February 18-20 Hilton Orlando

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Program at a Glance

The Camp Owners and Directors Association is committed to helping you run your business better.  Through best practice sharing, valuable practicum sessions and inspiring, innovative and informative Keynotes we seek to provide an outstanding conference experience for the 2 days Prior to ACA National Conference!


KEYNOTE 2 Bruce Tulgan, author of “Bridging the Soft Skills Gap”

The number one challenge with today’s young talent is a problem hiding in plain sight: the ever-widening soft skills gap. Today’s new, young workforce has so much to offer—new technical skills, new ideas, new perspective, new energy. Yet too many of them are held back because of their weak soft skills.  Soft skills may be harder to define and measure than hard skills, but they are just as critical.  Based on more than twenty years of research, Bruce Tulgan, renowned expert on the millennial workforce, offers concrete solutions to help managers teach the missing basics of professionalism, critical thinking, and followership.

Bruce Tulgan

KEYNOTE 3 Dr. Dan Friendland, author of “Leading Well From Within”

Dr. Dan Friendland is an MD from South Africa and has done amazing work on stress, the human brain and how it can affect your decision making process.  This is an amazing lecture on how we, as camp directors and camp owners, can recognize what is happening in our brains and use the stress to our advantage! Learn about the neuroscience of stress and how it can either negatively or positively affect the critical decisions we all make.


KEYNOTE 4 Rich Maxwell on Tribal Leadership
We all have tribes at camp: your camp is a tribe, the divisions within your camp are a tribe, but more importantly proactively managing your TRIBES is what creates your camp culture!  The Camp environment is unique in our ability to create powerful and IMPACTFUL cultures that shape lives.  This important  and practical management keynote will help you better  manage your tribes to create the culture you envision for both staff and campers.
The US Tax Code and You– We may be looking at serious changes to the US Tax Code!  How do camps adjust and what is the best tax strategy?
Email is King– Today’s buyers want hyper-personalized and engaging content from brands they interact with at every touchpoint.  Nurturing leads from the moment they initiate interest to the moment they make a purchase decision is imperative to increasing top-line growth.  Although this is a shared sentiment in marketing these days, how does one effectively put this in place?  When prioritizing marketing channels to elevate your brand’s identity and facilitate a thoughtful lead to customer experience, email is King!
Analyzing Your Cash Burn Rate; Running out of Cash is BAD– This practicum will focus on your cash flow with the emphasis on managing cash in your busiest month.
Thrown Into the Fire– Several young camp Director’s describe their experiences when oops they all of a sudden became Camp Directors and were given huge responsibilities at a young age.
Decoding Peter Ross– Does Peter’s marketing advice overwhelm you?  Do 829 Studios ideas seem a bit complicated and abstract?  Come to this practical session on how to apply the best of 829 Studios ideas to boost your marketing.
Smart Capital Improvements– Come to this fascinating session on site planning and development issues by Marie Sorensen, Yale Grad A.I.A. and Certified Site Planner.  Marie’s unique insight on summer camp design and aesthetics is a plus for both day and resident camps  What improvements really add the most value to your camp?
Food Service Efficiency– Whether day or resident camp, food service efficiency is HUGELY important to summer camp.  What are the latest trends and secrets from the best run kitchens in the industry.  Come hear Josh Cohen, President of H and H purchasing discuss the latest trends and tricks of the trades in the industry.
-中国有很多学上!- CHINA HAS A TON OF CAMPERS!!!  Come hear two American Camp Experts, who run camp programs in China (Stateside Adventures, the Premiere Chinese Campers Referring Agency) talk about how you can make your camp more friendly to Chinese campers and connect with one of the biggest markets in the world. 太好了!
– Interviewing Part II– Finding the right talent is the key to the success of any organization.  Come to part II of the interviewing workshop that rocked the CODACON/CAMPMINDER Conference last year.  This is a double session with very practical applications to all camps.  Find out what the weaknesses in your interview process are and how you can screen for the BEST performers!
Making it Stick– When was the last time you really took a comprehensive look at your orientation message and it’s method of delivery?  When was the last time you overhauled your staff training to be sure it’s both relevant to you, your campers and most importantly your staff?  How do you get your key messages to stick? This practical and informative session is not so much about what to teach, but how to teach it and how to keep your messages congruent and consistent.
-How to Market Your Camp Online-  There are tons of different ways to market your camp and all of them seem to require time or money.  In this session we will review data from dozens of private/non-profit camps to determine where exactly you should be focusing your efforts.  Using these successful camps as our guide, we’ll pick apart their approach to marketing online and identify a few of the most effective marketing strategies.  Perhaps most importantly, we’ll be having this discussion within the context of a marketing plan so you’ll be able to take home a comprehensive framework for use at your camp.
What Happens If– Ever lose a key person right before camp?  This Camp Director Panel discusses the lose off key full time employees and strategies they used to deal with it.


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