Why Registering Now (Soon) Really Helps Us Run Camp

It is getting colder, the days shorter, and for most people summer is a distant memory and a far off dream. At Stomping Ground we spend all year thinking about the summer. Thinking about how to make the summer more fun, more impactful, and how to help more families know about camp. It is a strange combination of planning a birthday party, music festival, professional conference, and wedding for ten months of the year. Then, like those once in a blue moon events, everything has to come together just right and holy cow is it worth it.

Campers come from all over the US, and the world, to live, learn, and grow with us each summer. It is amazing and mindblowing what happens each summer. More happens in a single day during the summer at camp than in a month during the rest of the year. We serve hundreds of meals each day, run dozens of activities, remove a few splinters, eat a couple hundred apples, pretend to live in imaginary lands, and spend hours hanging out in Downtown Stomping Ground.


Because we believe so much in free choice at camp it would be easy to think that all that just happens. But the exact opposite is true. Because we believe so much in free choice at camp everything has to be meticulously planned so that when kids choose to play in the makerspace or build a fort in the adventure playground there is a system in place that makes that work. That there are enough supplies, staff, and structure (not control) in those spaces. It is a lot of work and planning to make camp appear to be effortless. AND it is awesome and worth it.

I don’t mean to say this like we are complaining about the work load or looking for pity. We love this job. I assume, having not done most jobs, that I have the best job in the world. I can’t imagine a better way to spend my time. I am writing this hoping I can shed some light on why it helps us when families sign up for camp so far in advance.

By signing up early you help us pay our year round bills, make better plans for how many staff to hire, make it possible for us to dream up bigger and better program ideas, and most of all help us sleep at night! Lots of camps do giveaways for early signups. If you sign up before Dec 1st you get a t-shirt or something like that. We tried that a few years ago, but found that when campers signed up after the deadline we still wanted them to have the shirt. That sending families a gift after registering felt like the right thing to do regardless of the time of year. Now that’s what we do. Anytime you register for 2018 Laura will send your campers a super cool 2018 baseball tee. That seems to fit our philosophy better, but makes it trickier to entice early sign ups.


My hope if you are reading this article and already know you want to send your child to Stomping Ground this summer that this might help give you a little nudge toward signing them up. If you aren’t sure about camp this summer, please send Laura an email or give her a call to see if Stomping Ground is right for your family.

Thank you for indulging a little self centered article. Without you Stomping Ground can’t exist. You are Stomping Ground.

Thank you!

(585) 451-5141


Jack Schott