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T-shirts and Stretch Goals

I love summer camp and always hate when it’s over. I especially miss watching God transform the lives of campers and staff. But I also miss watching our team perform during these crazy weeks. They’re committed and talented people who create incredible experiences.

One of my favorite moments from this summer was watching our team go after the goal of having 25% of our campers pre-register for 2013 summer camp. You see in the past we’d only open up registration months after summer camp ended. A couple of years ago we decided to test whether parents would sign their kids up for next year’s camp at the end of their camp session. We tried some things and had some success, but nowhere close to what we desired.

So instead of giving up we set a stretch goal of 25% pre-registration without a clear plan on how we’d achieve it. What we had were some t-shirts to give away to campers who signed up for the next year. So our Indiana overnight team created a plan that would generate excitement on the closing day of camp with the goal of moving parents to sign up for next year. The plan included having all professional staff wear one of these t-shirts, promote pre-registration during the closing rally, and have highly visible tables at key locations so parents could easily pre-register and receive a t-shirt before leaving camp.

So what was the result of our Indiana team’s Week 1 efforts? We pre-registered more kids than the total number of 2011 Indiana pre-registrations.

Word quickly spread throughout SpringHill and over the next few weeks our other team’s implemented similar plans with similar results. Today, at our two overnight camps, we’ve pre-registered close to 35% of our campers, easily exceeding our stretch goal of 25%.

And that’s why it’s one of my favorite summer camp moments. Because I love when teams set stretch goals, create simple yet effective plans, work the plans and then share their successes so that others can succeed as well.

It’s also one of the reasons why I’m already looking forward to next year’s summer camp.

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