Camp Updates On A Budget: What to Freshen First

As the summer unwinds and fall approaches, most camps begin the process of preparing the camp for fall adult groups.  This preparation requires that all the damage done throughout the summer be repaired and that improvements are made wherever possible.  The time of maintenance repairs and improvements is a consistent part of the camp yearly cycle, and resources are set aside to make it possible.  But the truth is that, for most campsites, the resources do not meet the need.

There may be money in the budget for the little fixes that need to be done, and for a larger project or two, but very rarely is there enough money for everything.  Camps are large places with ongoing maintenance needs and sometimes just keeping up with regulations is a challenge.  Add to that the desire for new roofing, fixing the pool, a better sound system, and a new dishwasher and the mountain of needs seems impossible to climb.

Truthfully, most camps do not have the resources to meet all of these needs.  It just isn’t possible.  The challenge is then not to find a way to meet all the needs, but to find some ways to better prioritize them and to stretch each dollar just a little bit farther.

How do we do that?

First, we need to figure out which items need to be done at some point and will cost more if we wait.  Does the roof need to be replaced?  If we wait to replace it for a year or two, will damage be caused to the building that will cost more to repair?  If yes, then we need to find space in the budget to take care of the roof now.  If, however, we would like to have a new dishwasher for convenience, but waiting a year will not cause any more cost or loss of revenue, it might be something that waits until later.  Particularly with high-cost items, sift through and decide which projects will be cheaper to do now.  Then do them.

Second, go for high impact.  Getting a new dock(depending on the size of your waterfront) will have the same cost as purchasing a new dishwasher.   Which will have the greatest impact on the functioning of your campsite?  Consider whether building a new fence or creating a new path will have larger impact; both require similar volunteer hours and funds.  One of the most high impact projects you can do for your campsite is to paint.  The Power of Paint cannot be emphasized enough.  Paint obviously transforms a place and costs almost nothing; it should always be one of your top considerations when planning fall improvements.

Last, be cognizant of your volunteer and staffing resources.  Painting is a great, simple way to freshen your campsite, but it is time consuming; it may not be the best choice if you do not have a volunteer base equipped for the task.  If you have staff with particular talents, use them to your greatest abilities.  Maybe a summer staff member is a former roofer and the cost of putting in a roof will be greatly decreased if you put a roof on at the end of the summer season instead of waiting a year.  Do you have volunteers who know about decorating and interior design?  What about connections with a sand moving company?  You could have fresh sand added to your beach at a fraction of the cost.   Use each of these skills and connections to your advantage when freshening up the campsite.

Related Articles:

The Power of Paint

Moving from Casual to Formal

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