Feature Article - June 2009
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A Look at Trends in Camps & Campgrounds


hey may vary widely in their locations, their visitors and patrons and their offerings in terms of programs and activities, but campgrounds, RV parks and private and youth camps all offer a mostly outdoor destination that allows people to get away from the daily grind—of home for school kids and of the workaday world for families, adults and retirees. Respondents from these kinds of facilities made up 7.1 percent of our total survey population.

According to the American Camp Association, there are more than 12,000 day and resident camps in the United States, and each year more than 11 million children and adults attend camp. These facilities are run by both nonprofit agencies as well as for-profit owners. In our survey, the respondents from camp facilities were heavily concentrated in privately run facilities, with 45.2 percent indicating they worked for private nonprofit facilities, and 40.4 percent working at private for-profit facilities. Another 13.7 percent said they worked for public organizations.

Respondents from camp facilities were the most likely to indicate they operated or managed just a single facility. More than seven in 10 camp respondents (70.5 percent) manage a single facility, while another 15 percent manage between two and five facilities.

Camp facilities were also the least likely to say that they had formed partnerships with other organizations, though 65.2 percent said they had done so.

Climbing Walls

Climbing walls are a common feature among camps respondents, and this is reflected in their staffing trends, as well as their programming:

  • 34.5 percent of camps respondents said they currently require some staff members to earn climbing certification (compared to 8 percent of all respondents).
  • While 34.9 percent of camps respondents currently include climbing walls as part of their facilities, they are among the most commonly planned additions, with nearly 10 percent planning to add a climbing wall within the next three years.
  • In line with these plans, 27 percent of camps respondents currently offer climbing programs, and climbing programs are among the top planned additional programs at camp facilities.