11 Cool Summer Tips to Keep You From a Meltdown! (Part 1)
Woah! It’s like we blinked and somehow the calendar jumped to May! Hopefully you are already in full-on summer planning mode, not to mention year-end show mode, end of season mode, etc., etc. #somanymodes!
Don’t fret if you aren’t there yet, though! We all know that summer planning can bring on some serious heat and can sometimes be full of struggles. So, we’ve put together some tried-and-true summer planning tips from our 26 years of owning our studio. Our hope is that these tips will help, inspire and motivate you! And, prevent any major summer meltdowns! And, we have so many tips, it was too much to fit into just one blog post, so stay tuned next week for PART TWO to reveal the last 5 tips!
We were recently guest hosts for Clint Salter’s Transform My Dance Studio podcast and did a full episode on summer planning: Sunny Summers! Check it out here, but also keep reading because we’re recapping some of our fave COOL SUMMER TIPS here as well!
1. Announce Your Dates ASAP!
For starters, if you haven’t already, it’s important to publish your dates ASAP! Families are scheduling their kids’ summers earlier and earlier, so the most important thing to ensure have a great summer is to get that info out as early as you can! If you are running a little later this year than you intended, that’s OK. Just start planning now to figure out how you can get the dates out earlier next season (and see the Camp Confetti section below, because we can help!).
Our goal each year at our studio is to try to release our summer camp dates, costs and descriptions by Feb. 1. And, we actually release our Performing Company Intensive dates in the Fall. When we launch our summer calendar, we also offer discounted rates for early registration which continues through early May. This helps us gain an earlier view into what our summer is going to look like before summer actually arrives!
And, you don’t have to have your summer camps perfectly planned out when you release the dates! You really only need the dates and camp descriptions! We also recommend appointing someone as your Summer Camp Director to help with planning, staffing and getting all the prep done (craft supply shopping, anyone?). We started this a few years ago, and it has helped us so much!
2. Host a Summer Launch Party!
Once your dates are announced, plan a fun Summer launch party. This can be something so simple, but it’s super effective. We hold ours throughout the week in the form of a happy hour (no, not that kind of happy hour!). Last year, we had a summery theme and called it Flappy Happy Hour. This year, our theme was #rhythmsharkweek and we held a similar “happy hour” called the Shark Meet! The launch spanned across one full week, but only for one hour each day, so it wasn’t too much extra time to commit to. We set up one corner of the lobby with a table, cute tablecloth, bright piñatas, and a few other summer decor items. One employee who was very familiar with our summer programs worked the station during that hour to greet everyone, answer questions and hand out summer treats. During that week, we also offered an additional $10 off camp registration (on top of the already discounted price for registering early). We also held fun summer-themed classes that week. Check out this blog post for a fun Baby Shark activity we did in our classes during Shark Week!
3. Offer a Camp Based on Your Year-End Show Theme!
Want to fill up a summer camp fast?! Create one based on your year-end show theme! There are so many benefits to this, the biggest being that the kids will have just finished the show and will still be on cloud nine from all the excitement! If you have a story-driven theme, they will already know who the characters were, remember what numbers the characters did and are excited to step into their shoes for the week and learn those parts! Even if you don’t have a story-driven theme, the kids are still going to remember certain songs and pieces from the show and will be excited to be part of them!
As far as preparing for this camp, you’re likely all set and ready to go. Your music is already edited, so that will save you lots of time. You already have props and sets that you used in the show, so you won’t have to worry about any of that. It really saves you so much prep time, so maybe you can enjoy some much deserved time off over the summer.
We started doing this about 7 or 8 years ago and it has turned into our biggest camp of the summer. We call it Camp Rhythm and everyone just knows it’s going to be the same theme that our show was for that year. For us, it’s a musical theater camp, so the kids are not only dancing, but they are acting and singing as well!
4. Create an Invitation-Only Program with a Summer Camp Requirement!
Do you have any classes at your studio that are “invitation only”? These are not your Company classes! These are classes structured for students who show focus and a love of dance, and who are committed to themselves and improving. If you don’t…you should put this on your list to add for next season! We started this years ago with a program we call Petite Pizazz! Basically, we selected about 8-10 preschool-aged dancers that show exceptional focus, coordination and determination and invited them to a special class that meets once a week during our season (just like our other classes). It costs the same amount…the ONLY extra requirement is that participants must sign up for one summer camp at our studio. We are really strict with this policy. We have multiple camps for them to choose from so they can find one that works with their summer schedules.
After a few years, there were quite a few dancers who loved this opportunity, and they wanted to continue it as they moved into elementary school! So, we created a program called Spotlight! Spotlight has a little more commitment, but not much! To be a part of our Spotlight program, you have to be recommended by a teacher, you’re required to sign up for both a ballet and a jazz class (we schedule these classes very conveniently back-to- back on the same day), and they get to compete their recital Jazz Dance at the last competition of the season! We choose a competition that offers a recreational/novice category. They wear their recital costume, so there is no extra fee, but they do have to pay an entry fee for this.
We started small with 1-2 Spotlight teams, and now we have 5 Spotlight teams (petite, mini, junior, teen, and senior)! There are about 125 dancers in our program! And, guess what the one requirement is (besides their weekly schedule and one competition fee)? Take one summer dance camp! This is how we began to completely fill our summer dance camps! We are on year 26 and have grown this program over many years, but…you CAN do it too! We recommend starting small with that one invitation-only preschool class, and you’re guaranteed to have one full summer camp right there! You can then build it up from there!
5. Implement Mandatory Performing Company Intensives
If you have a performing company of any kind, requiring them to attend a specific company intensive is something we highly recommend. These are your highest level dancers who work incredibly hard all year long, so it should be completely normal for them to dance during the summer even if it’s just for one week. Their bodies and their minds need to keep moving. You don’t want to see all the hard work they’ve put in throughout the year disappear. You don’t want to feel like you are completely starting over when the new year begins. Plus, this shows that they are not only committed to their dancing, but committed to you as their teacher and home studio. It shows the respect and appreciation they have for being selected for this special class or company. Its really no different than any other sport: dancers are athletes, and they need to keep training their bodies.
There are different ways you can format your company intensives and different things work for different studios. We keep ours all in-house as far as instructors go. We use the time to build their base for the new season. It’s a time of bonding for not only the kids, but for the teachers too. This format really works well for us. But other studios sometimes offer guest artists and even open it up to outside dancers to help cover costs/increase revenue.
6. Bring Camp Confetti into your Life! If you don’t know about Camp Confetti, you truly do not know what you are missing…they are truly life savers! With 16 different themes to choose from, you are certain to find one or more that will fit perfectly into your studio.
Think of Camp Confetti as a summer dance camp in a box –- your inbox! Each FunPack is a digital download to a Dropbox folder (no worries, you don’t need a special account) that will provide your camp files with all the details, background, ideas, choreography videos and more for your theme! So, there is nothing to ship in the mail, it will all come directly to your computer! And never fear, we are here to help you if you experience any technical difficulties!
We offer 16 total – 9 Preschool and 7 Elementary aged – Camp Confetti Summer Dance FunPack themes, each sold separately. Each theme has its very own activities, combos, dance games, crafts and so much more! We designed the camps to maximize the fun over a five-day camp, but each theme can easily be adapted to fit a 3-day camp format (or any other format you choose to follow).
There are a few differences between what’s included in the Preschool and Elementary aged camps, so click here to read all the scoop on exactly what is included in each FunPack!
Check out our recent blog post which goes into great detail Camp Confetti, details on each theme, and feedback from our customers! It’s a true Camp Confetti 101! And, as a bonus, we’re sharing which three themes from each age level are our FAN FAVES!
You can purchase your Camp Confetti Summer Dance FunPack today and you will receive it today! Click here to get started, and if you want to save money on your summer camps (Who doesn’t, right?), purchase two or more camps in the same transaction, and you’ll save $25 off each camp!!
Whew! That’s a LOT of COOL SUMMER tips to keep you from having a summer meltdown at your studio, and we’re only up SIX of our 11! That’s right, this is just PART ONE! Stay tuned for PART TWO with our last FIVE more COOL summer tips next week! Until then, we hope these ideas help you create an amazing summer at your studio!