There was an ‘open house’ at both of my kids’ schools this week. Well not so much ‘open’ more staring at the screen for online zoom introductions to teachers and curriculum. It was hard to stay focused and be able to put names to faces. I certainly didn’t connect with any parents as I may have done if we had been in person, nor did I get to feel much of the culture of the place.
I have never set foot in my son’s new high school. We did a virtual tour in the spring and as the building was closed all of last year there were no in person opportunities to visit or meet the faculty. Fortunately I have friends whose older kids go there so I could trust their opinion and description and figure out that it was a great match for my child. My research worked and it has indeed been a super fit. The transition has been smooth and as he is older I am not so concerned about him getting lost or not finding the bathroom! I do feel disconnected from the people that he interacts with everyday. The names are faceless and it’s hard to personally connect in a zoom room, through email or by phone. My new school experience has made me realize more than ever just how difficult it has become for parents to choose a camp.
A lot of our Camp Runoia marketing has previously been done in person, either on camp tours during the season or visiting people’s homes during the winter to connect and chat. Covid certainly changed all of that with zoom calls and virtual tours. 2021 and 2022 was a new era for us with parents dropping off their campers at the gate and never actually getting to see our beautiful campus, meet the counselors and staff or see the view from the beach. What a leap of faith it is to send our children off into an unknown place on the premise that we trust it will live up to it’s marketing!
There were a few horror stories that hit the media about camps this past summer. Facilities with not enough staff, huge covid outbreaks or food supply shortages. None of our Runoia families freaked out! They trusted that we had things under control and that their child was being well cared for and that if there was a legitimate problem we would be in contact with them in a transparent way.
Marketing our camp and building trust and relationships during this challenging time has led us to develop new skills and engage in different ways. Our campers had an absolute blast this summer, they went home with great stories and are willing to spread the word about camp to their family and friends. Parents also found great value in the Runoia experience and are talking up the benefits of overnight camp and the value for the whole family. Virtual connections are now more the norm and it doesn’t seem odd to be ‘meeting’ on zoom rather than in person.
With early enrollment at an all time high we are excited for the 2022 season and proud to be celebrating 116 continuous years of Camp Runoia operations. We will continue to grow and move with the changing environment that we live in and to connect and engage with our families and campers.
We love our Runoia connections.