Summer youth programs are a great way to promote learning, teach life skills, and set children up for success for the coming school year. Parents and caregivers are always on the lookout for high-quality summer programs that keep kids engaged and excited to attend.

Here are five ways your summer program can stand out to parents:

 1. Enriching Experiences

Parents look for summer programs that meet their children’s interests, developmental needs, and provide enriching experiences. 

To highlight the enrichment children can expect to see from your program, clearly communicate your goals, the experience you provide, and what their child can gain by attending. Be sure to share pictures and testimonials from past camps and activities to further illustrate the incredible experience your program provides. 

Additionally, summer can be a fantastic opportunity for skill development, exploration of new subjects, and confidence building. Incorporating critical thinking, problem-solving, teamwork, and communication skills into your program will help children strengthen existing and develop new talents. New skills and excitement for learning can carry over into the school year too - leading to improved attendance, better mental and physical health, and more. 

TIP: Planning with your goals in mind can set you up for success and keep kids and families wanting to return. 

2. Well-Trained Staff

Staff are key to success in summer programming. Parents expect well-trained counselors and instructors who can effectively manage group dynamics and who foster a supportive and safe environment for their children. 

Providing pre-program training along with instructional resources ensures staff readiness and satisfaction, creating a positive environment for your team and participants alike!

3. Family Engagement

Children thrive when families are actively involved in their activities. Effective communication between program staff and parents is key to building those connections. When communication flows, parents feel tuned into their child’s day and confident that their child is happy and safe.  

Keeping parents informed about their child’s experiences through regular updates, photos, newsletters, and reminders builds trust and reassures parents that their child’s wellbeing and happiness are a top priority for your summer program. 

Consider partnering with a tech partner who provides a communication app to keep conversations flowing. 

4. Safety

Summer programs with trained staff, clear emergency procedures, and safe facilities are prioritized by families. When parents enroll their children in your program, they place their trust in you to ensure their wellbeing. For the majority of parents, safety ranks as a top priority, with forty-five percent of parents saying they tend to be overprotective. Parents want assurance that their children will be well-supervised, and that the program maintains appropriate safety protocols. 

Program planning and safety go hand-in-hand. When designing your program, use resources on safety along with injury protocols and procedures to be fully prepared from the start. Collect important health information such as known allergies, medical conditions, and insurance information during online registration and make sure this information is accessible to program staff. During staff onboarding, provide all safety policies and training materials to ensure everyone knows the right safety protocols to follow. 

5. Impact

Impactful programs inspect what they expect. Ensuring your program is set up to be measurable from the start gives you the ability to prove the impact your program has on children, and help families feel confident about their choice in your program. Programs that collect and employ data are able to easily track progress toward and potentially exceed program goals. 

Data allows for program assessment and better resource allocation. Tracking daily progress towards goals also helps programs to run more efficiently and effectively, and allows for outcomes to be used in recruitment materials and program descriptions..

Using data to build your program’s story of impact can also help prove to funders and stakeholders their continued investment in your programming is money well spent.

TIP: Establish a plan for data collection and analysis, including both quantitative and qualitative indicators. Utilize surveys to gain feedback from staff, families, and children.

Arly offers a complete youth management platform with tools and resources to make your summer program stand out. To see how Arly can meet your program’s unique needs, get a demo today!