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Into the FUN-Known: Mastering FUN at Camp

posted on Mar 29 2021

by Eva Casey, Marketing & Engagement Strategist

The summer camp season for 2021 is almost upon us, and for mainstages, that means camp staffing season! This year is going to be different in a lot of ways, but we are all willing to be flexible in order to get kids back in-person again. Camp this year won't only be different out of necessity, but it should be different because the world has changed. To that end, mainstages has re-imagined our camp staffing process to include a new role to offer camps - the Master of Fun!

Before we dive into what a Master of Fun is, we need to understand how kids have changed over the past year.

Kids over the last year have become:

  • More plugged in and more tech-savvy than ever
  • More easily distracted, with a need for engaging, different content
  • More connected to their families and the physical comforts of home
  • Better able to grasp the connectivity of people and how the world has become smaller
  • More aware of when someone is “phoning it in.” They need ENERGY!

The Master of Fun will address all these needs and more!

Even if you don't decide to hire a Master of Fun for your camp this summer, you can still benefit from these tips on how to engage campers in summer 2021.

6 Tips for Engaging Campers

1. Leverage Technology

The Virtual Specialist

Use virtual specialists for activities with small groups during your camp day.

Someone could lead a virtual cooking session with rotating groups throughout your day or take a tour of Israel, for example.

virtual entertainment for summer camps

Zoom Zoom Zoom

Hold pre-camp events and ongoing virtual events during the summer, including giving a “peek” into camp by broadcasting camp events on Zoom.

Social Media Contests

Grow social media presence by holding photo contests where the goal is that the top three photos amongst your camp population are featured on your social media channels.

Tik Tok

Have groups create Tik Tok-inspired dances that they can then teach or showcase to other groups. This also doubles as content for social media, and if they are the correct length, they could be strung together to make a longer dance that the entire camp learns.

2. Create New Activity Periods

Ask your staff to provide you with an idea for an activity they could lead that is NOT currently at camp, and you might be surprised by the low-hanging fruit you never knew you had.

L.A.R.P.

Live-Action Role-Play is popular and even more popular now in a Roblox, Fortnite, Harry Potter world. Consider lightsaber class, Wizardry and Potions, and costume play as an activity.

camp kids

Meditation & Movement

As an extension or replacement to yoga, consider Meditation and Movement, emphasizing patience and grounding yourself in an active way.

Game Show

Set up a projector and have a staff member create questions and facilitate a game show, tracking the ongoing progress of groups for a “Camp Cup.”

3. Bring Home Comforts to Camp

Kids are more connected to home than ever before. Leverage that to make the transition to camp easier for everyone.

No Place Like Home

Make a theme day early in the summer that focuses on home and ask campers to bring in an item from home. Encourage sharing stories of their family traditions during activity periods and ongoing games at the morning lineup.

Closing Ceremony

Make the end of every day intentionally special in the ways you have conversations at snack time, how your staff says goodbye at dismissal, and the activities you do on the bus.

happy campers

Jewish Holidays

Connect to the special milestones and holidays that many children missed over the past year, by making theme days and activities inspired by Jewish holidays. This could even make for an ongoing activity period!

4. Get A Mascot!

Build community with a simple presence that will strengthen spirit, community, and connection to camp.

Mascot Vote

If you don’t have a mascot, hold a vote before camp and let your community select the type of mascot and/or name. Make sure to emphasize the values!

Origin Story

Have your campers create their own origin stories for your mascot and present them at lineup.

the mainstages mascot, Miles!
the mainstages mascot, Miles!

Cheering & Ruach

Have your mascot leed cheers and play spirit games, alongside specialists, to increase the energy and make standard parts of the day feel like special events.

Coloring Book & Comics

Have Arts and Crafts work on a comic or series of stories that kids can continue using to make segments for comics or coloring book pages (branded to your camp!)

5. Make a Physical Challenge Zone

Get some field paint and make a square outline to turn a simple field or space between trees into a special place for joy!

Ship, Island

Mark each side as SHIP/ISLAND/STARBOARD/PORT. Call out prompts and have children run from one side to the other. Add additional prompts for activities in the space.

Superhero Training

Use place markers spaced for social distance and have children participate in Superhero Training and HIIT-style activities on their place marker.

superhero training
Image courtesy of Shibley Day Camp

The Floor is Lava

Use items as obstacles in the challenge zone that children have to jump/duck/hop across without touching the item.

Individual Challenges

Using the place marker setup, you can play games like Guess Who, Rock Paper Scissors, Call and Response, or Simon Says with children sitting when eliminated.

6. Empower Your Oldest Campers

Teens have had to become a lot more self-sufficient in the past year. Assign specific leadership responsibilities to your CIT/LIT population and they will become your most valuable resource.

The Roundtable

Ask your teens to give feedback and “test” camp ideas in a structured time, both through facilitation and participation. Set the expectation that you are looking for their feedback at the end and make their feedback feel valued and implemented.

teen campers

Specialist Shadow

Plan to use the CIT/LITs as models, coaches, or even have them facilitate portions of the day with guidance by specialists. By the end of the day, you have deepened the relationship between the specialist and the CIT/LITs, and they will feel more “in the fold” with camp staff generally.

Theme Day Team

Give some clear assignments to the CIT/LIT’s prior to the summer regarding the roles they will have in different theme days and assign planning tasks to the teens, such as running games on Carnival Day or serving as judges for talent shows, to offer POSITIVE criticism.

Hire a Master of Fun!

The Master of Fun is a facilitator and performer who provides a wide range of entertainment for the entire camp. We give them the training and tools to be able to produce, with your support, all the fun your camp could want, from Game Shows to a Murder Mystery to DJing a party!

For More Information on the Master of Fun..

Contact Us!
Eva Casey

posted on Mar 29 2021

by Eva Casey

At mainstages, Eva focuses on social media, digital content creation, and brand management. As a teaching artist, she specializes in devised work, improv, and musical theatre. Eva currently also teaches as a private voice and piano instructor.