Summer Camp Organization Tracks Dramatic Gains from Publicity Campaign
Situation & Challenge
The American Camp Association (ACA) is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to promoting the summer camp experience. Kay has worked with the ACA Northern California for more than a decade, maximizing a small PR budget.
The ACA’s goals have evolved over the years and have included:
- Increasing attendance at ACA-accredited summer camps.
- Increasing awareness of the value of the summer camp experience.
- Generating requests for the directory of ACA-accredited summer camps and searches on the ACA’s online database of camps.
- Increasing awareness of resources to help parents choose a camp.
- Heightening awareness of the value of ACA accreditation.
- Increasing attendance at ACA-sponsored summer camp fairs.
Over the 10+ years of the program, Kay has adopted a focused, educational approach to the media, doing the following:
- Launched an intensive media relations campaign targeted at the parents’ publications and the top 10 newspapers in the area.
- Developed more than 25 feature articles on a host of topics including the types of camps, selection criteria and benefits of the summer camp experience.
- Did substantial media contact. Arranged interviews for ACA spokespeople and other camp representatives.
- Prepared and distributed a news release about the availability of the free directory (and then the online database) of ACA-accredited camps.
- Prepared and distributed calendar announcements for the summer camp fairs.
The program has generated favorable coverage in virtually all major newspapers and other target publications in the area including:
- ANG Newspapers (Alameda Times Star, The Argus, The Daily Review, Marin IJ, Oakland Tribune, San Mateo County Times and Tri-Valley Herald)
- Bay Area Kids
- Bay Area Parent
- California Kids!
- Central California Parent
- Contra Costa Times
- Family Works
- Fresno Bee
- Growing up in Santa Cruz
- Parenting on the Peninsula
- Parents’ Monthly
- Parents’ Press
- Sacramento Bee
- Sacramento Parent
- San Francisco Chronicle
- San Jose Mercury News
- Santa Rosa Press Democrat
- Sonoma Family Life
Broadcast coverage includes:
- KCRA-TV, nightly newscast
- KCSM-TV (PBS), interview segment in a documentary
- KGO-AM, “The Pete Wilson Show,” live, one-hour, call-in segments on Northern California’s top-rated radio station (two interviews)
- KMAX-TV, “Good Day Sacramento,” two live interviews
- KQED-AM, “Forum,” live interview
Requests for the directory of ACA-accredited camps doubled the first two years of the program, and increased about 60% a year for two years thereafter. (The ACA put the information on a national Web site at that point, and state-wide tracking was not available.)
This program has won one Business Marketing Association (BMA), two Northern California Public Relations Society of America (PRSA), three League of American Communications Professionals (LACP) and one MarCom awards.
“Thanks to Kay’s work, the number of requests for our directory has tripled, and public awareness of ACA and the value of summer camps has been dramatically increased. We’re also proud that Kay has been recognized by her peers for the excellence of her work for us.”
Former Publicity Chairperson