A Look at Trends in Camps

Respondents who represent camps in the Industry Report survey results make up a variety of types of facilities. Respondents from youth and private camps made up 3.6 percent of the survey population, while campgrounds and RV parks made up 1.8percent of survey respondents.

Camp respondents represent a range of ways of doing business. The largest number—60 percent—are from private, nonprofit organizations. Another 18.8 percent said they are with private for-profit organizations, and 16.5 percent are with public organizations. Some 4.7 percent said they were with other types of organizations.

Camp respondents are more geographically dispersed than their non-camp counterparts. Some 23.5 percent are located in the Midwest, and 23.5 percent are located in the Northeast. Slightly smaller numbers are found in the West (21.2 percent), the South Atlantic states (16.5 percent) and the South Central region (15.3 percent).

Not surprisingly, camp respondents are far more likely to be found in rural communities than in other locations. Nearly three-quarters (74.1 percent) of camp respondents said they are in rural areas. Some 17.6 percent are in suburban communities, and 8.2 percent said they are in urban areas.

On average, camp respondents said they reach a population of 104,200 people. That said, more than half (54.1 percent) of camp respondents said they reach a population of 20,000 or fewer people, while just 20.1 percent reach an audience of 100,000 or more.

Camp respondents are among those least likely to partner with outside organizations, though a majority—80 percent—do so. The most common partners for camps are: nonprofit organizations (60 percent of camp respondents had partnered with them); local schools (38.8 percent); corporate or local businesses (30.6 percent); local government (25.9 percent); and colleges and universities (23.5 percent).

Respondents from camps were most likely to report that the audience they reach is all ages. Some 37.6 percent of camp respondents said they reach all ages with their facilities and programs. The next largest group, 30.6 percent, primarily serve children ages 4 to 12. Another 21.2 percent said teens are their primary audience, and 10.6 percent named adults as their primary audience.

Revenues & Expenditures

Last year, 58.2 percent of camp respondents said they expected their revenues would increase in 2017. This year, 63.1 percent of camp respondents said their revenues had, in fact, risen, while 6 percent reported a decrease. Looking forward, similar numbers are expecting revenues to increase in the coming two years, with 63 percent projecting an increase in 2018, and 63.6 percent projecting an increase in 2019.

Camp respondents reported an 11.1 percent decrease to their average operating expenses from 2016 to 2017, from $990,000 to $880,000. Looking forward, they projected an increase of 4.5 percent from 2017 to 2019, with a projected average operating expense of $920,000 in 2019.

On average, camp respondents said that they recover 73.4 percent of their operating costs via revenue, a higher percentage than any other facility type covered in the survey.

Some 82.1 percent of camp respondents said they have taken action in the past year to reduce their operating expenditures, down from 90.1 percent last year. The most common actions they had taken include: improving energy efficiency (52.4 percent of camp respondents had done so); increasing fees (51.2 percent); and putting construction and renovation plans on hold (35.7 percent).

Camp Facilities

Some 60 percent of camp respondents said that the number of people using their facilities increased from 2016 to 2017, up from 53.2 percent who reported an increase in 2016. Looking forward, 59.8 percent expect to see further increases in 2018, and 61.8 percent project an increase for 2019.

Camps were among the most likely to report that they have plans for construction over the next three years. Some 85.9 percent of camp respondents are planning construction, up from 84.2 percent in 2017. Nearly half (47.1 percent) are planning to build new, while 45.9 percent are planning additions, and 60 percent are planning renovations.

On average, camp respondents are planning to spend $990,000 on their construction plans. This represents a 20.9 percent increase from 2017, when camp respondents planned to spend an average of $819,000.

The 10 features most commonly included at camp respondents' facilities include: walking and hiking trails; open spaces and natural areas; Wi-Fi services; park shelters; playgrounds; outdoor sports courts; campgrounds; restroom structures; waterfronts and marinas; and outdoor aquatic facilities.

More than half (52.9 percent) of camp respondents said they had plans to add features at their facilities over the next three years. The most commonly planned additions include:

  1. Disc golf courses (planned by 26.7 percent of camp respondents who will be adding features)
  2. Park restroom structures (24.4 percent)
  3. Splash play areas (17.8 percent)
  4. Playgrounds (17.8 percent)
  5. Climbing walls (17.8 percent)
  6. Walking and hiking trails (15.6 percent)
  7. Park shelters (15.6 percent)
  8. Dog parks (11.1 percent)
  9. Outdoor aquatics (11.1 percent)
  10. Bike trails (11.1 percent)