Everyone wants to be listened to. If you have a spouse, you know this :). And when it comes to running a successful summer camp, the most successful camp directors listen closely to their staff, their camper, and their camper’s parents. At Waldo, we talk to hundreds of camps every year and one powerful tool we find successful camp directors use at the end of every summer to improve their camp program are surveys. They gather survey feedback from campers, camp staff, and camper parents in order to keep a pulse on what went well and where there’s room for improvement.
What are Survey Forms?
Survey forms, also known as surveys, are a great way for camps to gather feedback from their stakeholders. Generally, survey forms consist of various questions that are designed to gather specific information that can help businesses know where to make improvements.
Why Should Camps Collect Survey Forms?
Survey forms are not only a great way to identify the camps strengths and amplify those in marketing and recruiting, but they also serve as a simple way to know where the camps weaknesses are. For example, if your camp receives consistent negative feedback in a specific area, such as food quality, survey forms help surface this as an area of weakness that should be addressed. Camps can use this feedback to make important improvements for next season and improve overall satisfaction by campers, their families, and staff.
Information about what a camp’s strengths and weaknesses are is so important as camps can take this feedback, make important adjustments during the off season, and deliver a better product during the next camp season..
How to Gather Survey Forms?
There are three primary ways camps can gather survey forms…in person, by mail, or online.
- In Person – Depending on the group of individuals you are targeting your survey forms to, having them do a quick survey form at the end of camp (such as during pick up time) is a viable option. However, the cons of delivering and gathering survey forms in person is that it requires more time, individuals may feel less comfortable providing honest feedback in person, and participation may be lower. For staff, if you can ensure anonymity but make them more or less a requirement on the final day, this can be very effective. Providing staff with forms without names on them and a box they can put them in when completed can work well.
- By Mail – By sending a survey form through the mail, individuals have the opportunity to provide in depth feedback at their own pace. However, the cons of mailing survey forms is the cost of postage, individuals throwing away their junk mail and your survey being mistakenly discarded, and the processing of paper forms mailed back can be time consuming in terms of processing and turning into actionable information.
- Online – Sending a survey form electronically via email, text message, or having a link on the camp website is a great option for getting survey forms into the hands (or on the screens) of those with the most important feedback. This method allows camps to easily and quickly reach most of their target audiences. Anonymous forms are best for getting the most candid feedback and most platforms allow for this. However, it may not be the best option for camper feedback as younger campers may not have email or text and so gathering feedback the old fashioned way for younger campers on the last day may prove more fruitful.
While in person, by mail, and online are all options to choose from, we would argue that in today’s world, online survey forms are the easiest and most effective way to gain the valuable feedback your camps need to continuously improve. Online survey platforms are commonplace and have powerful visualization tools for seeing your responses in aggregate. If you have the resources to send a survey form online, that would be our suggested delivery method with the exception of younger campers, as noted above. Here is a list of the top 18 tools that have free options.
Who Should You Give Survey Forms to?
Survey forms are strong resources for collecting feedback. But who are the best people to give survey forms to? Campers, camp staff, and camper parents are the most important groups of people to prioritize giving survey forms to because they are able to provide unique feedback that can be used to make improvements for the future.
Gathering feedback from campers about their experience is extremely beneficial information to camps. With the information, camps can make appropriate adjustments to improve the experience for future campers.
Questions to include for your camper survey forms:
- What was your favorite camp activity?
- What was your least favorite camp activity?
- On a scale of 1-10, how would you rate the level of safety you felt?
- What was your favorite food you had from the dining hall?
- Did you feel like you had enough down time between activities to relax and recharge?
- How could your camp experience have been better?
- Would you come to camp again?
- Would you recommend your friends and others to attend?
You will want to cater your questions to the age group of campers and type of camp that you hosted, but these questions are a great starting point.
2. Camp Staff
Great camps are filled with great camp counselors and full-time staff. Collecting feedback from camp staff is important for making improvements to retain your camp staff year over year, as well as hiring great new staff members during the new recruiting season.
Questions to include for your camp staff survey forms:
- What was your favorite aspect of being part of our camp staff?
- What was the hardest part about being camp staff? How could we have helped you in this area?
- On a scale of 1-10, how would you rate the effectiveness of collaboration and communication between camp staff?
- Are there any changes you would like to see within the camp’s policies and procedures that would improve your experience?
- Would you be a camp staff member again?
- Would you recommend being a camp staff member to your friends?
3. Camper Parents
Camper parents have a unique role when it comes to gathering feedback from them. They can provide insight about their campers experience, as well as how they felt as a parent whose child attended camp.
Questions to include for your camper parent survey forms:
- Did your camper have an enjoyable experience?
- Which part about camp has your camper been most excited to tell you about?
- On a scale of 1-10, how satisfied were you with the amount of communication from us throughout camp?
- Did you and your camper feel welcomed by the camp staff?
- How can we make the experience better overall for you and your campers?
- Would you recommend this camp to others?
Once camps have gathered the results from the survey forms, it’s time to put the feedback into action. Camps should carefully evaluate the feedback they received from their campers, camp staff, and camper parents. The information given from these groups of people is invaluable because it gives significant insight to their unique experiences, which can further be used to help camps make informed decisions and strategically plan for a more successful future.
Creating and implementing survey forms is an essential tool for camps to use in order to gather feedback and assess their program’s overall effectiveness. By collecting data through survey forms, camp leaders can identify areas for improvement and make necessary adjustments to better serve their campers and meet their needs. These forms provide valuable insights into the overall camp experience, including what activities and programs are most popular and what areas may need more attention. Overall, survey forms play a crucial role in helping camps to continuously improve and provide the best possible experience for their campers
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