Web Exclusive - June 2015
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Camps

A Look at Trends in Camp Facilities


Camp facilities covered by the Industry Report survey made up 7.5 percent of the total response. Some 60.3 percent of these are respondents from youth and private camp facilities, while 39.7 percent are from campgrounds and RV parks.

As with most respondents, camp respondents were more likely to be from the Midwest than from other regions. Nearly one-third (32.2 percent) of camp respondents said they were located in the Midwest. That region was followed by the West, with 22.8 percent and the Northeast at 19.3 percent. Fewer camp respondents were located in the South Atlantic (13.5 percent) and South Central (12.3 percent) regions.

Camp respondents were much more likely than others to be located in rural communities. Some 69.2 percent of camp respondents were in rural communities, compared with 31 percent of non-camp respondents. Another 19.2 percent of camp respondents were located in suburban communities, and 11.6 percent were in urban areas.

More than half (52.3 percent) of camp respondents were with private nonprofit facilities. This compares with 19.3 percent of non-camp respondents. Another 28.2 percent of camp respondents were with private for-profit facilities, and 18.4 percent were with public organizations.

Camp respondents were less likely than their counterparts to report that they had formed partnerships with other organizations. While 72.5 percent of camp respondents had partnered with others, some 92.4 percent of non-camp respondents had partnered. The most common partners for camp respondents include nonprofit organizations (53.2 percent of camps had partnered with them), local schools (32.7 percent), colleges and universities (27.5 percent), corporate or local businesses (24 percent), and state government (22.2 percent).

When it comes to the primary audience served by their facilities, camp respondents were most likely to report that their facilities served an all-ages audience. Some 42.8 percent said their primary audience was all ages. Another 24.3 percent serve children ages 4 to 12; 17.3 percent serve teens ages 13 to 18; 13.9 percent serve adults ages 19 to 64; and 1.7 percent serve seniors 65 and older.

Some 59.8 percent of camp respondents reported that the number of people using their facilities increased from 2013 to 2014. In that same time period, 10.3 percent reported a decrease in the number of people using their facilities. Looking ahead, some 62.8 percent expect to see an increase in the number of people using their facilities in 2015, and 64.9 percent project an increase in 2016.

Revenues & Expenditures

Camp respondents were more likely than others to report that their revenues had increased from 2013 to 2014. Some 60 percent of camp respondents reported an increase in that time period, compared with 42.2 percent of non-camp respondents. Another 13.5 percent of camp respondents said their revenues had decreased from 2013 to 2014.

Looking ahead, some 70.4 percent of camp respondents expect revenues to increase from 2014 to 2015; and 71.7 percent projected an increase from 2015 to 2016.

Camp respondents reported a 31 percent increase in their average annual operating budget from $938,000 in fiscal 2013 to $1,229,000 in fiscal 2014. Looking ahead, they expect to see a 14.2 percent increase from fiscal 2014 to 2016, with average annual operating expenses growing to an average of $1,404,000.

Camp respondents were more likely than others to report that they had taken actions to reduce their operating expenses over the past year. Some 89 percent of camp respondents said they had done so, compared with 83.8 percent of non-camp respondents. The actions camp respondents were most likely to have taken include increasing fees (59.3 percent); improving energy efficiency (55.2 percent); putting construction or renovation plans on hold (38.4 percent); reducing staff (26.7 percent); and cutting programs or services (15.7 percent).

Camp Facilities

Camp respondents were far more likely to report that they have plans for construction over the next few years. Some 80.5 percent of camp respondents said they had construction plans, compared with 64.7 percent of non-camp respondents. Some 38.5 percent of camp respondents will be building new facilities; 36.2 percent are planning additions; and 66.7 percent are planning renovations.

The average budget for their construction plans increased dramatically for camp respondents from 2014 to 2015. In 2014, camp respondents had an average construction budget of $801,000, a number that more than doubled in 2015, to $1,904,000.

Nearly half (48.9 percent) of camp respondents said they had plans to add new features to their facilities over the next three years. This compared with 42.2 percent of non-camp respondents. The most commonly planned features among camp respondents include: park shelters, Wi-Fi services, splash play areas, disc golf courses, climbing walls, challenge courses or ropes courses, playgrounds, park restroom structures, outdoor sports courts, and nature centers.

Programming

The 10 most common programs offered at camp respondents' facilities in 2015 include: camping; arts and crafts; day camps and summer camps; teen programs; educational programming; holidays and other special events; water sports such as canoeing and kayaking; environmental education; climbing; and trips.

More than a third (35.1 percent) of camp respondents said they had plans to add program offerings at their facilities within the next three years. The 10 most commonly planned program additions include:

  1. Day camps and summer camps
  2. Educational programs
  3. Holidays and other special events
  4. Arts and crafts
  5. Camping
  6. Trips
  7. Water sports such as kayaking and canoeing
  8. Festivals and concerts
  9. Special needs programs
  10. Teen programming
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