6. Publicize the program.
Publicizing your program is an important step that shouldn't be overlooked. It is easy to become so involved in the logistical duties of planning any kind of camp that you overlook recruiting and public relations--a pity, because promoting your efforts can be fun. There are a number of places you can advertise your program. The most established are your standard mailings to organizations and previous campers. When you update your brochures, don't forget to highlight your new Internet activities. The local newspaper is another good place to start promoting your program; most have a section that lists upcoming events--often providing the listing without charge. The deadline for these listings can be several weeks before the publication date, so plan ahead. Even a thirty-five word blurb on page 27 of the last section will get the word to someone you need to reach. A sample of a short news announcement follows.
Radio stations also provide the same kinds of services, and a call to the station will get you the information you need for providing text or a taped message. If you work with special populations, you may be more likely to get a promotional spot free or at a reduced rate. When you call radio, TV, or newspapers, let them know who comes to your camp and make sure that you show your enthusiasm during the conversation. The people you talk to may want to send their kids, or they may want to volunteer their time or services. Find the team member who likes to speak to groups and book him or her to present at school or civic functions. Often organizations like the Rotary Club or the Jaycees sponsor luncheons with featured speakers. Your representative can talk about your camp and explain how you plan to add Internet activities to the curriculum. You can do the same kind of thing at school sponsored meetings or neighborhood gatherings. These kinds of speaking engagements can be formal or informal, and they provide an excellent forum for your camp.
If you have a team full of people who are afraid of public speaking, now is a good time for them to gain some valuable experience. Start with smaller, informal settings, and work your way to the big meetings. Preparation, enthusiasm, and practice are all it takes to sell your camp via the public speaking route. And, don't forget to bring handouts to distribute to the group; encourage them to spread the word in their schools and communities. Who knows, someone may be impressed enough to donate money to your cause.
The sample speech that follows is an example of a short talk appropriate for a group like the Jaycees. The speaker is interested in telling the audience about the new Internet activities that will be introduced in his camp. The format is relaxed and informal. The use of visual aids will help the audience more fully appreciate the message because they can both hear and see it.
And don't forget to publicize the success of campers after the program is complete. Let them share their stories in presentations or in your newsletter. For example, Camp Courage in Minnesota offers a 10-day program on Internet use and college preparation for teenagers (See Case Study #6). In the following newsletter article a camper shares her insights.
SummaryNow that you've thought through the process, it's time for you to "do it" for your camp. Answer these questions:
- Who can form our instructional and technical team?
- What should be our instructional goals? What campers should we serve with this program? What materials should we use and what activities should we offer?
- What facility, computer, and software should we use? How can we secure the room, equipment, and software we need?
- How can we obtain access to the Internet for our program?
- How can we best integrate the Internet offering into other camp activities?
- How can we publicize the program and recruit campers?
The following template can be used to help you "do it." The case studies that follow give you examples of how other camps have done it. For more information about these and other Internet camps in which DO-IT has been involved, consult http:/www.washington.edu/doit/Programs/camps.html.