As you know, I love sharing cool products, resources, and ideas that are helpful to me and that I *think* will be helpful to you, (check out some previous suggestions here, here, and here) so I was super psyched when JotForm approached me about writing a post about productivity tools. Productivity + tools + a brand I already love = yes please!!
So full disclosure, this is a sponsored post AND JotForm is a tool I’ve used a bunch, and have recommended to others – definitely during in person conversations, pretty sure on the FB pros group, and I might have even mentioned it on here once or twice.
My LIT director introduced me to JotForm a few years ago, we used it for our LIT applications, and since then I’ve brought it to the two camps I’m currently working with, for both camper and staff applications, and have requested (demanded?) that some other events I helped organize use it too.
I’ve been singing their praises for a few years, so this is kind of a match made in heaven!
(Did I manifest this? Am I a wizard? That’s an exiting prospect!)
Anyway, on with the list.
There’s some great suggestions there (I have experience with almost all of it, and am a fan), check it out!
Summer camp managers are somewhat superhuman. With your smiling faces, fun attitudes, and diplomatic dispositions, one might never be able to tell that underneath it all, you’re actually running an intricate operation. You have the job of entertaining hundreds of campers and staff, overseeing operations, and most importantly, ensuring that everyone has fun!
And in this job, there’s no going home to decompress after a long day at work—camp managers work day in and day out, until camp ends for the summer. Impressive to say the least.
Since there are so many variables to keep track of in the realm of summer camp management, here are five productivity tools to make life a little easier!
G Suite by Google is a huge help when it comes to organizing camp operations before, during, and after the summer camp season. G Suite is ideal for managers because it’s affordable, has a variety of features to choose from, and is cloud based, so you can retrieve files whenever needed (with an internet connection, that is!). This platform’s most notable tools include: Docs, Sheets, Slides, and Drive, which make it simple for summer camp managers to handle files for activities, schedules, lists, and more.
With G Suite, you can effortlessly collaborate with fellow managers, directors, and counselors by adding their email address directly to the file or creating a “share” link that can be sent via email. Camp managers can also take advantage of Google Hangouts (aka video conferencing), which is part of this fabulous software set. This is an alternative to in-person meetings and really comes in handy when conducting camp counselor interviews before camp begins, coordinating video check-ins with parents, and having “on the fly” meetings with other staff members.
Information collection is one of the most important components of running a summer camp. Each year, camp managers must collect an array of data, such as staff applications, sensitive camper healthcare information, parent signatures, and payments. A great way to streamline this process is to use online form builder, JotForm!
JotForm is easy to use, intuitive, and trusted by over 3.5 million users. It includes features like conditional logic or “branching” questions, e-signatures, full form customization, and integrations with payment processors and workflow automation apps. With JotForm, you can create forms to gather camper registrations, payments for enrollment, parent consent for camp-related activities, orders for camp equipment, and more.
Another perk of using JotForm is its security features! JotForm is PCI DSS Service Provider Level I certified, which means that any type of payment you collect through this form builder is protected to the highest degree possible. JotForm is also HIPAA compliant, so if you’re gathering any sort of private camper healthcare information, you can rest easy knowing that it will be safeguarded (just like when you use a bear bag to protect camp food!).
Communication is key when it comes to running a summer camp. To make sure your communication doesn’t end up like a game of “telephone,” it’s good to schedule trainings with staff and meetings with parents. Since there are only so many hours in the day, going back and forth to schedule a meeting time that works for both parties can take literal hours out of your day. This is where Calendly comes to save the day. Calendly is a tool that can be integrated with your calendar and it will coordinate meetings for you (kind of like a personal assistant!).
Getting started is simple—all you have to do is link your calendar up with the app, choose days and time intervals when you’re available to meet and the amount of time you’d like to spend on each meeting (I.e., 15 min, 30 min, or 1 hour). Then, Calendly creates a schedule that shows your availability. All you have to do is send an automatically generated link out to the people you want to meet with and they can choose a time that works with their schedules. And guess what—all of the appointments show up on you main calendar, so there’s no confusion!
Being a summer camp manager requires a lot of project management and constantly checking that staff stay on track with projects, scheduling, and activities. Asana is a workflow automation app, which solves all project management related issues. It’s perfect for large, busy teams because you can easily add all of your teammates to your account, create specific project categories, assign tasks to staff, create to-do lists, and more.
This tool also makes it easy to see all of the tasks you’ve created, assigned to others, and that you’ve recently completed yourself. Other perks include: optional color-coded tagging, adding comments to projects, and including profile pictures to each account, so your team can put faces to names. You can also opt into email alerts, which can be a saving grace for getting time sensitive projects done on time!
From rent to food to transportation to staff salaries, running a summer camp can get expensive, fast. Like anything else in life, it’s easy to get carried away with budgets and blow them out of the water, especially when there are so many different expenses you have to monitor. This is why a budgeting app like Mint.com is really helpful. And it’s not just for personal finance management—Mint MyBusiness manages receipts and helps make tax time a breeze!
With Mint.com, you can categorize your expenses however you want. A few ideas are to create categories for fixed ongoing fees to keep track of camp rent and staff insurance, variable ongoing fees for items, such as cafeteria food and utilities, and optional expenses for when you want to throw an ice cream social on a whim. Mint.com also has a user-friendly interface, so it’s easy to log in and see all of your expenses laid out. You can also sign up for email alerts to notify you when you’re close to reaching your budget limit.
Simplify summer camp management with these 5 productivity tools, so you can focus your time on more pressing issues, like having fun with your campers!
Annabel Maw is a Marketing Communications Specialist at JotForm, a popular, easy-to-use online form building tool based in San Francisco. Say hi on Twitter @AnnabelLMaw