to school in September). So, we offer a Summer Session 1 that is from mid-June to mid-July. We set this up so that our Summer Session ends right before our National Team heads to Nationals. Our Summer Session 2 is in August and is only 3 weeks in length.
Weekly camps are a week long camp that we offer typically on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday from 9 am - 12 pm. We have also offered camps from 1 pm - 4 pm but have had more success with the morning camps so now we exclusively offer that... Weekly camps usually have a theme to them and we incorporate crafts, snacks, games and activities that kids love. Often, we ask our teen or college students to come back and teach these for us and it's a win-win for our new students and for our older students.
Day camps were introduced in 2021 and were a hit! Day camps allowed families to commit to a very short amount of time on one day. We offered several day camps from 9 am - 12 pm throughout the summer. We used kid-friendly themes along that our new students loved.
So, what do parents, students and teachers love about each of these?
Weekly classes are a more traditional type class that allows students to try a new activity with a shorter time commitment (usually just 3-5 weeks in the Summer Sessions). Teachers love it because the time commitment is short and we do a lot of summer activities with our students - after all, summer is a short season in Minnesota.
Weekly camps are loved because parents commit to one week of attending class. For teachers, we must have a great plan to keep our students busy for 3 hours so this type of offering does take some time to prepare.
Day camps are fabulous for attracting new students because the obstacles for enrollment are basically eliminated ... For time, the student is commiting to 3 hours on one day. The cost is low for parents. We charge just $30. Our teachers have some prep involved but even their time commitment is a minimum. As families are so busy in the summer, we will be shifting from several weekly camps to more day camps for Summer 2022.
Here are some theme ideas for any of your summer offerings:
Prince & Princess Camp
Tik Tok Twirling Camp (our #1 seller in 2021)
Star Performer Camp - Dance, Baton Twirling, Acting
Fairy Princess Camp
Around The World
The possibilities are endless so whatever you enjoy or love build a camp around that!
For our programs, we can typically have about 70% of our summer students join a school year class in the upcoming session so this is a great recruiting tool for our classes. And, getting your summer students to continue with you can have some challenges and here is what we do to overcome those challenges.
First, we meet quickly with parents to introduce ourselves. This is an important step in establishing credibility and starting to build a relationship with parents. They're leaving their child with you, they need to trust you and feel confident that you know what you are doing. In our parent meeting, I quickly explain who I am, my background, why I love teaching. They don't need to know what I did for a job in 1997 so I make it a highlight reel version of my background.
Then, I explain any important dates for families. (I also follow this up with an email in case someone missed or they forget when they get home.) This is more applicable to weekly classes but we always have a "show" on the last day in our weekly camps so I share that with parents on the first day.
And, then I talk about what the kids will learn and what we hope they will take away from their time with us. If I have a student teacher teaching the camp or class then I share with them about their background as well.
Second, we offer a show for every type of class that we offer. For our weekly classes, we offer an end of session show which is basically a recital. Our Summer Show does not typically have costumes. We provide a free t-shirt to each student (it works double duty as something to wear in recital as well as advertising when the student wears it around).
For our weekly camps, we do a 10-15 show at the end of the camp to highlight what students have learned in the class. And, our day camps have a 5 minute show at the end of their time as well.
A performance or show allows you to explain what they learned and celebrate what each student accomplished. We also provide each student a small gift or certificate at the end of their class or camp.
Third, we provide each family a hand-out that explains next steps for enrolling. We keep this simple and we include a bonus for enrolling that day!
Here's how simple we keep our on the spot enrollment:
Our hand-out includes a space for recommending the next class they should sign-up for, when that class is offered and when it begins. Then we attach a paper registration form that includes student's name and what class they'd like to register for in the next session.
It's simple and it's fast because I'm assuming that we already have their information from the previous registration. Moms are busy and keeping it simple prevents them from putting off registration and then it is forgotten.
Now, we offer a bonus such as a waived registration fee ($20 value), free dance shoes or a free baton. Most often, we waive the registration fee because parents love saving the fee.
Good luck planning for your summer classes!