Trends in Camps

Expanding on our State of the Industry Report, this article will cover the trends revealed by responses to the Industry Report survey from professionals working for camp-related facilities. These respondents made up 5.7% of the survey respondents, with 3.2% of all respondents reporting from youth or private camps and 2.5% from campgrounds and RV parks.

The majority of camp respondents—76.3%—were with private organizations. Nearly one-fifth (23.6%) said they were with public or governmental organizations. More than half (52.7%) of camp respondents worked for private nonprofit facilities, while 23.6% worked for private, for-profit facilities. 

Nearly one-third (32.4%) of camp respondents said they were located in the Midwest. They were followed by those from the south Atlantic, who made up 27% of the response from camps. Some 16.2% of camp respondents said they were in the Northeast, and the same number were located in the South Central region. Just 8.1% of camp respondents were located in the West. 

It comes as no surprise, given the nature of their operations, to learn that the majority (70.3%) of camp respondents were located in rural communities. Another 16.2% said they were located in urban communities, and 13.5% were located in suburban areas.

Camp respondents in 2024 were somewhat more likely to report that they had partnered with outside organizations than in 2023. Some 80.4% of camp respondents in 2024 said they had formed partnerships, up from 72.8% in 2023. The most common partners for camps were nonprofit organizations (65.2%), corporations or local businesses (34.8%) and colleges and universities (34.8%). 

Revenues & Expenditures

More than half (51.4%) of camp respondents said their revenues for 2023 were higher than in 2022. Another 37.8% reported no change, and 10.8% said their revenues had decreased from 2022 to 2023.

Looking forward, 70.3% of camp respondents are expecting their revenues to increase in 2024, and 60% are anticipating an increase in 2025. Just 5.4% of camp respondents expect revenues to decline in 2024, and 2.9% expect a drop in 2025.

In 2024, camp respondents spent an average of $1,664,000 on their operating expenses, with a median cost of $475,000. 

Camp respondents projected their median operating cost would increase to $500,000 in 2024, and $675,000 in 2025.

Nearly nine out of 10 (88.6%) camp respondents in 2024 said they had taken action over the past year to reduce their operating cost. This is virtually unchanged from 2023, when 88.5% of camp respondents had taken such action. The most common measures used by camp respondents to reduce their costs were increasing their fees (62.9%), putting construction and renovation plans on hold (42.9%) and improving energy efficiency (34.3%). 

Camp Facilities

The majority (85.4%) of camp respondents in 2024 said they had plans for construction over the next three years, up from 74.5% in 2023. Well over half (63.4%) said they planned to renovate their existing facilities, while 46.3% were planning additions, and 29.3% were planning new construction. The median construction budget for camp respondents was $100,000. 

The features most commonly found at camp respondents’ facilities include park shelters such as picnic pavilions or gazebos, walking and hiking trails, open spaces such as gardens and natural areas, campgrounds, playgrounds, park restroom structures, waterfronts and marinas, Wi-Fi services, outdoor courts for sports like basketball and tennis, bike trails, and outdoor aquatic facilities. 

Well over half (56.6%) of camp respondents said they were planning to add features to their facilities over the next few years, representing no change from 2023. 

The most commonly planned additions were:

  1. Splash play areas (33.3% of camp respondents with plans for additional features said they would add splash play)
  2. Park restroom structures (30%)
  3. Park shelters (26.7%)
  4. Playgrounds (23.3%)
  5. Walking and hiking trails (23.3%)
  6. Outdoor sports courts (20%)
  7. Climbing walls (20%)