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For as long as there have been summer camps, there have been summer camp parents. This means that camp directors have been seeking tools to simplify their administrative tasks that also delight parents and connect them to the magic of camp. That’s always been the goal for Campanion, our summer camp mobile app that 115 camps used in the summer of 2021. 

The anecdotes from camp directors and staff tell the story of how Campanion met their needs this summer. As one camp director put it, “parents love the photos, and the push notifications have been game changing for us.” Another added, “The tagged photos have been spot-on and parents’ ability to scan and upload forms from their phones saved both them and us a tremendous amount of time and effort.”

For parents, being on the receiving end of photos and updates was just as powerful. “We were absolutely blessed to see our camper everyday,” one parent told us. “It helped to ease our fears with this being his first ever away and overnight. Thanks for the memories.”

A picture is priceless

A photo of kids in a summer camp mobile app

There’s nothing quite like the joy parents get from seeing their kids having fun at camp. Campanion brings that feeling front and center, and Face Finder technology means parents don’t have to scroll through hundreds of photos to find their kids. More than three million faces were recognized in 2021, identifying children even in the background of large group photos, or while wearing masks. Push notifications alert parents when new photos of their kids are posted, resulting in instant joy. “I loved to see every day what my kid was doing,” one parent said, “it was like being there with her.”

More than four million photos were added by camps using our new photo uploader, which one camp photographer described as “easiest to use since I became the camp photographer.” With new drag-and-drop functionality, the photo uploader makes it easy for camp photographers or staff to organize images into albums or to post in the Campanion Stream to parents. This simplicity means camp staff didn’t struggle to create meaningful experiences for camp families. As one parent told us, “Campanion makes it easy view pictures of our campers and the facial recognition is incredible It tagged my son in pictures I wouldn’t have seen him in!”

There’s nothing quite like the joy parents get from seeing their kids having fun at camp, even more so when they don’t have to scroll through hundreds of photos to find them. More than three million faces were recognized by Face Finder, identifying children even in the background of large group photos, or while wearing masks.

Features that make life easier for everyone

Campanion includes other features that lighten the load for camp staff and increase their efficiency. For camps reopening during the COVID-19 pandemic, and parents sending their kids out for the first time in a year, there were new needs. To support resident camps in creating COVID-free bubbles, and day camps with their daily check-in processes, we added a COVID-19 Health Check tool. The tool enabled parents to submit daily symptom reports through Campanion, and camp staff were able to track submissions in simple reports.

Mobile camper forms were also added to Campanion in 2021. Using their phones, parents can now take photos of completed and signed physical forms and send them to the camp’s administrative system. It’s this combination of highly engaging features for parents and powerful camp administrative tools that sets Campanion apart from other summer camp mobile apps. 

That’s why we created a system that sends text message alerts to parents to remind them when forms are due (or overdue), including a link that drives the parent directly to where they need to go within Campanion. And why we extended mobile forms to include many of the staff forms needed for seasonal staff, so camps can simplify the hiring and onboarding processes.

Camps like Camp Champions in Marble Falls, TX, have used revenue from Campanion to deliver an even better camp experience for parents. In 2021, Champions offered a no-hassle option for parents to opt out of using the app, but more than 90% bought in and were overwhelmingly delighted with the experience. “Campanion was a terrific app for us here this past summer,” said Steve Baskin, director of Camp Champions. “Our parents loved it. It gave them a window into what is happening at camp and a way to feel connected while their campers were away.

It’s this combination of highly engaging features for parents and powerful camp administrative tools that sets Campanion apart from other summer camp mobile apps. 

A summer camp mobile app for everyone

kids jumping in picture from summer camp mobile app

Campanion is a tool that merges the worlds of social media and business management, and provides ways for camps to engage parents during summer and throughout the year. This engagement brings happiness, and shows parents just how important camp is.

Almost 100,000 parents and family members used Campanion in 2021, to follow their kids’ camp experiences. Those parents gave the app a collective 4.9 stars out of 5 on the Apple App Store, and not far behind on the Google Play Store at 4.7 stars. Their feedback told the same story. “I love the idea of seeing pictures of my daughter everyday doing something she loves,” one parent told us.

When camps use Campanion, it frees up time so camp staff can do what they do best—create experiences for their campers that help them develop into accomplished adults and empathetic and engaged members of our communities.

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