Whether you're in the camp industry or the child care industry (or some wonderful amalgamation of both), keeping your customers is always a priority (and subsequently getting their younger siblings). Of course you ran a wonderful summer program and they were all screaming for more at the end of the day, but how will your registration fare in four months when our fickle young friends forget all of the wonderful memories of last year?
The solution is simple, cost-effective and beautiful - a calendar.
I know it's not the most novel idea, but sending out (or selling at a small printing fee) a calendar has never been easier or more basic a scheme to revive your campers' interests.
First, you take all of those photos from last summer (and surely there are hundreds because you own a digital camera...) *--BREAK--*
IF YOU WORK WITH KIDS, YOU NEED TO OWN A DIGITAL CAMERA... there's no excuse anymore. I can write a handy dandy buying guide for you, but essentially they have gotten cheap enough that you can literally beg on the street and buy the camera with quarters...
SO AGAIN, YOU NEED A DIGITAL CAMERA.
Why digital? Because you have 500 - 1000 kids a summer (or more) and you don't want to be limited by the cost of film. My first summer working at camp, I took about 2 dozen shots with a very limited digital camera. The following year, I took about 200... and then 500... and since then, probably around 1,000 or so shots. I want to capture a good picture of each of my staff doing a great job... each camper having a good time...
ANYWAY, distribution of these pictures is essentially $0, as long as you're free to share them with the world (as most camps have a publicity waver in the contract). If not, there are a few more measures to take, but still the idea is solid.
Once you have a digital camera, you ditch the software that comes with it (because most of the time it's fairly confusing and riddled with ads), and opt for either iPhoto (on a Mac) or Google's Picasa on anything else. Both programs are very similar (in my opinion) and Picasa is FREE (I'm not sure about iPhoto).
From Picasa, you can edit all of your photos so they look fantastic (with a great red-eye tool that works perfectly about 75% of the time) and do all sorts of other fun stuff easily - including automatically posting them online to be shared with the world (free also).
*** BACK TO THE CALENDAR IDEA
Both Picasa and iPhoto allow you to send the photos of your choice to an online photo-printing service (such as oFoto). If you are using another program to edit your pictures or are completely content with what you've taken, you can upload directly to oFoto or even Target.com or Walmart.com.
SOOOOOO... oFoto, iPhoto and others (of which there is a comprehensive list towards the bottom) allow for some really great printing options, one of which is for a calendar.
NOW, I would suggest shopping around. There are probably some vendors that you already deal with (think t-shirts) that may give you a great deal on calendar printing...
Full Color Photographs - try for 1 per month instead of a collage... large pretty pictures look nicer than a bunch poorly stitched together.
DATES OF IMPORTANCE - make sure you are able to add your own dates to this calendar (or intercept them before they are sent out and MANUALLY add the dates). Your customers need to be hit with those registration deadlines again AND AGAIN!!!
Fun - the photos shouldn't be boring group shots or serene trees... They should show FUN (whatever that means to your camp). Don't be afraid to hide some characters (if you have any) in the background, either ;-)